THE PURPOSE OF THE CONFERENCE WAS;
* To explore the potential role for Business Studies and Economics teachers in delivering the new Citizenship curriculum.
* To illustrate how global and ethical issues can be integrated into the everyday teaching and learning of Business Studies and Economics.
* To increase teachers awareness of global and economic issues.
* To develop strategies to involve students in thinking about matters of equity, fairness and justice.
* To increase knowledge of sources of material and the support structures that exist to assist teachers who wish to develop their teaching in these areas.
The event was attended by teachers, LEA advisers, teacher trainers and development education practitioners. Most of the participants completed a conference evaluation form, with the majority of these rating the event 'excellent' or 'good' overall, and most also agreeing that it had 'suggested improvements to my existing practice'. Many cited the opportunity to network with fellow educators as a valuable outcome of the day. Other comments included; 'It reminded me of the benefits of simulations; 'It gave me an insight into development/global dimension potential in Business Studies, A useful general awareness raising session; 'I came away with some good ideas about how to organise games that got pupils to think about ethics; 'It was well organised, and the games were really good; and finally 'The toilets were not very nice!'
After Celia Flynn had formally opened the event, she introduced the keynote speaker, Hilary Benn M.P, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for International Development. Mr. Berm spoke about the increasingly global nature of economic and business activity, and the need for young people to develop understanding of international economic and business issues if they are to take an active part in the future global economy. In particular, he said, it was necessary for young people to understand the importance to world stability of combating poverty. He placed emphasis on the key role of Business Studies and Economics teachers in assisting young people to engage effectively - as producers, consumers and citizens - with the global economy they will inherit. He praised 'Just Business', the Institute and the EBEA for their role in trying to raise the profile of these issues amongst teachers. According to one participant's conference evaluation report 'Hilary Benn's speech set the pace for an interesting and informative day.'
The Conference then divided into two large workshop groups, led by Stephen Fairbrass and Finbarr Carter of 'Just Business', to examine some practical activities that could be used to address global issues in the classroom. Stephen Fairbrass led a session, based around his article published in the Spring 2001 issue of this journal entitled 'Business Studies and Citizenship', on using the garment industry as a case study to explore themes such as international trade, globalisation, and business ethics, beginning by looking at the labels in people's clothes.
Finbarr Carter meanwhile led his group through 'The Chocolate Game', an activity which explores the global chocolate trade through the lives of nine families - in the UK, Ghana, Brazil and Belize whose livelihoods depend on chocolate, showing how each family might be affected by events such as crop failure, and a hostile takeover bid. Among participants' comments in evaluation were 'The game gives a great opportunity for participants to enter the hearts and minds of producers around the world as each family have to work out their annual budget and defend their decisions to the others. …