I teach Accounting and Management at Oporto to students in their final year. I’m also a researcher on the education and didactics fields. I understand that Excellence in every aspect of our lives is hard to reach but there is a path to follow.
At the extend of Higher Education, for several years, I’ve been studying the use of technology, simulations, ERP, active methods, group team work and other pedagogies that I consider important to work by the University, so that teachers and students are well prepared, or are being prepared to teach at high levels of excellence.
The subject I’ve been teaching since 2003, Management Simulation, has a logo “In the Path of Excellence”. It was the first curricular unit in Europe to have a Quality Certificate. Every six months an auditor asks our students, teachers and coordinators questions to understand if we are updating the cycle of teaching. For example, are we following the 41 specifications defined, are the students are aware of that and if we are showing improvements every six months? This is because the world is always changing and therefore the learning process is always changing. So students must be confronted, while at school, with the most complex systems of business and be challenged to solve several “tasks” every lesson. We get them to work in groups, so they create their own company, they are the managers, they hire 30 workers, they do a business plan, and they are work loaded in every lesson so they can start to be aware of the difficulties of working in today’s labour market.
The worry is about the way we teach, the way we evaluate and mainly what is left behind without evaluation. The student must have feedback from the teacher and from their work group colleagues in every session.
I truly believe that we all learn from our mistakes. So, the students must know if the things they’ve done are done well or not. And they must get help from us, teachers, school, community, to know how to do things well… how to be part of the community, how to communicate in formal situations, how to take care of each other, how be an adult, how to be aware of the world outside, how to grow up whilst studying.
Teaching must indeed be seen with different eyes every day. We can’t afford to be satisfied. Why? The world is changing so rapidly that our students deserve to have our help to prepare them to be excellent professionals.
Susana Bastos, PhD Education and Didactics, Senior Lecturer, IPP-ISCAP, Oporto