STARKVILLE, Miss.--Even before they graduate, many Mississippi State University technology teacher education students have an opportunity to provide special instruction in a complex subject.
Cole Bostick of Horn Lake, son of Jackie and Brenda Bostick, recently helped teach local middle and high school students about making money by buying, selling and trading virtual stocks. He helped sixth- through 12th-grade members of Starkville's Boys & Girls Club of the Golden Triangle successfully navigate the ups and downs of The Stock Market Game.
The trademarked game is an education program for participants at the secondary, collegiate and continuing education levels. It is offered by the New York-based SIFMA Foundation, whose mission is to help U.S. students become financially literate.
Pamela Scott-Bracey, TTE assistant professor, and Becky Smith, agricultural economics assistant extension professor, taught the fall semester of MSU's methods of teaching economics and business pathways. As part of the curriculum, they and their students attended a workshop about how the game can help students learn more about economics.
Lucas Davenport, director of the Starkville Boys & Girls Club, attended the workshop, sponsored by the MSU Extension Service in conjunction with the Mississippi Council for Economic Education.
Smith credited Joyce Ellenwood, the club's executive director, for first proposing that MSU students work with Davenport to bring the game to local club members.
"The stock market is like a hook that gets students interested in economics and thinking about decision-making in investing," Smith said. "The research that exists shows students have improved economic literacy after they play the stock market."
In addition to helping younger students, playing the game also gave the MSU students a deeper understanding of how the real stock market operates, Bostick said.
"Working with the stock market was difficult at first," he said. "I really didn't think I knew how to explain, but I guess I knew more about it than I thought I did because the kids seemed to catch on."
"Then, I began to see that it was possible to teach and make it understandable to kids of all ages."
One group of sixth-grade girls was especially dedicated, he explained. Their interest and participation helped Bostick realize and appreciate his own capabilities for teaching financial literacy and economics.
He said he appreciated the service-learning opportunity, connecting with community youth and helping them see the relevance of the stock market in their own lives.
"Because I got to teach before the internship semester, I had a preview of what student teaching looks like," Bostick said. "Whatever business classes I teach, they will have at least one unit on economics. I now begin to realize how valuable teaching The Stock Market Game will be in trying to land a student-teaching position."
As part of its organizational mission, the game-sponsoring Mississippi Council for Economic Education awards endorsements for university and college students such as Bostick who will be entering the teaching ranks after receiving their degrees.
The economics endorsement is one of 10 that all TTE majors must receive to graduate, Scott-Bracey said. By being qualified to teach many different subject areas, TTE majors are attractive employment candidates.
"They are very marketable in what they're qualified to teach," she said. "It is so impressive: how these teachers get so much professional development and more training as they go through the career and technology arm of instruction.
"I'm very happy about the quality of students in this program. They have a lot of work, but they do it, and they do it well," she said."
Visit http://iswd.msstate.edu/ and click "Technology Teacher Education" to learn more about the MSU's TTE program.
For more about MSU, see www.msstate.edu.