Jim Collins book ‘Good to Great’ is a firm Business Studies favourite. I wonder how often though we think about the same principle for our own lessons – how often do we challenge ourselves to move from ‘good’ to ‘great’?
The argument that Jim Collins makes is that the best businesses make greatness look effortless, and they deliver greatness consistently. Teaching is no different. We can all (hopefully) plan and deliver a good lesson, what makes us great teachers is the ability to do this day in day out.
Whilst great lessons, just like great businesses, come in many forms a simple checklist might look something like:
Do students in your classes:
- Demonstrate excellent concentration, remaining on-task even for extended periods without adult direction?
- Demonstrate resilience when tackling challenging activities?
- Demonstrate exceptional progress in the lesson, regardless of ability level?
- Demonstrate keenness and commitment to succeed, and a willingness to grasp opportunities to extend and improve their learning?
For teachers then achieving consistent greatness breaks down to one thing: student engagement. If you can get your students engaged in a topic you don’t need a checklist to tell you your lesson is working – your students, and their results, will be speaking volumes.
It was student engagement we had in mind when we wrote the Teacher Resource Pack that accompanies the Collins Cambridge IGCSE® Business Studies and Collins Cambridge O-Level Business Studies textbooks. Every activity is designed to get students involved, to challenge them to think, and to support them in making exceptional progress.
As an example, here is one such exercise from the Collins Cambridge IGCSE® Business Studies Teacher Pack. This particular exercise focuses on ethics and environmental issues, a topic previously covered on this site. Case study examples of ethical and environmental issues are easy to come by; the challenge though is that students often remember the context but not the concepts. We designed the attached activity to address this issue.
- Encouraging students to write out definitions for key terms reinforces their knowledge.
- During the game itself students are required to analyse and justify which concepts/terms relate to one another.
- Students are encouraged to ‘talk their way to understanding’; for EAL learners this not only offers a reprieve from written English but also helps to develop their spoken English (and helps address multiple learning styles).
- You can differentiate by allowing some students access to their textbooks, encouraging more-able students to only refer to them if required.
- To save time in lesson, leaving more time to actually play the game (i.e more time to develop analysis), students could be asked to complete the definitions as a home learning exercise.
Most importantly the exercise is fun, and, as we all know, when things are fun students are more engaged, and are more likely to learn.
Every exercise in the Teacher Resource Pack has been designed in this manner. Moreover, supporting the main lesson activity are a whole host of starter and plenary suggestions, examples and guidance on other approaches you might use, key terms tests for every topic and, of course, answers to all of the student book exercises.
Most importantly, these activities are tried and tested; they have been used with our own classes and tweaked according to student feedback. We are constantly challenging ourselves to move from ‘good’ to ‘great’, and we designed the Resource Pack with that goal in mind. We had fun writing it, and our students had fun trying things out – we hope it helps you achieve consistent greatness. Jim Collins would be proud.
Author of Collins Cambridge IGCSE Business Studies Student Book & Teacher Guide
®IGCSE is the registered trademark of Cambridge International Examinations