Last year we asked our lecturers to collect buzzwords that could be used for seminar preparation. We are convinced that replacing preparation with the help of texts by a more self-determined kinds of preparation offers a couple of advantages – for you and the students. For example, we expect a higher degree of motivation since material can be chosen by the students themselves and adjusted to their previous knowledge.
Of course, it is necessary to integrate the prepared concepts into the seminar. Dr. Shaw, one of our lecturers, was the first lecturer to try this approach and he developed a didactic approach for one of his seminars. He asked students to research certain concepts and prepare a brief outline on each of the basic concepts. For our newsletter, Dr. Shaw shares his implementation and experiences. We would like to thank Dr. Shaw for his cooperation and openness to share with everyone. We hope this report will inspire you to revise your seminar preparation. Our staff would love to support you.
Report by Raymond Shaw:
During my previous years of teaching such subjects as Organisational Behaviour, Leadership, Human Resource Management, etc. to predominantly German, Italian, Spanish and North American students, I had always encountered resistance by the students to having to read articles or books prior to the lessons. Consequently, in order to reduce this resistance I asked students to view appropriate videos on TED or YOUTUBE instead of reading articles. Even so one always got the impression when talking to these students that they preferred to listen to a lecture, as opposed to undertaking preparatory activities or having to work on Case Studies or participate in discussions.
The National Training Laboratories in Maine in the USA researched the effectiveness of the different teaching methods on Fact Retention by the students with the following results:
|Practice by doing
|Teach Others / Immediate use
From this it is obvious that Reading (10%) or Lectures (5%), although requiring less effort by the students, are in fact relatively ineffective compared to Discussions (50%), Practice by Doing (i.e. Case Studies) (75%) and Teach Others (Presentations and defense of results of Case Study work (90%) all of which generally require greater effort by the students.
In the case of SIBE, our students are faced with a considerable work load in that they are not only engaged on the Masters course but at the same time also pursue full time employment. Even though this is ameliorated to a certain extent by their employers allowing them Day Release from their employment duties, to attend the course, this still leaves the students with a high work load.
After some discussions with Sandra Fleischmann we decided to seek an alternative approach to student preparation for the course module entitled „Power and Influence (PI) / Organizational Behavior (OB) / Leading Organizations and Teams / The (Moral) Leader“ in October 2017. Subsequently we decided to abandon the usual preparation requiring the students to read specific articles and substitute this by asking the students to consider and reflect on various subjects which we considered to be fundamental to the course and which were generally only considered superficially by students and because of time constraints covered too lightly during the class. My favourite example of this is when one asks students what they mean when they use the word „Strategic“ – a word that is fundamental in their field of study (and career). Their reaction generally is to grope around for the answer. Eventually they get to an acceptable answer but usually this necessitates at least a little guidance by the teacher.
Subsequently, we asked the students to reflect on the following i.e. what they are and their importance:
- Nonverbal communications
- Emotional Intelligence
During the classes students were invited to give their inputs verbally on these to the assembled class. I was very pleased in that the students not only addressed the specific question but in most cases expanded on their initial answers.
In conclusion I can say that I am very pleased with the reaction of the students to this experiment. Consequently, I have decided to adopt this approach for all further course which I may be invited to teach at SIBE in the future.