Author(s): Thomas Scheiding, Pete Cellini
In the “Chair the Fed” simulation created by the Federal Reserve Bank, students make monetary policy decisions to achieve low inflation and low unemployment. While this experiential learning activity can potentially be useful for all students to learn about monetary policy, this paper shows that this experiential learning activity could be particularly valuable for Native Hawaiian undergraduate students. Native Hawaiian students, as a whole, enter college with reduced academic readiness in math and reading, struggle to learn when their indigenous culture is not incorporated into the course, and are more likely to be a part of an impoverished household. Consequently, the learning of economics can be particularly challenging for Native Hawaiian students given the extensive use of mathematics and the incorporation of abstract theories. The “Chair the Fed” simulation game provides an experiential learning opportunity that bridges many gaps in learning for Native Hawaiian students. In this paper, students enrolled in a principles of macroeconomics course in the fall semester of 2018 were given a pre-test and post-test on monetary policy and all were exposed to the “Chair the Fed” simulation. The results reveal that Native Hawaiian students particularly benefited from a monetary policy game that could accommodate culturally adapted instruction. Native Hawaiian students who played the “Chair the Fed” game performed 66% stronger in a monetary policy post-test (as opposed to non-Native Hawaiian students who saw no change in post-test scores). The research in this particular case suggests that experiential learning in economics could potentially be valuable for Native Hawaiian students and should be a teaching strategy more widely deployed.