By: Jimmy Song
Even after graduating from business school, I still remember my first course at York University’s Schulich School of Business. The course, “Managing Contemporary Enterprises”, has quite the reputation around the school. Our professor, Dr. Jean Adams, emphasized that people need to adapt to the “Office of 2020” by understanding the knowledge economy.
So what exactly is the knowledge economy? Dr. Adams explained that this was a trend in the economy where the focus is on using knowledge rather than using manual strength. In order to adapt to the modern workplace, she explains, one needs to use critical thinking and also need to learn how to attain knowledge. She says that it is not feasible for students to memorize information because information changes constantly in the knowledge economy.
The lessons of the knowledge economy became quite useful during my math lessons at Le’s Academy. One of the most common questions for any math teacher is “when do we use math in real life?”. Inspired by the need for critical thinking and by accounting and marketing case studies in business school, we introduced a financial case study curriculum for math students.
These cases promote critical thinking by applying math concepts in a real life scenario. An example of a scenario is when students assumed the role of a manager and decided between a commission-based structure and a base salary structure for an employee. Although this scenario can be solved with algebraic linear systems, some students caught the twist within the case – the fact that the narrative gave multiple examples that this employee was providing unprofessional service.
When some of the students mentioned that the manager shouldn’t pay the underpaying employee at all, our entire staff felt gratified. This meant that these students successfully used critical thinking to cross-over English reading skills with math concepts. It also gave me confidence as an educator that students develop their critical thinking skills with case analysis.
The lesson of this tale, therefore, is two-fold. At Le’s Academy, our goal is to educate. With the development of the case curriculum, the goal to educate reaches beyond just the students. As teachers, we learned to also develop our curriculum in order to also adapt to the knowledge economy.