Hartley, Richard Dunsby
The business of teaching the teaching of business : using social constructivist techniques to teach business-orientated advanced GNVQs.
The Open University.
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Vygotsky’s social constructivist theory suggests that the culture of a situation helps develop cognitive structures. Therefore it follows that a business ‘culture’ is needed to teach business orientated GNVQs. The perceived need was to develop such a culture and within it to construct teaching strategies that would help students take more responsibility for their own learning.
Management theory and empirical research were used to validate a ‘Business culture’ and a Kolb type learning styles approach, involving cognitive constructionalist theories was used to develop cyclical teaching and learning phases. The methodology has involved the observation of student use of the culture, surveying the students’ and staffs’ opinions as well as analysis of their own reflections on strengths and weaknesses and how this relates to performance.
The research took place over three years and involved sixth form students taking GNVQ Advanced Business and GNVQ Advanced Leisure and Tourism.
Results showed some success in bridging social and cognitive constructions approaches with the use of learning styles as cognitive tools. The model of delivery developed shows potential in application to other vocationally orientated courses. The observation showed that students could be encouraged to see their ‘school’ work in a ‘business-like’ way and behave accordingly.
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