Adding interest to a study skills course
November 22, 2006 12:55 PM   Subscribe

What ideas/topics related to management would add interest to an entry-level course, given an audience of older students with very basic study skills (adults with a GED and several years since school) ?

The course focuses on basic critical thinking, planning, and reading skills. So learning a complex idea isn't the point, but rather introducing them to an idea/topic, with basic assignments (compare and contrast, choose the main idea, etc.) arranged around that.
posted by ejaned8 to Education (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Managing a fast food restaurant?
posted by orthogonality at 1:06 PM on November 22, 2006

Response by poster: I'm thinking more interesting ideas (e.g., microfinance, green business) that are accessible. Ideally relevant to business (as the students are majoring in business), but I'm open to other areas.
posted by ejaned8 at 1:18 PM on November 22, 2006

Best answer: People management; how to get the best out of individuals or a group of individuals without bullying / intimidating behaviour.

And don't just approach the subject academically - some of the most memorable classes I took for my MBA were driven by case studies. Typically presenting a problem or event, with student led analysis and debate afterwards.

A case study would perfectly exercise the skills you've noted above, and people management would give it relevance to almost everyone.
posted by Mutant at 1:20 PM on November 22, 2006

Mutant's got it. People management with a side helping of conflict resolution. The company I work for put me through a couple of different management courses and invariably, these were the central tenants. The differences come from how to approach these subjects.

The one I favored broke down the different personality types: Bold, Expressive, Technical, and Supportive. It then went through and explained how the dynamics of these different styles can lead to miscommunication and confusion. It then went on to detail ways to make these interactions go more smoothly.

Case studies is also worth looking into. It's easy to preach about the theoretical, but by taking a concrete example and having the class hash out it's opinions on how it should be best handled can illustrate how different personalities can approach a problem.
posted by quin at 3:23 PM on November 22, 2006

Comparisons of corporate cultures are often interesting and can lead to great group discussion/comparisons.

Macro questions like How does a corporate culture develop? What is the role of the company's leadership in setting the tone? How do you change an institutional culture? What role do interpersonal dynamics/ internal politics play in maintaining or changing a culture? What impact does morale or buy-in have on productivity?

Beyond that, a few sessions on communications would be great, if they're not getting that kind of material in another class. Email etiquette, what to communicate in person vs. in writing, how to persuade, how to deliver bad news, executive summaries, nonverbal cues in oral communication, etc. Give them the opportunity to develop their presentation/ public speaking skills in a non-judgmental environment.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 8:22 PM on November 22, 2006

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