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What We Teach

How we teach Personal Choice in YE

In Youth Entrepreneurs, students explore 10 key economic principles. Of the 10, four are called “Market Measures.” Our four Market Measures are Personal Choice, Voluntary Exchange, Freedom to Enter and Compete and Rule of Law. We’re taking a look at how students learn each one, looking now at Personal Choice.

“YE wants to instill in our students the true understanding that every day, we are making choices,” explains Tiffany Staley, YE Program Manager. “Personal choice directly ties into each of our Foundational Values. Our students make choices daily — choosing to come to class, choosing to engage in class activities and so many more. It’s important for students to understand that they have the freedom to participate, no matter the activity.” Personal Choice means that your preferences drive your decisions and behaviors. No one decides for you. 

The YE curriculum includes a variety of activities to show students the significance of personal choice. One powerful, hands-on way that students understand Personal Choice is Market Day, an activity that combines a micro-loan program with a pop-up market. “Students have been given the opportunity to run a business for a day. Using their freedom and their own personal choice, they have the opportunity to explore decision-making. They can choose what product they would like to sell.”

“But on the flip side of things, they also have the personal choice to gain profit,” Tiffany says, and that choice to gain profit brings responsibilities with it, including doing the research and work required to ensure customers will be interested in the product. “Students have to ask, are they doing everything they can to provide win-win value for customers to exercise their own personal choice?”

The PIT game, which is designed to simulate a commodity market, is all about personal choice as well. “Students are choosing the cards that they are trying to acquire with the activity,” Tiffany says. “There’s a greater risk with a higher reward, and this is a real-life application of personal choice. You can choose a greater risk, but you have to recognize the consequences that could come from that choice.”

Students also engage in Personal Choice through conversations about obeying laws and regulations set out for us by the government and other authority. “We have those discussions with students a lot, because they do have personal choice in acting in accordance with their local, city, state and other laws. So we challenge students: if you can see the opportunity in doing something illegal, then why can’t we find the opportunity to use Sound Judgment and other Foundational Values to create a win-win opportunity that’s legal?”

Ultimately, Personal Choice is part of the YE curriculum because of how important it is to success as an entrepreneur. “Our choices either open or close the door to the opportunities that are provided to us,” Tiffany says. “Through the lens of entrepreneurship, your personal choices could be the gateway or the barrier to your success. Owning the consequences of your choices, and deciding to Be Principled when you decide, can make or break the success of the entrepreneur. 

See how YE students learn other crucial concepts, like our Foundational Values.