Critical Thinking Concepts for Monetary Policy

Joe Halter
Social Science Instructor
Moraine Park Technical College
Author Profile
This material is replicated on a number of sites as part of the SERC Pedagogic Service Project


In the interactive lectures students will select one key concept for monetary policy that they have an interest (List created by instructor from course materials. No more than 10 key concepts should be stated, if more than 10 students, repetitions are permitted. The intent is the quality of the concepts not the quantity.) to learn more about in the learning plan. Students will complete the "logic" of the concept by using a seven step process presented in the description section.

Learning Goals

Students will internalize and provide relevant personal examples of key monetary concepts through a critical thinking activity.

A process goal of the Critical Thinking Concepts for Monetary Policy is to ensure that students have an active learning process in their understanding of key concepts related to monetary policy. Students will select a concept of interest that is germane to them and will internalize the concept by research, illustration, personal example, teaching and critiquing.

Context for Use

The educational level for the activity is meant for students of all educational levels. The class size can be five to 50 students since it is interactive. Class sizes greater than 25 may form groups of 10 students to review key concepts. The activity can be used in all educational formats, traditional, online, blended, accelerated, etc.

The time frame is threefold: Students first will complete the critical thinking steps 1-6 and will be allowed one hour to complete in/out class. Secondly, students then will either present to the class or post to the discussion topic. It is possible for a team approach. The final step is to have the student critique one other student's presentation/discussion. Academic points are given for steps 1-6 and step 7 and should be of equal value.

No special equipment is necessary outside of the classroom but the research part will require access to a computer and internet. The activity is easily adapted to nearly any course or curriculum.

Ready-to-go concepts are stated in Other Information.

Description and Teaching Materials

- Course material for monetary policy and other sources selected by the instructor
- Research various web sites, especially the Federal Reserve and Federal Reserve Banks
- Economic blogs
- Critical thinking from the Center for Critical Thinking and defining Critical Thinking
Template for Critical Thinking (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 17kB Apr3 13)
Key Concepts Word Document (Microsoft Word 58kB Apr3 13)
Scoring Guide for Standards (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 19kB Apr3 13)

Teaching Notes and Tips

It is important that the instructor be clear of the goal of the activity and the expected outcome for students. The goal is to have students to take an active role in their learning. Please ensure students will take the necessary time to complete the critical thinking steps process and cite their sources. Please understand that students may need help in clarifying the goal of the activity. In addition, it may be helpful to elaborate and clarify responses from students that may need more accuracy during presentations or in discussions.


Each of the steps must be completed. Clarity and accuracy of the key concepts are crucial. The key concepts for quality must be used and understood. Students can be tested or write a brief explanation of each concept.

References and Resources

Course textbook and materials
Critical Thinking Standards
Source for template: Center for Critical Thinking: