NBC Learn K-12 Subscriber Spotlight: Bringing a Global Perspective to the Classroom

Posted on 09/12/2016 09:50 AM

David O’Shea is an economics and global history teacher at St. Pius X Catholic High School, in Atlanta, Georgia. Although he was born in Manchester, England, O’Shea became interested in living in the United States after working as a counselor at various summer camps during his college years, and then eventually moved permanently to Atlanta 13 years ago.

O’Shea’s backdrop of living on both sides of the proverbial “pond” gives him a vantage point different from most of his students, a global perspective that he hopes to bring into the classroom. To do this, O’Shea uses archival stories from NBC Learn K-12 to demonstrate different viewpoints from around the world, as well as to explore various periods in world history. O’Shea also likes to show NBC Learn videos throughout the class, stating, “I can talk about something and my students don’t necessarily understand it until they see it in real life and they see the real impact of it.”

In his economics classroom, O’Shea also tries to inject a larger world view into his teaching. He often introduces his students to the topic by playing an original NBC Learn story, created in a partnership with Pearson, called “Fundamentals of Economics.” The story encourages students to think about how economics plays a role in their own personal lives, and then relates those needs to how governments make decisions through different economic systems.

O’Shea continues to bring economics to life by using current events stories that show the real impacts of companies on the economy. Examples include such varied stories as the impact of Brexit on global markets and the CDC raising the cancer risk for Lumber Liquidators flooring.

 U.K. Votes to Leave EU, Prime Minister David Cameron Resigns              CDC Raises Cancer Risk Estimate for Lumber Liquidators Flooring 

U.K. Votes to Leave EU                            CDC Raises Cancer Risk

O’Shea says his students appreciate the energy and real world examples he brings to the classroom. “A lot of my economics students come back, and are thankful for what they learned in my class.”

One of O’Shea’s most popular economics classroom activities is his stock market project, which takes up the majority of a semester. Students are required to pick 12 companies and track them over the course of 16 weeks, following them in the news and analyzing their performance in spreadsheets. The goal is to have them explain why certain stocks went up or down. He pairs this activity with NBC Learn videos about the stock market over the years. For example, if a student chose Chipotle earlier this year, they could use examples of how its stock went down due to health concerns.

In an increasingly global-focused era, O’Shea uses his personal experience of living overseas to bring history and economics to life in his classroom, helping his students to also become more worldly and informed citizens. 

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