Saturday, May 06, 2006

Business Teacher Education

I haven't written much about what I do professionally now. Since 1978 I have been a professor at the University of Regina. Regina is in Saskatchewan (the heart of the prairies) and Saskatchewan is in Canada. The winters are pretty cold and the hot summers are made even worse by the mosquitoes. But overall it is a good place to live - small enough to manage but big enough to have whatever one might need in life.

I got my Ph.D. in Business Education at the University of Iowa. At one time Iowa was a powerhouse when it came to Business Education. Unfortunately the program was closed shortly after I graduated - I don't think there is a relationship.

I came to Regina to join two other professors in the Business Teacher Education subject area. The great thing about this faculty was the dual emphasis on subject matter and teacher education. For many years, because of the people here and their approach to teacher education, this was an exciting, cutting edge place. I enjoyed it very much.

But many people aren't really aware of how business education is defined. The way I describe it my students is as follows: Business education helps adolescents figure out how to live in the economic world. They are all consumers, employees or employers, voters, volunteers, etc. And in each of those roles they will face issues and make decisions that are related to the business/economic world around them. Business Ed is a very broad area and encompasses many subject fields - some of them are - economics, law, accounting, entrepreneurship, marketing, consumer education, career education, business math, business english, office education, information processing and computer applications.

a sad thing has happened in the last few years - at least in my eyes - the enticement of the computer and technology has drawn much of the attention of business educators. This leaves many of the other areas wanting for good minds. I believe it is interesting that high school programs are still relatively well rounded while university programs have almost become indistinguishable from computer/technology education.

I now run the program alone with the very capable help of two business education teachers who teach a course a semester each for the program. I still think we produce excellent business teachers for Saskatchewan high schools but the pressure is always on. We are a small program with a low enrollment - partially because of the low profile of business education and partially because of a lack of adequate resources.

I am committed to Business Teacher Education but I also have a deep interest in Teacher Education as an area of interest. Discussion of that will wait for another post.