THE IMPORTANCE OF SPECIAL METHODS IN TEACHING AND LEARNING OF BUSINESS EDUCATION
Business Studies is a dynamic course which prepares students for the challenges of the 21st century by introducing them to the world of business. Umezulike and Okoye (2013) considered business studies as the key agent of economic and technological development either as a way of developing human capacity, increasing the shield of workforce for modernization, industrialization, and environmental development or as a matter of personal freedom and empowerment of the populace.
Amoor (2010) noted that business studies plays a significant role in the economic development by providing knowledge and skills to the learners, thereby, enabling them to adequately impart knowledge into others, and handle sophisticated office technologies and information systems. The goal of business studies is primarily to produce competent, skillful and dynamic business teachers, office administrators and businessmen and women that will effectively compete in the world of work.
SPECIAL METHODS IN TEACHING AND LEARNING OF BUSINESS EDUCATION
1. SHORTHAND TEACHING METHODS
Adequate teaching facilities are essential for the development of shorthand skill. Shorthand teaching facilities include, suitable furniture which are properly arranged such that the teacher can move around easily at all times to supervise students’ performance. Other items include good notebook (preferably reporter’s note book) good quality and well sharpened pencil, ruled chalk board with preferably black surface, stop watch, display board, demonstration stand, Pitman shorthand textbook, Pitman shorthand dictionary, store or cupboard for note books, papers, sets of memos, reference books as well as tape recorder and cassettes.
Shorthand is a subject that allows students to develop skills at their own pace; therefore any teaching method adopted must take into consideration, students’ unique and differing characteristics. These, according to Canning (1976) include age, sex, physical attributes, sensory endowment, intelligence, aptitude, level of intellectual attainment, temperament and personality, interest and motivation. A combination of the following teaching methods could be used to teach shorthand to students.
Inductive or Discovery Approach
One of the methods of teaching shorthand is the Inductive/Discovery approach. In this method, students are induced to reason out shorthand principles which the teacher has planned to teach the students for that period.
He would then ask the students to identify what common features they all have. Thereafter, he would ask them what conclusions could be drawn from the way the outlines have been written. Students would be expected to conclude that L is always written downwards after n, n halved and stroke NG.
This method is about three to four times as long as the deductive or telling method. Although any principle learnt through this method has a more lasting effect on the students, it however, delays activity for too long. It may be used occasionally to bring variety to the lessons.
Deductive or Telling Method
The deductive or telling method is another method of teaching shorthand. In this method, the teacher teaches the students certain principles. He would then ask the students to apply them in similar circumstances or to explain how similar outlines could be written. For example, past tenses are usually indicated by a disjoined t or d, depending on whichever one is sounded.
Another method to be considered is the reading method. This is a method whereby students are made to read shorthand outlines either from printed material or from their own notes. They could read as individuals, in pairs or in groups. This method is very important in that constant shorthand reading has been found to have a considerable relevance to shorthand writing ability. According to Harms, Stehr and Harris (1972), there are cases which show that shorthand was learned almost entirely by reading alone.
Under the writing method students are made to copy shorthand notes from a text material, or to write from dictation. They could be made to drill short forms, phrases and single outlines. Constant practice is major to the attainment of high shorthand speed writing.
Students learn a lot by watching how certain things are done. The demonstration method is used to show the students, good sitting position, how to hold the pencil, how to turn over the notebook page, good outline formation, how to build mental storage etc. The teacher could join the students during their practice periods in order to demonstrate to them how to write at speed. The teacher demonstrates using the demonstration stand and by writing outlines on the chalkboard. Chalkboard presentation inspires confidence.
The repetitive approach to shorthand teaching enables students to carry out meaningful repetitive drills. It is important that the students be told the aim of the repetitive drill, that is, to be able to write the sentence at a particular speed later.
Question and Answer Method
The question and answer method is used to consolidate the deductive method of teaching. Students could be taught by being asked to explain why certain outlines are written in a particular way. By so doing, they are being required to think and to sharpen and clarify their understanding of the practical application of the principle.
2. TYPEWRITING METHOD
The goal of Business Education includes the provision of vocational skills necessary for commercial and economic development as well as the individual’s economic self reliance. Typewriting provides lifelong skills which enables the individual to become a useful member of the society.
Typewriting according to Igbinoba (2000) is the act of printing on paper with the aid of a typewriter. It is also an aspect of business studies which enables individuals to acquire practical typing skills
Methods of Teaching Typewriting
Teaching method that could be applied to typing include demonstration, apprenticeship, problem solving and discovery methods. The steps in one method may sometimes overlap with the steps in another method.
Typewriting instruction is concerned with skill development, which is developed through the demonstration method. Teach correct technique of reaching and striking keys and how to handle the operative parts of the typewriter by demonstrating it to your students.
The students’ responsibility lies in imitating the response patterns of the teacher. In other words, the teacher demonstrates, the students imitate. This is the best way typing skill can be developed.
When demonstrating, use a demonstration stand placed on elevated platform in front of the class so that all the students can see and hear you. Let them know what new skill you want them to learn. Read out the instructions clearly from the textbook, demonstrate the movement pattern, ask students to imitate the movement pattern, repeat demonstration-imitation process, evaluate students performance, point out errors, re-stress good points and direct practice until they acquire the desired skills. When demonstrating, emphasize correct form and make your demonstration short. Complex movement patterns should be broken down and demonstrated slowly as many times as possible.
Students like this method. It commands and holds their attention. It is very effective with poor and good students. Goals are clearer and can easily be reached. It involves both the teacher and the student in the learning activities and it is a quick method of teaching typing.
This method is an adoption of the demonstration method. It helps in guiding students in problem typing. The difference between the demonstration and apprenticeship method is that in the apprenticeship method, students learn through the process of comparison. In other words, they observe their teacher; that is the expert demonstrates and the production of such demonstration is compared with theirs. As defined by Russon and Wanous, the apprenticeship method is one in which the teacher’s primary responsibility is in providing a model with which the student can compare their procedures and problem solutions.
Problem Solving Method
Problem solving method is used to develop concepts and judgments relative to the arrangement of the copy, consistent style and other cognitive information.
When students are able to solve a specific problem, they can solve a whole range of related problems. The solution of one leads to the correct solution of the others. The problem solving method is defined by Russion and Wanous (1973) as one that involves the student in problem comprehension, attempted solutions, decision-making and the drawing of conclusion. The emphasis here really is not necessarily the solution but the skills acquired in the process of analyzing the problems and the methods used in arriving at the solution. It enables the student to use his initiative and be resourceful. Students are usually actively involved in this method of teaching. Through trial and error, they are able to acquire real understanding.
The Discovery Method
The discovery method of teaching is sometimes referred to as the experimental or laboratory method. It has a close relationship with the problem solving method. In this method the solutions to the problem is prescribed by the teacher and the students try out the solutions. On the basis of the results certain conclusions would be drawn and generalization made. Discovery method is defined by Russon and Wanous as one which provides for learning activity through the evaluation of evidence collected in the process of solving problems. When you use the discovery method, you are not only teaching the students how to type but you are also teaching them how to think. This method appeals to student curiosity and adds variety to teaching. It is also time consuming.
3. OFFICE PRACTICE TEACHING/LEARNING METHODS
Office practice, according to Harms, Stehr and Harris (1972) is the connecting link between schools and business. It is a course that exposes students to business practices and procedures, equipment and materials used in an office. Equipment used in teaching are expected to be typical of those used in the business world. Unfortunately, many schools do not have modern office equipment that students can see and manipulate. To help the students visualize these equipment, you need to use visual aids like pictures and real objects when teaching. You would also need to organize excursions and field trips for the students. Other methods of teaching include demonstration, case study, simulation and role-playing, question and answers technique as well as lecture method.
This is a method which you can use to teach the students correct techniques of manipulating office equipment, receiving visitors, filing and other office techniques such as interpersonal and communication skills. You could stand in front of the class and demonstrate how to operate office equipment such as the computer, photocopier or duplicating machine. The students would watch and imitate your techniques. Discourage wrong techniques and appreciate right techniques. This method makes the class lively and interesting.
Simulation and Role Playing
Simulation as defined by Daugherty (1974) is a learning construct in which students, through role-playing and social interaction experiences learn to solve problems and make decision in realistic situations. Simulation and role-playing are quite similar in that both involve life-like situations. They can be used to teach interpersonal and communication skills. Roles could be assigned to students who are left to use their own words in a playlet. The playlet may be used to teach how a difficult boss or visitor could be handled and how an unpleasant office situation could be handled. It could be used to correct an unacceptable action and to teach acceptable and correct actions.
The field trip enables you to use community resources to make learning meaningful. Your students can learn about office procedures and business practices when you take then to visit business organizations where they can observe first hand, how office staff works. The place to be visited should be related to the unit being studied and not just as a form of entertainment to the students.
The “case” is usually a problem situation hypothetical or real presented to the student whereby they would be expected to select from their experiences and previous learning or study an answer or a course of action that would best solve the problem. The case may be selected from a textbook or from a business or the community relating to behaviour in a business situation. It could be a personal or consumer problem. During the discussion, evidence would be weighed and characters and situations examined to help the students develop a sense of judgment.
Much has been said on this method earlier. It could be used to teach concepts and principles in office practice. It is ideal for teaching a large class. As a matter of fact using the lecture method will enable you cover the syllabus on time. However, the teaching of office practice requires the use of a combination of methods. Audio visual aids could be used to support this form of teaching to make it interesting and less boring.
Question and Answer Technique
This method is one of the most versatile teaching-learning techniques. You can use this method to determine a new starting point in a unit from the answers the students have given you on their previous knowledge. It is adaptable to almost any teaching-learning situation. It could also serve as basis for a discussion. It can be used to maintain attention of the students during class or to motivate them to prepare their assignments. You can use it to involve non responsive students in class activity, review work covered, prepare for test, and motivate students to read assignments and to reveal students’ difficulties, work habits, interests and levels of development. Questioning however requires a great deal of skill which must be developed through practice.
4. COMMERCE TEACHING METHODS
When teaching commerce, you could use demonstration method to emphasise important points to the students. Demonstration provides visual experience which goes beyond verbal explanation. According to Daugherty (1974), showing the students how to perform an activity as well as telling them about the activity stimulate both visual and auditory responses and therefore accelerate the learning process. This method does not always require extensive equipment or laboratory techniques. It does not have to be time consuming. You could also ask the students in groups or individually to devise diagrammed illustrations of how raw materials find their ways to the consumers’ tables as finished goods.
The illustration could be on cardboard paper. Some of the students or group leaders could be asked to explain their illustrations to the class. Their classmates may challenge the accuracy of the explanations and earn points for themselves.
Simulation and Role Play
This method could be used to teach commerce. You could for instance when teaching your students different types of business organizations assign roles to the students. An individual could be made to raise funds and buy an item for sale in the school during break time. He could buy a bag of pure water for sale. You could ask 2 – 5 persons to put money together to buy items to be sold to students during break. You could make some students to also set up a ‘limited liability company’ which they will ‘register’ with you. Other students will be encouraged to buy shares in the ‘company’. From the money realized from capital ‘sale of shares’ they could embark on toast bread production and sold to students during break time. This could go on for a period of time after which they would be made to report to the class about their experiences. You could use these experiences to emphasize or clarify some points. There are several topics which could be taught through simulation and role playing to facilitate understanding and enhance learning.
According to Harms, et al (1972) educators have granted certain values to field trips such as: to enable students see concrete illustrations of classroom theory; to reinforce understandings develop from reading and discussion; see, smell, and touch or hear the objects or processes previously described; to enter into conversation with people who are actively engaged in business; to ask questions that may not arise in the classroom. As has been earlier mentioned, there should be adequate preparation for the trip and notes should be carefully made of things observed during the trip which you must have earlier on described to the students in class.
Questions and Answer Technique
This method could be used as oral quiz technique to stimulate discussion. In the process you could uncover certain attitudes, needs and interests as well as problems which could give direction to areas where you need to focus on when teaching. It is essential that you observe good questioning techniques when asking questions.
The lecture method has been extensively discussed before now. We would only like to say here that when combined with chalkboard illustrations, it could be an effective method of teaching commerce. The lecture method is useful when presenting facts, figures, concepts and theory. Since interruptions from students are minimal, you can cover a lot of grounds within the lecture period. It is ideal for large class size.
However, it is advisable that you combine the method with other methods in other to make the lecture less boring. This method however is ideal for students in higher institutions of learning.
5. BOOKKEEPING METHODS
The methods of teaching bookkeeping according to Olatoke (2004) include the developmental approach, the teaching and learning by principle approach, the inductive or rule discovery/problem solving approach, the facts process approach and the lecture method.
In Developmental Approach, the lesson presentation proceeds logically and sequentially from the simple to complex and from known to unknown. This approach enables the students to get a holistic view of the place of each activity and problem in the scheme. The Teaching and Learning by Principle/Deductive/Problem Solving Approach is such that you would present the relevant principles to the students and allow the students to apply them in solving problems in business education.
Business education which comprises of typing, shorthand, office practice, commerce and book-keeping aims to enable students appreciate the five components and how they relate to each other. Students’ knowledge and understanding of the role of commerce in the economy of the nation; of the basic concepts and principles relating to practical commercial activities; acquisition of office and book-keeping skills (aural, mental and manual) help to prepare students for the business world.
Canning, B. W. (1976). Teaching Office Skills. London: Pitman Publishing Limited.
Harms, H.; Stehr, B. W. & Harris, E. E. (1972). Methods of Teaching Business and Distributive Education. Cincinnati, Ohio: South-Western Publishing Co.
Ifeagwu, D. (2000). Special Methods Teaching Practice for Students and Teachers in Africa. Lagos: DIC Publishing Company.
Igbinoba, M. O. (2004). Methods of Teaching Shorthand and the Senior Secondary School A course Text on Special Methodology, Generic Science and Calculation for the Improvement of Teaching and Learning of Technical, Vocational and Business Subjects. Lagos: FCE (T).
Mebaanne, J. O. (2004). Methods of Teaching General Business Subjects at the Secondary/Vocational Institutions A course Text on Special Methodology, Generic Science and Calculation for the Improvement of Teaching and Learning of Technical, Vocational and Business Subjects. Lagos: FCE(T).
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Peter Hezekiah Lawson (Sir Pee). The CEO of Sir Pee Integrated Services and www.libraryguru.com and www.projectvilla.com.ng. A reputable researcher, ICT Instructor and a publisher of many research works in Education.