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Helping Business Students Succeed

Helping Business Students Succeed

If you are facilitating a business class you are probably aware that your students have specialized needs and their involvement in the class is often a reflection of how they are able to connect with and implement the course concepts. Business student need knowledge to go. They need information and knowledge that is relevant to their professional needs. Business students are seeking formalized education because they need knowledge that will allow them to advance in their career or seek a new career path. When students are given business theories they also need to understand how those theories translate into practice so that they can utilize it immediately. As your students read through the textbook and other assigned materials they may not relate to those concepts or understand the true meaning of these business theories until they interact with them through class discussions and written assignments. How you develop your class discussions and written assignments determines how effectively these students will learn and gain knowledge that is relevant and ready to use.

Class discussions offer the greatest benefit for this process because the two-way communication allows students to present their viewpoints while learning about perspectives and experiences from other students, which will enhance their ability to interpret textbook theories. Students also have an ability to ask questions, seek clarification, and receive guidance during class discussions. In contrast, written assignments provide a form of one-way communication because students are often required to write about a particular topic or concept based upon knowledge they have acquired and information they have been given, as a means of demonstrating their progress. The instructions may require other elements, such as the inclusion of additional research or other support for the development of their response, which encourages their cognitive processing. A written assignment allows you to follow the logical development of students’ thought processes so you can provide feedback that is corrective and supportive of their progress, while also gaining insights that allow you to adapt your teaching methods as needed.

You are also likely to find that students who are taking entry-level business classes and therefore are just beginning to explore business theories and concepts often think in terms of “need to” and “should” statements. These students often have a resilient attitude about the business world, believing that all organizations follow a standard set of operating procedures and organizational issues can be easily identified and corrected through the implementation of business theories that they read about. This presents an opportunity for you to guide students through the process of critical analysis and the development of well-informed and researched perspectives. In addition to relevant information and theories translated into real world applications, the development of academic skill sets will also enhance the development of their career skill sets. As you emphasize the use of critical thinking, analysis, communication, writing, and research skills you are establishing a learning environment that helps students meet their academic and career needs.

Your business students are taking foundational courses often because of degree requirements, which are based upon their area of specialization. As they take specialized classes they may have a general understanding of its overall relevance to the business world; however, if they are not seeking a career related to that particular class there may be some reluctance or resistance to the process of learning in that class. As an example, a student that is taking a marketing class may have no interest in a marketing or sales-related position and believe that what they learn will not benefit their career. Through class lectures and interactions students can learn that marketing skills, which includes advertising and personal selling, have direct relevance to job functions for many business positions and are especially necessary for small business owners. Marketing skills also translate to writing a resume because that is the ultimate test for students who are going to interview with a prospective employer. They must be able to demonstrate that they are the best candidate for a position, which means that they are selling their skills and abilities.

As a business instructor, you have an opportunity to help your students discover the importance of the course topics you are teaching and how they relate to the business world. By encouraging students to acquire knowledge and then guiding them through the process of applying it to real-world settings, issues, applications, and organizations you are bringing the materials to life and helping your business students succeed.