1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. Hi Guest, welcome to the TES Community!

    Connect with like-minded education professionals and have your say on the issues that matter to you.

    Don't forget to look at the how to guide.

    Dismiss Notice

Should practical experience be an essential requirement to training as a Business Studies Teacher.

Discussion in 'Business studies' started by kestua, Jul 11, 2012.

  1. I have 22 years experience in business, working for blue chip and fortune 500 companies in fairly senior management positions and across all of the primary business functions. I have actual experience of developing and carrying out sales & marketing campaigns, formulating cashflow forecasts, finance and audit activity, recruiting, training, restructuring, operations and pretty much every other topic area that would be recognised in business studies teaching, and on top of that I've also run my own business. I know that this level of experience is not common in those wishing to become Business Studies teachers, but I've been shocked by the lack of experience held by my fellow PGCE Business Studies candidates.
    As one example I sat in a room today with three other candidates for a PGCE course, and as we waited for our turn to be interviewed we got chatting. All three were recent graduates and none had any meaningful industry experience other than one individual who had a two week placement gained in their final year at University. I found this frightening.
    Don't get me wrong I admired their enthusiasm to teach, but is that enough? Should students be taught by teachers who have never practised or applied their subject in the wider community?
     
  2. doomzebra

    doomzebra Occasional commenter

    Should physics teachers all have worked at CERN? Should English teachers all be published authors?
    Experience is helpful in business-related subjects (I certainly found it so) but is NOT essential given the nature of the syllabus.
    In how many of the companies for whom you worked was a break-even chart EVER drawn?
     
  3. In each business I worked for, break even was calculated for each separate operating site and sales/product function.
    I for one would certainly respect a teacher if they could apply their own practical experience of the subject as opposed to pointing at a case study in a text book. The same could be equally applied to other subject areas. English teachers with experience of journalism, copy writing, or within the communication departments of public bodies and private companies would surely be more preferable than one who has gone from school to university and back to school.
    In terms of Physics teachers. There were quite a few at Rolls-Royce when I was there. Not CERN, but those that have since gone into teaching, might very possibly be better teachers as a result of that experience.
     
  4. doomzebra

    doomzebra Occasional commenter

    I didn't ask about whether it was calculated
     
  5. Your point being what?
     
  6. doomzebra

    doomzebra Occasional commenter

    My point being has anyone in any serious business DRAWN a break-even graph in the last 30 years?
    Experience is all very well, but what happens in the real world and what is contained within the syllabus are not always congruent.
     
  7. Possibly only SME's when pitching to high street banks for finance in answer to the first statement. No need to SHOUT by the way. It's only a discussion point.
    In response to the overall statement, debating on the basis of a single element of the syllabus and it's relevance to the real world is rather limiting. As a counterpoint, businesses of any decent size do use and write up balance sheets though, and more importantly their analysis and evaluation in conjunction with other factors is taken very seriously. I've yet to see an individual without practical experience deliver an effective evaluation of a balance sheet.
    Getting businesses to engage with schools, colleges and students seems to be a big issue in the subject area. Perhaps the subject needs to gain a greater credibility with business in order to do so. After all as one very wise sage once said, "If you continue to do things the same way, why would you expect a different result?"
     
  8. doomzebra

    doomzebra Occasional commenter

    I wasn't shouting, I was emphasising the point that you had missed earlier.
    I am not debating on a single point, simply giving one example.
    I wish you well, but I do urge you to accept the realities of business education in this country.
     
  9. Snorkers

    Snorkers New commenter

    With due respect, if you have only just been in a PGCE interview, then it's likely that you haven't had the opportunity to see many teachers, experienced or otherwise, deliver evaluations of balance sheets. I've worked with some exceptional teachers who have been able to explain the intricacies of accounts in an accessible, memorable way, despite having gone straight from university to teaching. At the same time, I've known some with extensive business experience who couldn't explain their way out of a paper bag, let alone inspire an assortment of motley teenagers. To my mind, good teaching is more than just subject knowledge: it's a necessary but not sufficient condition in an outstanding teacher.
     
  10. My statement doesn't actually refer to Teachers. It refers to those without practical experience carrying out this task. In training recent graduates on business unit performance I would task them with evaluating balance sheets.
    I think the question is being misconstrued. This isn't an attack on existing teachers who have no practical experience. This is not an attack on existing PGCE students who have no practical experience. All have to/have had to learn the necessary skills needed to become good teachers. And I fully understand that those with Industry experience would need to learn those skills as well. But lets not assume that their experience would barr them from learning and developing those skills. I'm sure that is well within the capabilities of people beyond the age of 25.
    My question is really very simple - Would students benefit from Business Studies Teachers who had practical experience of the subject they are teaching? Would that make the delivery of the subject more credible in the eyes of the students and to local and national business whose engagement is needed to improve the delivery of the subject matter?
     
  11. doomzebra

    doomzebra Occasional commenter

    A simple question with a simple answer - ceteris paribus yes. This, however, was patently NOT the question you asked in the title of your thread.
    Is business experience a good thing for a business teacher to have? In many cases, yes.
    Is business experience essential (the question you originallyposed)? No, absolutely not.
     
  12. Original Question:
    Should students be taught by teachers who have never practised or applied their subject in the wider community?
    The title thread was more explicit, but like most newspaper headlines and business briefs, you need to pose a teaser, and as we saw when utilising Kaizen in the late eighties, when the benefit is seen, acceptance of change should be accepted. If Students would benefit, then that is what they should expect.
     
  13. doomzebra

    doomzebra Occasional commenter

    Which is yet again a different question from your "simple question".


     
  14. Ok - a different tack.
    A logical sequence;
    If all other factors were equal, a teacher with practical experience of their subject would provide a benefit to their students. That's been accepted. Logic would then suggest that if this were the case, future student business studies teachers be required to have that experience. It would become necessary.
    It is the same logical sequence that led to candidates needing a degree to become teachers, because not so long ago that wasn't a requirement. I remember lots of teachers back in the eighties only having a CertEd. Some of the best teachers I ever had.
    The point is, how ever good those teachers were, the profession as a whole has improved because it's training has become more robust, and it's development more refined. Taking that process forward as with any development process, the requirements for entry, training and operations within teaching must become even more rigorous.
    As with TQM, where benefit is derived, that must become the norm. Lets face it, which student, parent or employer would complain?
     
  15. doomzebra

    doomzebra Occasional commenter

    You have ignored the additional costs involved in this - CBA is as basic a business tool as kaizen, TQM and the other concepts you bandy about.
    In addition, what form of business experience would be prescribed? To get the necessary breadth of experience to cover the broad spectrum of most business syllabi would require many years - or are you advocating further specialisation with HR business teachers, finance business teachers, marketing business teachers etc?
     
  16. Prospective teachers gaining practical experience through employment in Industry before applying to become teachers would not add any cost to the training of teachers, or to the individuals themselves.
    Any decent graduate entering Industry in even junior management positions would gain a valuable cross functional experience within two years. Those working within small medium enterprises would probably gain more than the those employed by the larger companies offering graduate training programmes.
    I chuckled to see that from your experience you judge kaizen as a basic tool. Saved us a lot of money, and improved productivity, but then the team all need to be on board. I'm not sure why you've brought up cost benefit analysis though. One regards primarily processes, the other capital expenditure.
     
  17. doomzebra

    doomzebra Occasional commenter

    Glad you chuckled - I chuckled a lot in the 80s when kaizen and TQM were things to get excited about too.

     
  18. Snorkers

    Snorkers New commenter

    I can see your logic. You are assuming that the government makes logical decisions about ways to improve teacher training! However, some other things to consider...
    How much experience would you deem 'enough' before embarking on a teacher training course? A year? Five years? Would a prospective teacher need to have worked for at least two businesses to ensure that they had experienced more than one corporate culture? Would they have to work in more than one functional area of the business to build the necessary knowledge?
    Another point to consider is how quickly one's experience would date - a teacher who worked for five years 20 years ago may well have less up-to-date knowledge of current business practice than a student who has just finished a business-related course at university. How would you overcome this?
    I think that business knowledge is a useful thing, and may well be a disciminator at interview (whether for teacher-training or for employment) but is not an essential requirement for being an effective educator. For what it's worth, back in the dim and distant past when I did my PGCE, there was only one person who went straight from university to teaching; everyone else had had 'proper' jobs before starting the course. It may not be so far different these days (after all, with your experience today, these were merely candidates for the course, not those accepted for the training).
     
  19. Thats a fair point Snorkers, but any experience gained is always better than none. It's a very similar question that Course Tutors must face when they are assessing candidates experience of working with young people. How much classroom experience is enough? It's a requirement for entry into most courses but the range and breadth of that experience isn't stated either.
    In terms of my only meeting candidates today, again a fair point, but there are enough posts on this forum to suggest that many going through PGCE have only experienced educational establishments, and it's a common topic of conversation amongst friends who are teachers.
    Surely though, maintaining the status quo is rarely the best way forward. If we don't question the way all things are done we can't argue when they are changed without our input. Progress can be made in small steps as well as large ones.
    As an average joe member of the public I look at the 'professions' and teaching stands out as being different. The Law and Medicine whilst subject to the same tinkering hand of government. They self regulate, control and develop through their own independent professional bodies. Again, I'm not attacking teachers. I want to become one for goodness sake.
    Please bear in mind though, I am only merely posing questions. At the end of the day, the school is going to decide who they employ.
     

Share This Page