This story begins with the book that inspired me to write economics books. When I taught economics during the 1990s, I did not use textbooks very much as the ones I came across did not seem very interesting or student-friendly. However, when I started teaching in Montreal in the fall of 2000, this changed as the economics book I was expected to use was Economic Education by Brian Maddock (published by the Cooperative for the Development of Instructional Materials). It was a slim, simple student workbook, printed in black ink on white paper that nonetheless covered the Quebec economics curriculum wonderfully. What I really liked about the book was that it was complete, yet also clear and accessible. As a teacher, I could rely on the book to cover the basics which could then be supplemented with current articles and documentaries. It was a strong frame capable of supporting a potentially rich and diverse course.
When I started teaching International Baccalaureate economics in Oman in 2005, I was expected to use a textbook that was unfortunately like the books I had used earlier in my career. While I would ask students to read it I did not use it in my teaching. I missed having a clear and simple book able to both support my teaching and my students’ learning.
As it is better to light a lamp than to curse the darkness, in the spring of 2010 in anticipation of a revised International Baccalaureate economics syllabus I decided to write a book that would meet my (and hopefully other teachers’) needs. The result was Workbook for the New I.B. Economics. The book is a clear, concise and affordable student workbook written to help students gain familiarity with the definitions, diagrams and concepts of economics in order to prepare them for higher-order learning tasks such as writing economic commentaries and evaluating economic policy decisions. Like Economic Education it is a slim and simple volume printed in black ink on white paper. It was published in April of 2011 and quickly sold almost 3000 copies to around the globe. A second edition published in July 2013 has sold almost 2500 copies.
I left Oman in the fall of 2011 in order to work on support materials for the book (by creating the course website and completing the answer key for the exercises) and explore other opportunities. In a conversation with a relative in the fall of 2011 I learned that the only approved textbook for the Ontario grade 12 economics course was almost ten years old and fairly expensive. After looking at the curriculum for CIA4U I decided in November to write a student workbook that would be suitable for the course as well as for senior economics courses in other provinces.
By March 2012 the draft of Economics for Canadians had been completed and proofread and was in the hands of a graphic designer, who proceeded to do an excellent job of making the text even more accessible for students.
While the efforts of the graphic designer resulted in Economics for Canadians looking quite distinct from Workbook for the New I.B. Economics, the books share both a similar structure and an identical goal – to offer students a clear, concise and affordable way to learn economics.
The book was printed in June, 2012 and is being used in high schools in Ontario, British Columbia and Prince Edward Island as well as one or two community colleges in Ontario. As of the summer of 2017, about 3000 copies have been distributed across Canada (and even to some Canadian curriculum schools in Asia).
If you would like to judge the book by its cover, please click on the link below: