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GSU professor earns prestigious Fulbright grant
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Greg Brock of Georgia Southern University's College of Business Administration recently was awarded a Fulbright grant to help educate teachers in Mexico. - photo by SCOTT BRYANT/staff
     A Georgia Southern University faculty member who specializes in training teachers how to educate children about economics has been awarded a prestigious Fulbright grant to take those same lessons to school teachers in Mexico.
      "Many educators in Mexico are starting to see the importance of teaching even young children basic economic principals," said Greg Brock, recipient of the Fulbright grant and a member of the University's College of Business Administration's School of Economic Development. "There is evidence that if you teach children economics when they're young, they will become better savers. And, it has an impact on their life across the board. They become better voters, and they are better at time management when they have a solid foundation in economics."
      Brock is director of one of Georgia's 12 university based centers for economic education. These centers fall under the direction of the Georgia Council on Economic Education.
      The council's vision is for students to be prepared for their economic roles as workers, consumers, citizens, and lifelong decision makers in a globally interdependent world when they complete their education.
      "Greg has made a conscious effort to emulate the best practices of those around the country performing similar work," said Dr. David Martin, executive director of the Georgia Council on Economic Education. "He has taken a research role that compliments one of our major research initiatives, and his interest in Mexico dovetails the national initiative to take economic education to Latin America."
      Brock said a primary teaching strategy employed with children is to use "hands on" activities to explain economic principles.
      "When you think of economics, you think of a very 'dry' type of a subject, not an interactive one," he said. "With children, you really have to show them the concept, and that is what we show teachers. Teachers need help with lesson plans and really how to teach economics to, in some cases, a very young audience. We give them the tools to do that."
      Economics has become an integral part of the Georgia Department of Education's Georgia Performance Standards. The performance standards provide clear expectations for instruction, assessment, and student work. Brock said performance standards for economics are assessed on Georgia's standardized achievement assessment - the Georgia CRCT. Also, Georgia high school students are also required to take an economics course and are give an end of course test to assess what they have learned.
      "For decades, Georgia Southern has had a center to help teachers better teach economics. I plan to meet with teachers in Mexico and tell them about the methods we use in Bulloch County and in the state of Georgia that we feel are very effective," said Brock.
      The Fulbright Specialists Program provides short-term academic opportunities (two to six weeks) for U.S.-based University faculty and professionals. To be selected, a candidate must first apply and is then selected after a comprehensive peer review of the application and qualifications.
      "We are delighted that Dr. Brock was selected for the Fulbright Scholar Program," said Ron Shiffler, dean of the College of Business Administration at Georgia Southern. "Not only does this award recognize his fine work over many years but it also makes a strong statement about the quality of faculty members in our College of Business Administration, especially in economics."
      Originally scheduled to leave for Mexico in three weeks, Brock's trip was put on hold due to the international flu crisis. Brock said his trip will probably be postponed until next year, but his plans remain the same. Brock will spend three weeks working with college professors and teachers to bring age appropriate economic education to children in kindergarten through twelfth grade, in addition to other duties.
      "Dr. Brock has been a tireless promoter of economic education in K through 12," Shiffler said. "In the current global financial crisis, his work is that much more meaningful as he tries to tie the theory of economics to what is happening around us."
      Brock sees his work as not only helpful to teachers and students, but himself, as well.
      "It has helped me with my teaching," Brock said. "Frankly, it makes us better teachers on the college level."