Innovation in Case Teaching Competition 2014

Nicole HaggertyPreparation is crucial for Ivey students taking part in the Service in Learning initiative, says Nicole Haggerty.

The pre-departure coursework is crucial to the success of the programme. First, Ivey students need to develop their case teaching and writing skills. As experienced case learners, they easily understand the structure of a case and a case-based class. However, they all find it far more difficult than they thought to activate a meaningful learning discussion using questioning techniques. Practice is crucial before they go abroad. We also spend significant time in discussing cross-cultural capabilities so that students will be aware when their personal biases and background may be influencing their interpretations of the experiences they have living, teaching and learning in an African country. Ivey students need time to understand how self-reflection (discussion and writing) can help them learn from rather than just react to things they don’t understand or that are different from their Canadian experiences.

Ivey class in NakuruIt’s crucially important to me that Ivey students understand that while they are collaborating with their peers as case discussion leaders, they must not assume that they have ‘superior’ business knowledge. I encourage students to consider how their education is embedded in a very Western perspective that is culturally bound. It’s important for them to understand that we don’t know very much about how our Western business knowledge needs to be adapted or discarded in African contexts where political, economic, social and technological institutions are quite different. The aim of the pre-departure work is to arm students with the humility to see their role as both learner and teacher. As a service learning course we take a critical perspective: it’s not ‘service for’, but ‘service with’.

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