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From happiness to sharing and vice versa

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  One of our assignments throughout this semester was to put into practice our teaching skills during our “peer-to-peer teaching” sessions. In other words, to familiarize ourselves with the procedure of learning skills from each other (P2P) while at the same time we had to set up and self-manage our own mini-courses every Thursday. Each of us had to swap over the role of the instructor, present and explain a concept to his peers in relevance with our interests, our passions or simply our educational background. Given that my previous studies are associated with economics, I decided to provide a vulgarized version of economics to my colleagues by delivering a presentation about “economics of happiness”. After all, you have to find a playful way to teach economics.

  During this experience, I had the chance to create my own teaching materials, to re-search on the matter and to strengthen also my learning by teaching something new to others. Along the following lines, I will give a summary of the content and brief outlines of my course. I created a presentation named “Happiness: Generate-a-Story” to facilitate my group storytelling and its structure included the following axes:
*Informative Introduction on Economics of Happiness and Well-being
*Measurement of Well-being, the Role of “Better Life Index”
*Research findings on Happiness and Well-Being
*Happiness Business Projects: 3 case studies

  Economics of Happiness examines how happiness is correlated with economic factors in a society and how it can be used as a measurement of individual’s satisfaction and society’s well-being, rather than income, wealth, profit. It is an interdisciplinary field of study, firmly associated with others fields such as sociology, psychology, health. It dates back in 1970s, when the Economist and University Professor at the University of Southern California Richard Easterlin expressed the idea -known as “Easterlin Paradox” that “happiness does not increase as a country’s income increases” (revised in 2010). Economy sceptics such as behavioral economists, psychological & social scientists have pointed out that a country’s economic prosperity does not always reflect the satisfactory living conditions of its citizens and hence their level of happiness. In this perspective, they identified the need to analyze other indicators -for instance air and water quality, environmental conditions, access to healthcare- instead of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) which affect equally a country’s performance and measure the human well being and society’s welfare.

   Happiness & well-being measurement and research are based on people’s answers in surveys, usually on a zero-to-ten scale. Based on the aforementioned insights, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) launched in 2011 an interactive online tool called “Better Life Index” by which individuals can rate and set their preferences according to 11 factors: housing, education and skills, health status to name a few. This allows people to compare and contrast their living conditions with their co-citizens in a national and global context. By collecting these data economists and scientists can interpret the level of satisfaction in people’s life and rank the countries in order of “happiness”.
{Give to the audience identifiable information, so for example in this case it is worth mentioning that France ranked No 25 in 2015 World Happiness Report.}

  As far as research findings on happiness are concerned, I was able to note several examples during my mini-course. Firstly, it is not always the case but in many large-scale studies, happiness curve shows a U-shaped pattern as a function of age. This means that we are more happy when we are children and then again when we grow old, so there are surely certain periods of our lives that affect our “happiness standards”. In addition, there is evidence that democracy is a prerequisite in order to have a happy population and vice versa. Furthermore, commuters are less happy ; when they have to travel to work on a regular basis more than 22 minutes, there is a decline in their level of well-being. Lastly, as it turns out self-employed people are happier than employed as they get an overall satisfaction of their work.
{Interesting examples among findings can capture audience’s interest.}

  For the last part of my lecture, I chose to present three existing business projects/concepts which aim to create a happier mindset.
a) Product Innovation: “Happiness Blanket” by British Airways
b) Entrepreneurship: “Chimp or Champ” by 100 Happy Days Foundation
c) Design Thinking: “The Happy Show” by Stefan Sagmeister
{Media support materials facilitate the course.}

  This reciprocal way of teaching has many benefits to offer for the learning styles of students and to the vision of building more equal and ethical future societies. Peer to peer teaching keeps groups dynamic healthy and improves the team building skills and the relationships between them. This is because the core of these lessons is based on an horizontal structure, self-organized sessions and direct interaction & feedback between students. In addition, through sharing ideas and skills even in a small scale like a group of few Master EdTech students; information and creativity becomes available for everyone. Higher learning achievements and greater productivity are more feasible when we learn with and from each other. This improves the shared value which is established also on the Collaborative Commons (CC) as we are opening our “intellectual property” to others and embrace their ideas so as to build collectively more projects (values over ownership, creation over competition).
-P2P teaching is a way of participating in this sharing economy.-
 

 

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