Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Business Education in the Middle Years

It turns out that, much to my surprise, I am an expert on Business Education in the Middle Years classroom!!

A few months ago I was being interviewed for an article on financial literacy. I guess the woman that was interviewing me liked what I was saying and told me that she was doing another article on Middle Years and asked if we could talk about that topic too.

My direct experience with middle years kids is limited to my own children passing through those years and a very brief - very brief - attempt to work with some Junior High kids when I was teaching in Transcona in 1975! I was asked to come to their school and help the drama teacher with some direction and some dance sequences she wanted to put into their play.

My line has always been - "don't blame them - its really the hormones!!!"

So when I was asked to talk about Middle Years I talked about my perspectives about those years and reflected some of what I knew was going on in Saskatchewan schools and in out Middle Years Teacher Education Program.

I received the most recent copy of the Business Education Forum today and sure enough there was the article called (Inventing) The Future of Middle School Business Education. So I started to read it with an eye out for my name. I got through the first three pages of the article and I was nowhere to be found. I thought the author was sort of smart - did I really give her anything of value? Best to leave me out of it - and anyway I was giving her a Canadian/Saskatchewan perspective and so far this article was clearly American - there even is a table where 9 important people talk about hat is happening in their areas concerning Business Education and Middle Schools.

You can imagine how shocked I was when I turned to the 4th page and found (on the page opposite) a pullout box fully two thirds of the page entitled Educating the Whole Child: One Canadian's Perspective!!!!!

She used everything that I said - and I think I actually sounded sort of intelligent.

It was a surprise but I am quite pleased and maybe a bit proud of this. I do care about educating the whole child - remember I started out as an elementary teacher. And I do care about teaching the crucial knowledge that every child, every adult, should have that comes from Business Education.

When you think of the billions of consumer dollars that are effectively controlled by children the earlier we start to help them understand the economic world they live in the better it will be for all of us.

I do have a small criticism of the article - unfortunately I think it reflects what is turning out to be the dominant thought in Business Education today - that is that Business Education is only technology or job preparation.

These ideas will always, in my opinion, interfere with a proper move of our content into the lower grades. Middle years and elementary teachers are neither technology teachers nor do they have a pressing need to feel they are preparing their students for work.

There are much more profound arguments that would support and facilitate a move to the lower grades - we just don't seem to know those arguments any more - not even at the high school level. That's disappointing.

So I will bask in my experthood - and hope that someone that really knows something about Business Education in the Middle Years won't get too offended.

Now, perhaps I can start doing workshops on this topic - wouldn't that be funny - or maybe it would be a good thing!


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