Popular teacher puts his mark on Macquarie Theatre

Prashan_FEATURE

Economics teacher Prashan Karunaratne with his Macquarie Theatre plaque.


Jackie Gent, Officer of Development (Annual Giving), shares the story of a very special seat in the Macquarie Theatre.

Prashan Karunaratne teaches the ECON111 unit to approximately 1600 students each semester.  As a compulsory subject in many different degrees, Prashan has developed ways to make the subject more interesting and relevant to a variety of different disciplines.

“I want to show students in real terms how economics is relevant in the world we live in, but have some fun at the same time.  A bit of sarcasm also helps,” said Prashan.

Prashan’s fun and contemporary teaching tools, like tagging real life examples on social media with #mqecon and using the catchphrase “Everyone say WOW!”,  are embraced by his students, and have helped build interest and enthusiasm about the concepts they are studying.

Last year Prashan taught for three consecutive semesters in the Macquarie Theatre, and so the theatre became a big part of his life.  He decided to commemorate this time – and the students who have participated in his subject – with a plaque in the theatre, purchased through the University’s Buy a Seat initiative.

Maura Brookes, Annual Giving Manager in Advancement and Corporate Engagement, said ‘Buy a Seat’ is a great way for staff, alumni and students to celebrate their time and contributions to Macquarie.

“It has been heartening to see staff members like Prashan getting involved in the campaign,” she said. “His unique inscription will forever immortalise his classes in Macquarie history.”

Prashan is a firm believer in giving back to the next generation and helping to set them up to do well in life. He said some students are so young when they start university, some only 17 or 18 years old, and that alumni and staff have a duty of care to the younger generation.  “Students expect a lot from Macquarie,” he said. “Giving back by donating is one of the ways we can help.”

Seats are still available to buy in the Macquarie Theatre. Learn more.


We invite staff to contribute stories – in their own voice – to help celebrate the diversity, passion and collaborative spirit of Macquarie staff.

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  1. I just want to thank Prashan for all the immense effort he put into this unit and into teaching us. I also really appreciate all the resources he provided throughout the year. He ultimately made people solely responsible for their mark since he went above and beyond. Humour and creativity made this unit my absolute favourite. Thank you, Prashan!

  2. “Now everyone say wwoooowwww! Now everyone say oooooooooo!” These are just a couple of the unique and fun class activities Prashan blessed all of his classes with. He has truly been my favourite teacher, he made me excited to go to class and excited to learn. He creates such an amazing environment in all of his classes and I truly feel like he himself aided my learning more than anything. Such a nice and caring person.

  3. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to reach the required ATAR mark for this University but I kept it as my first preference hoping that the MQ would give me a chance and so they did. I’m so grateful that I am able to attend this wonderful Uni with two of my best friends (they both got the higher than the required ATAR but they’re doing the same course and major).

    Anyways going into the uni, I felt pressured that my abilities were not up to the MQ standards hence the 80 ATAR for the bachelor of Commerce course and not being able to achieve it. On the way to my first ECONOMICS lecture I was nervous, my stomach had butterflies, palms are sweaty, what made it worse was I read the first lecture before the lecture and my lord that was the most confusing set of slides I have ever read. ANYWAYS SKIPPING THROUGH ALL THAT

    I’m REALLY glad you were my lecturer, YOU have made it so much easier to learn the hardest content I have ever learnt. The glow that you bring once you enter the room, the whole mood changes – a mood that makes me want to learn. The charisma and sarcasm that you incorporate with your teaching makes the subject so much more enjoyable, the effort that you put in for us – printing as many sheets as your allowed (I remember you telling us that you got into trouble for printing to many sheets – but you still kept printing for us). You’re amazing, A GOD. You have helped me, my best mates and most likely everyone you teach so much. You have helped me through my learning that I am able to pass, and pass by a lot in which I have never thought I was capable to do, I’d also like to thank my two best mates as we help each other overcoming these obstacles/subjects and Uni in general.

    We admire you, one day we would ‘shout’ you a snack pack or go for a beer at Ubar and take a photo of us four. You’ve became a major impact/ an influence to what we see MQ Uni is like – It’s GREAT!

    As the start of the exam week, we noticed our semester one timetable was gone forever, that moment, knowing that we don’t get to sit in your lectures anymore broke my heart, I don’t know how you do it, you manage to make a really fun relationship in a space of a semester! Champion!
    I would double major in Economics only if I knew that I was able to be in your lectures every single step of the way, but I can’t take those chances, you’ve made Economics fun for sure but I don’t think I would be able to cope with other lecturers.

    Anyways thank you, thank you so much for what you’ve done, you’re simply just a great role model to everyone. I hope one day we actually do get to meet face to face and have a little chat – maybe that photo?? Ahaha well it’s been a journey Professor Prashan and just thank you. <3

    Finis Coronat Opus – The end truly does crowns the work.

    – Redmond Ventura

  4. Having completed ECON111 Microeconomic Principles in S1, 2016, I can fairly say that Prashan is offering an engaging and innovative curriculm through the use of media and technology to connect with his students in every lecture. The success of these measures is evident in his average lecture attendance of 90% in Macquarie Theatre every Friday morning.
    Prashan went above and beyond what was expected of him in offering extra resources throughout the entire semester – taking his time before the exam period to put together revision videos on each week’s topic, as well as including 14 different exam-specific resources to enable his students to focus their study on the concepts rather than the content.
    Including disney movies at the beginning of each lecture not only engaged the cohort but allowed them to see the real-life implications of the microeconomic concepts we were learning. Some might see this as childish or a waste of time and resources, but it’s part of what brought me back every Friday.
    Prashan is by far the most innovative and engaging lecturer Macquarie have to offer.

    As my amazing studies in Econ111 draw to a close I wanted to sincerely thank Prashan for his commitment to the unit and as such the education of our cohort and future cohorts of Eco-devoted and Eco-curious students.

    Thanks for supplying when we demand, and thank you for going the extra mile that no other lecturer bothers to do – including the jam-packed revision schedule and even extra revision lectures. You are truly an inspiration and your dedication is appreciated more than you could possibly understand. This is not just me, but a whole cohort of 1600-odd students appreciating your hard work.

    On a personal level however, thank you sir for re-inspiring my passion for economics just as my high school teacher once did – only with more WOW!

  5. There is a reason why ‘popular’ teacher is used to describe Prashan in this article. I can fairly say that I have previously attempted ECON111 and unfortunately failed. I failed because I had difficulty learning and grasping the concepts and techniques that form this subject. I had trouble applying the course content to homework questions, assignment and exam questions. On my end, there was no interest or motivation to want to engage with ECON111.

    Back to ‘popular’ teacher and to my second attempt at completed ECON111 in Session 1, 2016, the reason why Prashan remains ‘popular’ throughout the semester and the attendance in lectures is much higher than other subjects I have completed throughout my degree is because he is innovative in his teaching method, he has the skills and ability to make an otherwise tricky, overwhelming, content heavy unit easier to understand. The reasons for this stem from basic to much deeper factors. For example, a steady and slow lecturing pace ensuring that all students keep up. A practical lecture environment, questions are asked, students are engaging and students are required to write/draw models throughout the lecture (rather than sit and listen to the lecturer read off the lecture slides with verbal examples). The extra resources provided on iLearn assisted in weekly topics and assignments particularly leading up to the final exam, the additional face-to-face consultation times particularly leading up to the final exam, workshops based on each topic, PAL sessions, final exam revision workshops. Every corner a student would turn there would be support and resources to engage with. The practical experience of ECON111 thanks to Prashan assisted me. I feel that I exceeded just a ‘pass’ mark. I walked out of the final exam proud and happy.

    After my experience with ECON111 this semester I say with confidence that Prashan has succeeded any expectations required of a lecturer, he has gone above and beyond. He has taken his passion for Economics to a new level. He has devoted his personal time towards this subject and it has been reflected in my marks throughout the semester. The rest is up to the individual student to embrace this and engage with the options/avenues provided by Prashan. Lastly, I look forward to seeing and hearing about other innovative teaching techniques Prashan has up his sleeve.

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