Links to the Australian Curriculum general capabilities
In the Australian Curriculum, general capabilities are embedded within the content of each learning area. Consumer and financial education can provide a wealth of engaging opportunities for teachers to develop students’ general capabilities.
Learning the language necessary for effectively negotiating consumer and financial contexts is empowering for students and helps extend their understanding that language is shaped by the social and cultural context in which it occurs. Through ‘real-life’ consumer and financial contexts, students can develop literacy skills through research, creation of texts for a range of purposes and audiences, role-play and debate. Furthermore these engaging contexts provide many opportunities for students to locate and share information, argue, persuade, explore issues and offer and evaluate opinions. Students learn to listen to and value the viewpoints of others. They have opportunities to consider and analyse the ways in which we interpret and can be influenced by language and text drawn from a range of media.
Numeracy requires contextual and strategic knowledge as well as mathematical skills. Consumer and financial education is strongly linked to numeracy and provides rich opportunities for students to build their ability to ‘think and do’ mathematically in personal, social and work situations in meaningful ways. Through authentic consumer and financial contexts, students learn to apply their numeracy skills by solving problems such as determining best value for money and assessing investment options. They have abundant opportunities to interpret and evaluate statistical information and identify trends and patterns. Through such opportunities they develop the ability to make informed decisions and assess risk based on sound reasoning.
Information and communication technology (ICT) competence
Through consumer and financial education, students develop their ICT competence by communicating and sharing information; using technology to research and evaluate information to support effective decision-making; and to investigate options, generate plans, efficient and appropriate processes and solutions to problems. They learn to question validity and reliability of information sources. They have opportunities to develop an understanding of practices that mislead or threaten the integrity of information in the online environment such as advertising, fraud, scams and phishing. Consumer and financial contexts provide authentic avenues for students to learn to protect their personal security in online and digital environments.
Critical and creative thinking
Critical and creative thinking skills are key to the development of consumer and financial capability. Through application of consumer and financial knowledge and skills in practical ‘real-life’ contexts, students have rich opportunities to develop their critical thinking through the processes of analysing, evaluating and synthesising information and reflecting on their choices and decisions. They learn to discriminate between fact and opinion, question the reliability of evidence and consider alternatives. They also have the opportunity to foster their creative thinking and practise a range of enterprising behaviours through participation in relevant class and/or school activities.
Consumer and financial education contributes to the development of responsible and ethical attitudes and behaviours. Students have opportunities to explore personal values with respect to money and consumer behaviours. They are able to reflect on, discuss and debate the moral and ethical dimensions of their consumer and financial decisions and investigate the broader impact these have on themselves, their families, their community and wider society.
Personal and social competence
Consumer and financial education not only equips students with personal money management skills but also encourages self-awareness when it comes to their consumer attitudes and behaviour. Inquiry based learning and co-operative learning strategies are often used in teaching consumer and financial education. The ‘real-life’ contexts for such learning help students develop personal and social competence in situations that are engaging and relevant to them and that help them understand and find strategies to manage themselves as well as develop important enterprising behaviours such as planning and organising, working productively with others, adaptability and resilience.
Through study of authentic texts drawn from a range of media, students are able to investigate and reflect on commonalities and differences between people and cultures regarding consumer and financial attitudes, values, beliefs, customs, and behaviours. They are able to empathise with and respect diversity. This is important given the increasingly interconnected and interdependent world within which students are growing up.