Monday, May 29, 2006

Research in Business Teacher Education

I have gotten a little more involved with doing research and publishing over the last few years. I have always been a little worried about the state of research in my area. It never seemed to have the focus or depth as did science education or reading, etc. There were and still are a number of good researchers in Business Education but too often the articles I read were superficial and really didn't contribute to a well developed theoretical knowledge base.

This is a symptom of the wide range of content, interests and issues inherent in Business Education. Are we Career and Technology Educators? General Educators? Technology Educators? Or something totally different or a combination of all of these? Its confusing.

For instance there are numerous studies in our literature studying the needs of entry level employees. We ask business people what they want from our graduates - from high school, technical/community colleges and universities. We frequently get the same answers - someone who can learn, a team player, good interpersonal skills, a self starter and on and on - which frustrates us because those are generic skills which are taught by many programs beyond business education. Yet we don't seem to be confident enough in identifying for ourselves what a good business education ought to be - it seems hard for us to be leaders. We shouldn't be asking what business wants from out students - we should be telling business what our students have and why they need that knowledge and skill. And anyway, why do we worry so much about employment readiness when we should be teaching all students - everyone has a connection to the economic/business world and every one should be properly prepared.

So what topics should our research address? I'm not 100% sure for everyone but I know the areas in which I am interested. I need to know what it takes to become an excellent business teacher. What is peculiar and unique about business teacher education? What skills, knowledge, attitudes etc. are important to survive the first few years of teaching business subjects and which are important for the long term benefit of career business teachers?

I am hopeful that we can get our research on track!

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