8 Steps for Teaching Financial Literacy to High School Students
If you’re interested in teaching financial literacy to high school students, you’ve come to the right place. Here you’ll find eight steps in the process of building a financial education program for teens, and the resources to back them up.
The resources available here are designed to support teaching financial literacy to high school students. The following example illustrates how the materials can help define and organize a program.
Stan Bayless was a volunteer at the Boys & Girls Club in a midwestern city. He was excited about the idea of teaching financial literacy to high school students, but didn’t have any background in finance or education. As a volunteer, Stan worked with high school kids a lot, so he was familiar with his audience; he knew he wanted to bring financial literacy training to a small group of about 10 teenagers who frequently stopped in at the after-school program at the Boys & Girls Club. These kids mainly came from low-income families in the inner city. Stan just needed to know the money management skills that would best support them toward positive futures. Mr. Bayless interviewed a few of the kids he wanted to reach in a small, informal group one afternoon at the club, and found out they were most interested in learning about ways to earn income and prepare for college.
Stan was clear about his short-term objectives for teaching financial literacy to high school students and what he wanted to achieve in the long run. Next, he had to decide on his delivery mode. He decided that, since his target audience was low-income inner-city kids, he would let them complete at least some activities at their own pace. So, in addition to doing live in-person instruction at the club, he wanted to give the students some technology-based elements they could do on their own time, to keep them interested and engaged.
The next step was for Stan to locate a qualified educator who already knew how to teach financial literacy to high school students. He needed someone who had demonstrated skill in both content knowledge and education. As a Boys & Girls Club volunteer, Mr. Bayless felt confident that he could talk to the students effectively, but didn’t know much about financial education. Fortunately, he found a financial professional with an office nearby who was certified through the NFEC’s CFEI program, and this professional offered to teach one class pro bono. Stan would prepare the materials and assist.
Out of the 10 kids Mr. Bayless invited to the after-school program, 8 showed up; they showed average improvement of 20% on a short financial literacy test after completing the training. Stan was encouraged that he had learned a lot about how to teach financial literacy to high school students. Stan compiled the data into a report that he showed to his volunteer coordinator, and also sent in a press release to the city newspapers. He knew reporting was important, because showing program impact could help him raise funds to support the series of trainings he hoped to host in the future.