Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Teaching Taxation Through Blended Learning

I experimented last year with using these IRS taxation modules as the main driver of instruction, much of which was through homework assignments. The results were less than favorable, so back to the drawing board.

This year I am going to try a blended approach. The IRS modules are comprehensive and clearly the best educational resource available to teach taxation. After my experience last year, I am going to make the following adjustments:
  • Start with a Simulation
    • The short classroom simulation will be designed for students to experience the impact taxes have on spending, saving, investing, and giving.
  • Transition into Direct Instruction: 
    • Use a graphic organizer to illustrate the many forms of taxes.
    • Clearly illustrate what 'progressive' taxation is and how it effects marginal tax rates. I will use this financial calculator and use different income levels to illustrate examples. This Investopedia video will be helpful as well.
    • Use the most recent and relevant charts from chart king Ezra Klein to illustrate the different between
      • Income tax rates before and after deductions for each income level. Stated differently, I will make sure they understand marginal tax rates at different income levels. 
      • Effective tax rates, that is the net rate a taxpayer pays if you include all forms of taxes.
    • Finish the direct instruction using more Ezra Klein charts to show how and why 51% of America does not pay federal income tax, and why billionaires like Warren Buffet pay a lower effective tax rate than me. In other words, I will open their eyes to the world of deductions.
  • Scenario Based Instruction: 
    • Use the online learning modules as resources for students to respond to scenarios of people with different income levels, deductions, family sizes, and ages. I will probably create ten different scenarios of people. Students will be randomly assigned a scenario. Each student will design an infographic using Wordle illustrating what tax implications there are for their selected scenario based on what they learned from the modules. Specifically, a visual of what they actually pay in federal income tax, state income tax, FICA, property tax, local income tax, etc. To find state and local tax rate information they will need to do a scavenger hunt using local .gov websites.
  • Students will present their illustrations to the class so they can experience the wide ranging impact of taxation on people based on varying scenarios. 

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