Qualitative Findings Regarding Pedagogical Experiments In Business Classes Performed In Two Colleges To Improve Critical Thinking Skills Of The Participating Students
Frank DeSimone, Department of Business Administration, Wagner College, Staten Island, NY
John Buzza, Center for Entrepreneurship, Monmouth University, Long Branch, NJ
The motivation for this paper comes from need, need for our students to learn not only subject matter through traditional methods in a classroom, but foundational learning through experiences obtained directly in the workplace. The terminology used today for this student experience is referred to as experiential learning. This experiential learning ...view middle of the document...
Our conclusions in the paper signify that although more research is needed to further determine the significance of the impact of experiential learning, we have come away with a true picture of the educational benefits to the students and the productive benefits to the clients involved. An experiential educator's role is to organize and facilitate direct experiences of phenomenon under the assumption that this will lead to genuine (meaningful and long-lasting) learning. This often also requires preparatory and reflective exercises BOTH inside and outside the classroom.
Keywords: Critical Thinking (CT); National Science Foundation (NSF); Solo Taxonomy
n the previous article by DeSimone and Buzza, entitled “Experiential Learning: Improving The Efficacy of an Undergraduate Business Degree” (2013), the authors reported their quantitative findings of a research study to measure the improvement in Critical Thinking (CT) Skills by students when two different experiential pedagogies were embedded into two different business courses. In short, the authors of this pedagogical research hypothesized that including an experiential component into marketing and entrepreneurial management business classes by itself, regardless of the type of the selected business type (referred as clients), would improve the critical thinking skills of the participating students. It also was hypothesized that critical thinking skills would improve during the course of only one semester. The study concluded that the hypotheses were correct. Since the overall research included two different instructors in two different institutions of higher education teaching 5 different courses, it was reasoned that sharing qualitative information regarding the study may also be of value toward the development of business school curricula to enhance critical thinking and creativity. This paper is an analysis of the opinions about the experiences during the studies, which were collected as interviews, independent mid-semester reviews, and student course evaluations as well as some requested formal and informal feedback from the participating clients and their related associates. The participants agree with the opinion of Cook at al. (1996) that one of the main problems regarding teaching critical thinking skills is that there are different conceptualizations of the meaning of CT itself and the institution of a wide variety of methods to accomplish the teaching of these skills. As far as the teaching of CT in business is concerned, Rippen et al. (2002) investigated the use of case-study-methods to teach critical thinking. Celuch and Salma (1998) identified methods of integrating CT skills exercises into business courses and Catanach, Croll & Crinaker (2000) studied the use of classroom-“hands on” activities in CT. Reid (2010) used on line courses to improve students’ CT skills. Haynes and Bailey (2003) studied the use of detailed questioning in the classroom as a...