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The Importance of the Discussion Method in the Undergraduate Business Classroom

Jonathan Ying ()
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Jonathan Ying: Purdue University

Humanistic Management Journal, 2020, vol. 5, issue 2, No 7, 278 pages

Abstract: Abstract The Discussion Method produces significant student learning outcomes. In a time where we are only beginning to witness artificial intelligence’s disruption of work and the economy, these learning outcomes are crucial to personal and professional success. This paper begins by tracing the role of the Discussion Method within the liberal arts tradition, and by extension the Confucian tradition. Second, this paper examines how the Discussion Method lost its value in higher education as a consequence of the employability problem. In this section, the employability problem is defined as a two-fold misunderstanding among students and parents regarding the purpose of education and how to prepare for the workplace. Third, this paper reframes the purpose of the Discussion Method in an integrated curriculum for preparing students to achieve personal and professional success. Also, in the third section, student generated data serve as evidence to support the argument that (1) discussion-based classes are an important missing element in undergraduate management education and (2) discussion-based classes are superior to large lectures. This paper concludes that a discussion-based business pedagogy anchored by the liberal arts and sciences leads to eight major learning outcomes: (1) how to reconcile opposing arguments; (2) how to think on one’s own two feet; (3) how to formulate cohesive arguments to reach a consensus; (4) how to mitigate fear of sharing individual opinions by building relationship among classmates; (5) how to allow students to learn better by motivating them to prepare more for class; (6) how to enable students to remain engaged during and after class; (7) how to embraces nuance; and (8) how to integrate new ideas from disparate perspectives and disciplines.

Keywords: Discussion-based learning; Liberal arts; Business education; Integrated learning (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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DOI: 10.1007/s41463-020-00099-2

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