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Activity Based Learning in Commerce Education Essay

Vocational education covers education and skill developed at all levels from post-primary to tertiary education both through formal and non-formal programme. Technical and Vocational Education, defined it as a “Comprehensive term embracing those aspects of the educational process involving, in addition to general education, the study of technologies and related sciences and the acquisition of practical skills, attitudes, understanding and knowledge relating to occupations in the various sectors of economic and social life.

The main objectives of the vocational education are to fulfill the national goals of development and the removal of unemployment and poverty, to impart education relevant to increased production and productivity, economic development and individual prosperity, to meet the need for skilled and middle-level manpower for the growing sectors of economy, both organised and unorganized, to attract sizeable segment of population to varied vocational courses so as to reduce the rush to general education courses of universities and institutions for higher learning and to prepare students for self-reliance and gainful self-employment.

The primary objective of Commerce education the preparation of people to enter upon a business career, or having entered upon such a career, to render more efficient service therein and to advance from their present levels of employment to higher levels. ” During the post independence era, commerce education has emerged as one of the most potential pursuits in the wake of industrialization.

Most of the Education Commissions have held that commerce education is primarily meant for providing the students in-depth knowledge of different functional areas of business so as to prepare people required by the community for the purposes of trade, commerce and industry. Commercial activity is present in almost every day-to-day activity that takes place in our environment. Formal courses at schools and colleges are only systematic, scholarly presentations/records of the experience.

For teaching any subject effectively first of all teacher should be clear about its general as well as specific objectives of each topic/concepts because this will only help the teacher in selecting the appropriate approach and method of teaching according to the content. So for teaching commerce effectively teacher has to be thorough with the objectives of teaching commerce at all levels. Commerce is a subject which is very close to us, so for effective teaching of commerce it is all about listening, questioning, being responsive, and remembering that each student and class is different.

For this teacher should adopt Socratic instruction approach. It’s all about eliciting responses and developing the oral communication skills of the quiet students. It’s all about pushing students to excel, which is basic requirement of commerce teaching. Commerce is a subject where a teacher can use all the methods effectively such as lecture, discussion, role playing, seminar, supervised as well as independent study, project method, field trip, etc. A major concern however is that teacher should actually use these methods in classroom teaching.

Activity method is quite suitable for teaching Commerce as a Vocational Subject. In the wards of Rousseau, “Instead of making the child stick to is books keep him busy in workshop where his hands will work to the profit of his mind. ” Thus learning by doing, by activity and experience is the first and the most natured form of learning. One of the arguments against using these methods is that they consume more time but if we use different methods according to the needs of the content then it will help in achieving HOTS at the same time they are not at all time consuming.

For example if you field trip as a method for teaching banking it will consume at the most two-three hours to take students to the nearby bank and observe the functions of the employees of the bank and then the teacher can just discuss about the observations of the students in the class room and with this the chapter will be over. This will also help in retention of knowledge for longer period. This is also one of the ways to facilitate learning i. e.

relating the curriculum to the student’s lifestyles. Teaching of commerce can be made more effective by relating the subject/content with the daily life of the students and commerce is such a subject who can be related with the daily life of the students by giving examples, by adopting project based learning method. Right from the beginning we are saying that commerce is a practical subject as well as related to real life, so for teaching it effectively we should encourage students’ participation.

For students participation teacher should provide opportunity to students to ask questions, answer questions in a meaningful way, offer challenging and thought provoking ideas, plan interactive activities, show approval for students’ ideas, incorporate student’s ideas into lessons, and ask students whether they have understood the concept before proceeding. Keeping in view the importance of activity method for commerce education we present this paper entitled “Activity Based Learning in Commerce Education – With Special Reference to Vocational Commerce Education”.

The main objectives of this paper is to: •Describe the meaning and importance of activity-based education. •Apprise the Service Activities in commerce based vocational education. •Explain the Internship/On-the Job Training activities in commerce based vocational education. •Analyze the School/College based Enterprise Education – Production-cum Training activities in commerce based vocational education. •Examine Education and Business Partnership/Institute – Industry Linkages activity in commerce based vocational education. Meaning and Importance of Activity based Learning

Activity-based instruction involves the activities. This is in opposite of pure lectures. It means hands-on approaches to instruction, using manipulative to engage multiple senses, as opposed to just listening to a lecture. For instance, the teacher used note cards in a lesson to teach complete subjects and predicates. On the note cards he wrote (from a prompt) complete subjects and complete predicates, separate from each other, and had the students find their match. As opposed to just listen the teacher tells them what the differences are, they see them, evaluate them, and synthesize them.

Activity-bases instruction revolves around students learning though hands-on activities. This method can be great, especially for tactile learners. It breaks up the monotony of the basic teacher-led lecture; students listen and take notes system. Let’s face it, not all students learn from listening to their teacher drone on for 50-90 minutes a day. Activity-based allows students to demonstrate an understanding of the material and, usually, work with a partner or group, which leads to socialization Activity based learning, on the other hand, helps children connect their learning to real life and encourages them to innovative ideas.

In the end, it is only creativity that leads to path breaking discoveries and inventions in the world. Activity based learning, therefore, holds the key to better and more relevant education. What is Hands-On Learning? Hands-on learning is learning by doing. Hands-on learning involves understanding things while doing and experiencing them which as we know are the highest form of understanding. This can be done through simple activities and toys based on elementary scientific principles which closely simulate real-life scenarios, give enough scope for innovation and challenge and make learning science fun and exciting.

Vocational education has always understood that if you want someone to learn to repair an automobile, you need an automobile to repair. If you want to teach someone to cook, you put him or her in a kitchen. Did anyone hear of teaching someone to swim in a traditional classroom? Likewise, we do believe we are learning that in order to truly teach science, we must “do” science. Hands-on learning means many different things to different people. It has become a slogan and is often used to describe any activities in classrooms that use materials.

Hands-on learning, however, is not simply manipulating things. It is engaging in in-depth investigations with objects, materials, phenomena, and ideas and drawing meaning and understanding from those experiences. Other terms for this are inquiry learning, hands-on, and minds-on learning. Learning by well-planned activities and experiences in a well-engineered program is a quality instructional approach. It causes students to rely on the evidence instead of upon authority (encyclopedia, minister, doctor, text, teacher, parent).

Most students live in an authoritarian world with little or no opportunity to practice decision-making because nearly everyone tells students what to do and when to do it. We continually graduate students, who do not yet have the ability to set up a simple experiment with controlled variables, collect and interpret evidence, or make correct interpretations based upon that evidence provides students with a similar set of experiences so everyone can participate in discussions on a level playing field regardless of their socio-economic status. In this way, special benefits are not awarded to those who, by virtue of their wealth or

background, have a greater number of experiences under their belts forces student thinking by requiring interpretation of the observed events, rather than memorization of correct responses. Activity based learning method is adopted in vocational commerce education in +2 level Vocational Education Programme and developed curricula & instructional material. For development of vocational commerce curricula we invite the experts from professional institutions, university departments, vocational commerce teachers and industrial experts for preparing in activity based.

In this curricula we not only provide the syllabus but also provide the activities like course introduction, job opportunities, job description, job analysis which includes knowledge, skills & personality traits, course objectives, scheme of studies & examination, on-the-job training site & syllabus, inputs for the course, agencies for procurement of inputs, suggested list of collaborating organizations, teaching staff and their qualifications, suggested list of reference books, career mobility, and list of experts involve for development of the curriculum.

Simultaneously, we also developed activity based instructional material to involving the industrial experts. We also utilize the services of industrial experts for curricular transactions, skill/practical training, on-the-job training, apprenticeship training and evaluation of student’s performance and conducting campus interviews for placement of students. For implementing activity based learning in vocational commerce education the following activities are mainly adopted apart from the transaction of theory and practical activities: Service Learning Activities

Service learning activity is a method of teaching whereby students learn and develop through active, unpaid, participation in organized academic and practical activities that are conducted in and designed to meet the needs of their communities. Service learning links activities to the school/college curriculum and provides students with a real-world context in which to apply their academic skills.

Through service learning, students learn critical thinking, communication skills, teamwork, civic responsibility, mathematical reasoning, problem solving, public speaking, vocational skills, computer skills, scientific method, research skills, and analysis. Service learning may take place in the school/college, the community at large, in non-profit community agencies, private businesses, or government agencies.

This service is also a vehicle through which schools and colleges can teach the skills of democratic citizenship. By allowing students to venture out of the classroom to examine the world around them, and by providing them with opportunities to address the problems they see, service learning teaches young people that they have the power to change their communities and their world for the better.

Equally important in any discussion regarding service learning is the connection of these types of activities to the academic programs experienced by all students. The following elements are essential to any service-learning program: •Integrated curricula wherein community service activities are a natural adjunct to classroom learning experiences. •Preparations whereby students identify and analyze a problem, select and plan a project, and receive training and orientation prior to the service.

•Action, which is meaningful, appropriate for the ages and abilities of the students primarily, involved, is supervised, and provides for a feeling of ownership by the students during and at the conclusion of the project. •Reflection time consisting of structured discussions, readings, working on a project, etc. , all designed with the idea that students should be thinking critically and learning from their experiences as an individual or as a group.

•Celebration of the achievements and accomplishments of the students to be shared with the students and the recipients of the services as well. Through service learning activities, students come into contact with decision makers in their communities (e. g. , business people, government officials, and other members of the community). Because of projects that address real needs, students must seek the assistance of community members and leaders, and the community is able to see its young people as problem solvers and full members of the community.

The more students work in the community, and the more successes they experience, the more likely they are to continue to be involved after they leave schools and colleges. The following student service learning outcomes: Service Outcomes: •development of strong values and reasonable morals •a sense of personal worth and competence •positive self esteem •a willingness to explore new roles and interests •a willingness to take risks and an acceptance of fresh challenges •acceptance of the consequences of behavior

•ability to take responsibility for problem solving •sense of the obligations of public life in a democratic republic Intellectual Development and Academic Outcomes: •increased basic academic skills such as reading, writing, calculating, speaking, and listening •enhanced ability for problem solving, reviewing choices, analytical criticism •learning-from-experience-skills, such as observation, questioning, knowledge •application, summarizing, testing and assessing results •motivation to learn and retain what has been learned.

Social Growth and Development Outcomes: •concern for the welfare of others •social responsibility •political strategies •civic preparation •exploration of service-related career paths •sensitivity toward people from a wide range of backgrounds •development of character, judgment, insight, and sensitivity to underlying themes Internships/On-the-Job Training Activity Internship means unpaid work-based experiences where a student “samples” a particular industry or business for a period of time by working on a single project or a number of different projects.

It defines “Internships” as highly structured workplace experiences taking place over a number of weeks during which a student completes a planned series of activities or a project(s) and achieves a set of learning objectives designed to give a broad understanding of a business or occupational area. On the Job Training (OJT) refers to that component of vocational curricula which takes place in a real job situation under the supervision of an expert in plant supervisor or master craftsman, aiming at the development of proficiency and self-confidence.

On the Job Training (OJT) is an integral part of the vocational curricula, which enables the students to use theoretical knowledge in the real work situation. This helps the student to observe and understand the practical intricacies and make them well equipped, confident and motivated so that he will be able to take up any task with ease. As an initial step, it is proposed to train the students for 30 days in the concerned industrial firm during end of the academic year, which gives exposure to the latest technology, and equipment, which are not available in the schools and colleges.

Thus the scheme will definitely improve the vocational skill, competency of the students and thereby the quality of Vocational Commerce Education. The on-the-job training provides the student a guarded exposure to the real world of work under the supervision of expert worker and teacher guide, before the individual fully/really enters the job on permanent basis as an employable worker. The research studies indicate that the on-the-job work experience makes a person suitable for taking up self-employment since this training develops motivation, self-confidence and proficiency in production.

It is the only mode of instruction in vocational courses, which goes beyond the level of skill training and takes the persons into the domain of intricacies of the occupational field. The overall impact of on-the-job training is to train the student in the competency of work, to attain self-confidence and work habits and attitudes before these individuals enter the actual occupational field that is to prepare square pegs for the square holes.

Internships/on-the-job training help students transcend from school/college to the work place by offering “hands-on” learning in real work settings over a relatively long period of time. The experience is designed to give students a better sense of the jobs within a particular business or industry. Further, the internship provides students with information about all aspects of the business to aid them in understanding, through experience, how each part of a company aids the other in meeting the goals and objectives of a business or industry.

Internships are designed to allow students to accomplish the following: •Apply basic skills to the workplace by observing the relationship between academic skills and knowledge and a particular job •Develop employability and problem-solving skills which can be transferred back to the classroom •Increase self-esteem by becoming a valuable and productive worker in an adult environment •Focus on a career interest through participating in an in-depth, day-to-day job experience •Recognize the connection between school/college and the workplace and how both are related and necessary to achieve personal and professional goals.

Internships involve many more partners than just the participating students.

At a minimum, the following individuals and organizations should be included in any internship program: •Students who will be working with a teacher and a business or a community organization as an intern •Parents/guardians who will be providing support to the student and/or soliciting cooperation from various businesses and industries in the community.

•Educators who will be working with the students to define the internship activities; provide continuous instruction, advice and supervision; help the student integrate their workplace activities with the classroom; and, coordinate the logistics of the internship •Business and community organizations which will collaborate with the teacher and the student, provide opportunities for the students to complete their intern activities, instruct and evaluate the student and coordinate internship activities with the schools and colleges •Community partners (e. g., chamber of commerce, labor unions, service organizations, etc. ), which can provide internship, experiences for students and help to recruit other community organizations and businesses.

As part of the internship/on-the-job experience, students will be expected to: •Discuss all assignments with both the teacher and the workplace supervisor. •Review and understand all of the performance criteria established for the internship assignment and understand what constitutes an acceptable level of performance. •Know the job site expectations, rules, culture, and the nature of the job to be performed. •Accept feedback and constructive criticism from the job supervisor.

•Develop a regularly scheduled time for meetings with the job supervisor to review past performance and discuss future tasks and expectations. •Maintain communications with the teacher assigned to coordinate the internship program regarding both positive and negative feelings regarding the assignment. •Learn about the overall nature of the business or industry before the internship begins. •Become familiar with the specific work being done in the area assigned, the employees with whom you will be working, and the job tasks they perform. •Become knowledgeable about your particular assignment and how your tasks will fit into the overall operations of the business.

•Determine the workplace expectations regarding dress and generally accepted business practices. •Know and understand the hours to be worked and the procedures to be followed if late or absent from the job. •Become knowledgeable with any machinery and the safety measures to be used when operating the equipment. •Learn the tasks to be completed and the person(s) other than the supervisor to whom one can turn to with questions or to help resolve problems. •Complete all forms, materials, and evaluation sheets required prior to and during the internship. School/College Based Enterprise/Production-cum Training Activities Small business is the lifeblood of our economy.

Research, breakthrough thinking, idea generation, processes, and relationships are the elements entrepreneurs bring to the marketplace. Students need to learn and explore the challenges that are inherent in beginning a new business or maintaining an existing business. Entrepreneurs embody the marketing concepts in creating goods, services or ideas for consumers. Entrepreneurship begins with forming the attitudes and unique talents associated with that of a risk-taker.

Entrepreneurship, entrepreneurial skills, and the economic role of citizens are all part of the study of business, industry, labor, and agricultural organizations and their role in a local, state, national and international economy.

General knowledge of business operations and economics is not only critical to a student’s ability to get a job, it is important to job success and to the vitality of employing businesses. Agencies working with small business development say lack of appropriate management and marketing skills are the most common factors in small business failures during the first year of operation. For many entrepreneurs, business success depends on the skills they gain in school/college.

Work-based learning and marketing education bring knowledge of business operations and economic systems into the general and the vocational commerce curricula. All students, regardless of future career aspirations, need an understanding of marketing, business, and economics.

Students involved in a marketing, school/college-based enterprise activity have the responsibility to: •Design a career development plan to achieve personal, educational and career goals. •Use a variety of communication technologies to effectively communicate with associates, customers, employers and suppliers. •Explain the nature of risk management. •Explaining and comparing types of unit inventory control systems. •Describe and explain the types of economic systems, factors which affect pricing and determine pricing strategies. •Prepare policies and procedures for extending credit and evaluating credit risks. •Prepare a cash flow and profit/loss statements. •Determine the factors related to lease or purchase of a facility.

•Develop an organizational plan. •Write job descriptions, personnel policies, and establish standards for job performance. •Develop a business plan and establish objectives for the business. •Describe the factors entering into the selection of a business location. •Analyze various types of business ownership. •Describe and interpret major guidelines provided by the Occupational Health and Safety Act. •Distinguish between business ethics and social responsibility. •Identify a manager’s role in customer relations. •Recognize problems and implement plans of action to bring about change. •Explain the relationship between span of control and delegation.

•Describe the role of management and employees in the achievement of quality. •Describe the customer focus of total quality management. •Interpret market research to identify target marketing. •Estimate market share for a particular product or service. •Choose a marketing plan and project the outcomes of the plan. •Develop a promotional plan for a business. •Develop a promotional plan and preparing a promotional budget. •Develop a sales promotional plan. •Explain the key factors in building a clientele and developing effective buyer/seller relationships. •Design a sales training program. Establishing Business and Education Partnerships/Institute Industry Linkage Activities.

It is well known that schools alone cannot provide students with all of the necessary academic and technical skills necessary for them to be successful. What is needed is the support and cooperation of the community at large and the business and industry sector in particular.

Through the formation of business and education partnerships, teachers and employers can create learning opportunities, which will expose students to the skills, experiences and attitudes necessary in today’s work place environments. Not only do these associations provide a real world context where students can apply what they have learned in the classroom but they also provide significant rewards to the employer as well. Features In Developing Linkages •Identification of vocational opportunities.

•Development of curricula and instructional material •Utilization of facility/infrastructure in industry for specific skills training, specialized skill training, on-the-job training and apprenticeship training. •Utilization of professionals and technicians for curricular transaction and skill training •Evaluation of student progress and certification. •Placement in Industries and business organizations The following are some of the benefits to the business and industry sector as a result of establishing a partnership with the schools/colleges: •Developing employee satisfaction from sharing time and talents with the students •Enhancing the business image in the community.

•Creating the prospect of identifying and attracting better future employees •Favorable publicity for all partners •Creating the opportunity to influence the course of education •Improving morale of the students, teachers, administrators, and staff •Giving students a better understanding of the free enterprise system •Communicating the community at large and the business and industry sector in particular the school/college goals and the obstacles faced in meeting those goals.

•Increasing school/college pride with placement of students •Improving school attendance, punctuality and academic achievement For developing a plan for business/education partnerships, it is necessary to survey the community.

In conducting this recruiting research, the following questions should be considered: •What businesses and industries are located in the district? How large are they? •Are the businesses and industries local, statewide, national, or international corporations? •Do the organizations have public service programs and/or a public relations staff who would be interested in furthering a business and education partnership? •What businesses currently employ parents of students or family members of teachers in the school district? •To what extent does the business or industry offer goods and/or services, which would, are of benefit to the students’ education? •Who is the ultimate decision maker in the business or industry being recruited?

The School’s/Colleges Role in Establishing Business and Education Partnerships The following are some of the steps a school or college should take when attempting to establish a collaborative relationship with business and industry: •Create awareness within the school/college community of the concepts and the development of business and education partnerships. •Develop a business and education partnership task force to explore various partnership opportunities. •Develop a partnership plan that reflects the needs of the school/college community and the capabilities/offerings of the business/industry sector. •Seek a commitment from the school/college board, school/college administration, teaching staff and the senior management staff of the business or industry.

•Ensure that the goals and objectives of the partnership are clearly understood by all parties involved in the program. •Incorporate the partnership into the school’s/colleges activities to the maximum extent possible. •Develop an ongoing support system for the partnership. •Ensure that the partnership is curriculum focused. •Establish evaluation criteria and a recurring evaluation timetable for the partnership. •Publicize partnership activities throughout the community and highlight the positive results achieved through the cooperative arrangements. •Create partnerships in critical academic areas where normal business and industry interests may not be available.

•Designate specific program coordinators at both the school/college and the business/industry sites. •Provide overall coordination for the maintenance and support of the partnerships. •Maintain flexibility regarding the needs of the school/college and the business or industry. •Ensure that the relationship between the school/college and the business partners is reciprocal. The Role of Business and Industry in the Partnership As a partner in the education program, the cooperating businesses and industries will have the responsibility to: •Provide role models and mentors. •Exemplify the benefits and advantages of an education. •Enhance a student’s self image.

•Encourage regular school/college attendance and punctuality. •Share employment readiness information with the student, the coordinating teacher and the parent/guardian. •Serve as advisors on partnership task forces and curriculum development committees. •Encourage parental involvement in all phases of the business and education experience. •Initiate special projects to increase student involvement and experience. •Serve as resources for teachers regarding current workplace skills; business operations; technological and operational changes to the business resulting from market place demands; and keeping current with the trends in labor market information

Business and education partnerships have a positive effect on and increase the effectiveness of school coordinated, student work programs. Moreover, by working together, these collaborations have been shown to be a critical component of any successful program, which has established working alliances between schools/colleges, local businesses and industries, and the community.

Through these partnership agreements, each partner can share important information, build a mutual collection of resources, and clearly focus the programs on the students. While the majority of partnerships exist in urban and suburban areas, they are also being successfully implemented in rural communities.

They reduce the isolation and expand the resource base of small schools by getting businesses more directly involved in the education of youth and the professional development of teachers through the sharing of expertise, resources, and experiences. Be it an urban or rural, the increased communication between business and schools helps students make a smoother transition from the classroom to the workplace.

Communities and businesses receive the benefit of better prepared workers, while schools become more efficient at promoting career development and planning, preparing students for further education and citizenship, enhancing student self-esteem, and reducing dropout rates. Conclusions and Suggestions Commerce based vocational education is totally service and practical activity based education.


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