Supporting teachers and students (website)

TPTV Business Studies: supporting teachers and students (website)

Uttley, Simon

TPTV Business Studies: supporting teachers and students (website)

Address/URL: http://www.microactive.com/tptv/

Subscription:

Group A) School Department Subscription first year £150 (£50 for subsequent years)

(Group B) University Department Subscription first year £300 (£200 for subsequent years)

(Group C) Qualified and Student Teachers – Personal Use Subscription first year £60 (£30 for subsequent years)

EBEA members entitled to 10% discount

Author: HaIa Seliet. A Head of Business Studies in Essex and sometime lecturer at the Institute of Education, University of London, the University of Huddersfield and an experienced examiner.

REVIEW

Boasting some 14000 hits (as at end of March 2004), 800 documents, 100 literacyimproving activities and enough citations from admiring reviewers to massage the ego of an A- list celebrity, this offering from Hala Seliet is not backwards at coming forwards nor should it be because, though work in progress, I think it could eventually fill a gap in the market by complementing resources (of which we have a few sources) with good quality pedagogy (of which we have considerably less).

Hala has offered a substantial piece of work which is practical and has the feel of a collection of teacher-produced resources (for example downloads in Word with clip art, as against the ubiquitous if sharperlooking PDFs). Superficially, it seems particularly helpful for newly qualified and training teachers though this is neither a criticism, nor, in fact, entirely truthful. As an Advanced Skills Teacher, Hala is concerned to develop pedagogy for our subject and, though some will appear a little basic for experienced teachers, it is both right – and timely – that Business and Economics Education concerns itself with innovative ways to get children and young people to think in our lessons.

The ‘How To’ facility is a collection of essays on topics including: field trips, newspaper article presentation, worksheets, materials and strategies to promote literacy in Business Studies, employers in the classroom, and, my favourite for its boldness, ‘how to be a form tutor’. I particularly liked the latter as it acknowledged that we as Business teachers do not work in a vacuum, nor can we separate the pastoral management of children from effective learning. The ‘How to be a Reflective Teacher’ really does feel like a session I once had during PGCE and a piece on Differentiation is, again, a teacher-training staple. Where this kind of material might come into its own is as a key resource for the developing Graduate Teacher Programme and Flexible PGCE market, where one cannot take for granted that beginning teachers have thought about these issues in quite the same manner as the ‘traditional’ PGCE route.

The level-specific links ‘cover’ KS3, 4, AS/A2, GNVQ-Int, AVCE, BTEC first and Economics. I say ‘cover’ because they clearly do not they rather give a selection of resources, schemes of work and bits and pieces which are important when we approach these courses for the first time. I really liked the AS/A2 Business Studies ‘Staff Handbook’ download which was generous and practical, the GCSE class notes and revision pack which were well thoughtthrough and the AVCE Induction pack which was user-friendly. Some diagrams seemed to take a while to download properly (possibly my problem) and you will need an ‘unzip’ facility, which you can download for free.

A link to Work-Related Learning is timely but I was hoping for a bit of help mapping what happens at work with Business Studies content proper. Instead, the link outlines the rationale for WRL which is important as it becomes mandatory from September. Again, important and forward-looking, but work in progress.

A ‘Forum’ link offers a chance for online discussion. I must confess this kind of thing does not float my boat, though as I recently contributed to the EBEA forum, I am clearly a hypocrite and I know that a number of colleagues have found this kind of link useful.

The price is not outrageous but may jar with those of us still ambivalent about paying for web-based resources. The 10% discount for EBEA members is a nice nod to this readership but there is another way to pay the piper, namely by e Learning-credits, or ‘eLCs’. These credits, which your Headteacher will have been given and about which he or she will be instantly familiar (Not!) can be used to offset or even cover the cost of many resources and a visit to www. curriculumonline. gov.uk will give you access to what is on offer. Seriously, it is worth rattling cages to see if this free money is being accessed in our schools. (By April 2006, schools will have received £330million in eLC money. In May 2003, for instance, every school received £1000, plus nearly £10 per pupil, for the academic year 2003-4.)

The overall feel of the site is that it is directed predominantly towards teachers and, at present, to those still honing their skills. There has clearly been a lot of work put into the site so far, although I estimate that 80% of the content could be found with a couple of decent text books and a copy of the Board Specifications and Teacher Guides. Having said that, in a job where time is a scarce resource, there is an obvious advantage in having a one-stop-shop which offer downloads in Word.

To summarise, the strength of this resource lies in the fact that it is clearly concerned with delivery as well as content and I applaud this. It would be very exciting if this website could trail-blaze methods by which we, as Business and Economics educators, can use, for example, Accelerated Learning Techniques and higher-order thinking skills to enhance learning in our subject area. I liked the unpretentious and easily customisable downloads and the lack of flashy artwork I liked the simulations and games – though these needed building on and expanding for subscribers. I hope that, with further teacher/student feedback and suggestions, it will go from strength to strength and find its niche which, for me, lies in showcasing the best forms of teaching and learning in our subject, as against the well-trodden route of resource links.

Simon Uttley

Deputy Headteacher

St Paul’s Catholic School

Leadenhall

Milton Keynes

Copyright Economics and Business Education Association Spring 2005

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