The RWC – A different kind of teaching model
One of the biggest problems within the current educational system is that students’ learning experiences are limited to the teacher’s ability to create them. That is why some students are successful with one teacher, but struggle mightily with another. The issue is student engagement and the problem is teachers don’t have the right tools for the job. Students might learn a topic well, but because the importance does not typically reach beyond the test, there is little motivation to internalize it and apply it. This results in a lack of long-term learning.
Our Solution: The Real World Classroom
The RWC teaching model puts students in control of their experience by letting their own choices dictate learning outcomes. This creates a completely differentiated experience because each student brings a unique set of preferences, personalities, and priorities to the choices they face. The fundamental difference between this model and traditional teaching methods is that lessons learned by students aren’t just applicable for that moment and the next test. With the real-world simulation aspect of the model every lesson learned is applicable and builds throughout the entire course. An RWC course simulates up to three years of real life. Subsequently, even decisions made early on in the class may have consequences throughout the entire course that students have to deal with… just like in the real world.
How it works
Students are paid an in-class salary for participating in class and being enrolled in the course. They use those funds to build an in-class lifestyle which determines many of their privileges and options on a day-to-day basis. Students must manage their resources wisely in order to be prepared for when Life Happens and things take unexpected turn. To demonstrate that they have learned from their experiences and grown from their mistakes, students have the opportunity to buy points on assignments called Life Grades instead of having them calculated through traditional points & percentages.
Here’s just some of the ways that students experience the real world in an RWC course:
- Banking: Students start simple with budgets to track and basic bills to pay. They have bank accounts and credit cards to utilize and manage. As they progress academically they can earn raises to their salaries or lose income if they perform poorly.
- Assets & Liabilities: As their in-class lives progress they develop credit scores and take on more liabilities and assets.
- We aren’t assigned our homes by the government. We buy them. So, students buy their desks which represent the homes they will live in. Each desk has its own set of perks which can make life in class more enjoyable. Do they get the expensive house with lots of perks, or be smart and don’t over extend their budget?
- Income Opportunities: Students may choose to explore other sources of income such as starting a business in class or investing in an in-class stock market.
- Every class taught with the RWC represents a “publicly traded company” where stocks fluctuate in value based on academic performance and student attendance. Do they play it conservative and invest in long-term yields, or based on market analysis do they buy low and sell high to try and turn a faster profit?
- Life Happens: One of the most important factors of financial success in the real world is how you plan for and handle the unexpected. Students participate in regular Life Happens drawings where they are presented a scenario that they must then deal with. Some are good, some are bad, and some are permanent changes to their monthly budgets, like having a baby.
- Buying Life Grades: Science teachers assign labs for students to demonstrate what they have learned and how they can apply it. Similarly, the RWC is a simulated lab experience that constantly assesses what lessons the students are learning and how well they are applying it. If students have budgeted wisely and make good choices – or learned from their mistakes – and have enough money for an A, then they buy an A. If not, they buy what they can afford. This creates a unique and powerful tool that turns every financial decision throughout the course into a choice with real consequences.
Curriculum and Technology
Curriculum: The RWC model is designed to help teachers with how to teach personal finance in a more meaningful and lasting way. Model activities are designed to not dominate a teacher’s already tight schedule and can easily be integrated into any existing curriculum. The model reinforces subject-lessons taught and provides applicable activities on a regular basis.
That being said, for those teachers new to the subject it is just as important to help them know what to teach. Whether you are a first-year teacher or a veteran looking for something innovative and new, our comprehensive curriculum aligns with state and core standards and includes lesson plans, assignments, presentations, and assessments; literally everything a teacher needs to teach a personal finance course.
Technology: Our web and mobile platforms train students on how to manage their resources in the real world. Students experience online banking, ecommerce, credit monitoring, asset management, and investing through a simulated stock market based on the classes using the RWC. The platform is designed to mimic as much of the real-world technology they will need to use as they move onto college and adulthood.
Teachers will enjoy a user-friendly platform that allows them to easily manage their classes. They can create items for sale, implement classroom management techniques through a fine system, reward students with bonuses and even offer side-jobs for students who take on extra responsibilities in class. Teachers love the “Impersonate” feature which allows them to log into their students’ accounts to provide a higher level of assistance when needed.
Click on the mages below for samples of our curriculum. Left to Right: PDF of a PowerPoint presentation & PDF of the corresponding lesson plan.