Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Business Education

My students and I discussed the role of business education in high schools today. It was one statement on a set of statements I asked them to think about. They agreed that the field of business education (at the high school level) encompasses a wide array of content - probably more than any other subject area (one year my students and I created a list of almost 50 different business education courses possible). And they agreed that the traditional purpose statement of 'for and about business' was obscure and inadequate.

Now it may be that I didn't teach them the meaning of the for and about statement properly but to be honest I'm not sure I understand it fully either.

So we teach students about business so that they can understand business in their daily lives. And we teach for business so that they will have the skills to be 'in' business - employed.

But are these two really different? How does the computer/technology fit into this scheme?

Are we teaching students how to use a spreadsheet so that they can be accountants? employees that use spreadsheets? Or are we teaching them to use a spreadsheet so that they can keep track of their household expenses? or their investments? or their churches membership?

Is teaching students how to deal with spreadsheets for or about business - or both?

Fuzzy - perhaps not when it was invented - but fuzzy today.

Think, for a moment, about our educational ladder. We’ve strengthened the steps lifting students from elementary school to junior high.. and those from junior high to high school. But, that critical step taking students from high school into adulthood is badly broken. And it can no longer support the weight it must bear.
Melinda Gates

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