It won’t be long before today’s secondary school students will step up to become the backbone of the UK’s business enterprises. It’s our job as teachers to empower them with the foundational skills and knowledge they'll need for succeeding as entrepreneurs, executives and leaders. We invite you to consider the following 4 tips for teaching crucial business skills to today’s secondary school students:
1. Require your students to give presentations
No matter what class you’re teaching your secondary students, they will benefit from having to present the material they’re learning to others. They may hate this requirement at the time -- but the public speaking skills they will gain from their presentations will be invaluable.
Communications skills are essential for success in the vast majority of the career paths that are projected to be the jobs of the future. Being able to speak well is important for business executives, managers, salespeople, healthcare professionals, engineers, educators, and many other professionals.
Listening to others’ presentations will also be beneficial for your students. It’s important for them to be able to listen well, question speakers intelligently and interpret the material they’re being taught.
2. Incorporate Useful Nonfiction Texts and Materials Into the Curriculum
Gerard Dawson at Thinkcerca.com recommends allowing students to research causes that are important to them using news articles and other relevant contemporary texts. You can support your students in their research and help them to act on what they’ve learnt in a couple of ways. The first is nudging each student to reach out to authorities in his or her area of interest. Another is encouraging your students to volunteer and get involved to make a difference in the causes they are passionate about.
3. Teach Data Literacy Using Charts and Multimedia
“Big data” is becoming of interest to virtually all corporate businesses right now -- and, as a result, data literacy is fast becoming a crucial skill for people who plan to work in any industry. Data also has relevance to many of the topics you might be tasked with teaching in secondary school, from history to business to the sciences. It isn’t just a topic for maths classes any more.
You can make the data concepts you’re teaching your students seem more engaging if you incorporate multimedia such as charts, graphics, audio, podcasts or video into the classroom activities when it’s appropriate to do so.
Another possibility is to encourage students to create their own charts, graphs and multimedia content to describe or illustrate the concepts they’re learning in the classroom. However you approach it, getting them comfortable with relating data to all the subjects they’re studying is key.
4. Empower and Encourage Students to Continue Their Studies After Secondary School
According to experts at the World Economic Forum, “people management” is one of the top 10 most important skills our students will need to succeed in the fourth industrial revolution that is underway.
The foundations of this skill set can be learnt in secondary school through extracurricular activities. However, truly mastering people management requires a more sophisticated level of understanding.
For most students, mastery of people management skills would take studying at university, completing an internship and perhaps even earning a post-graduate degree such as the MBA at SCU online offers – specifically, a master's degree program that allows students the opportunity to choose a concentration in managing and leading people. We must acknowledge that a student can only learn so much in secondary school. It’s important for students to realise how crucial it is for them to continue learning and “upskilling” after they graduate.
We must keep in mind the power that we have in helping to direct our students’ careers, and beyond that, the trajectory of their futures. University admissions staff takes our recommendations seriously. Recommendations are a responsibility we must use with great care, but we must also be proactive about using this responsibility to our students' advantages.
We must also remember how very influential we are in the lives of our students. We have the power to motivate them to maximise their talents, their potential and their opportunities. If we fail to do this, we fail in our responsibilities to them. This has always been an important facet of our role as teachers; but with job-stealing automation technologies threatening our students’ future careers and prosperity, it has never before been quite so critical as it is now.
There is no long-term future for humans in careers that don’t require human creativity, human emotions and human leadership ability. It is more important now than it has ever been before for us, as teachers, to empower students to view learning as an ongoing, never-ending and necessary aspect of their futures. They will not be finished with learning when they graduate from our schools. It is through higher education and continuing education that our students have the best hope of continuing to learn what they need to know to remain employable in the fast-paced economy of the future.
These 4 suggestions can help you better equip your secondary school students with the real-life skills they’ll need to succeed in business careers in the future. We invite you to give some thought to whether any of these ideas could be relevant and applicable to the classes you teach.