Te Kete Ipurangi Navigation:

Te Kete Ipurangi

Te Kete Ipurangi user options:

Senior Secondary navigation


You are here:


Pedagogy means 'teacher actions that promote student learning'.

Effective teachers of business studies use a variety of approaches and strategies to support student learning. Business studies involves both theory and application. The teacher needs to be as much facilitator as teacher to model entrepreneurial behaviour.

The New Zealand Curriculum identifies key characteristics of effective pedagogy and ties them in to a process referred to as 'teaching as inquiry'. This process provides a framework that can help teachers to plan strategically and to notice and respond to the effects of their teaching.

Te Marautanga o Aotearoa also outlines a vision of quality teaching in the section Ngā Āhuatanga Ako.

To ensure that students engage with and understand the ideas of business studies, teachers need to carefully select appropriate simulated and real-life contexts, where possible, involving students in the decision making.

Teachers will recognise that any particular context will engage some students more than others, and should take care to differentiate their teaching to meet the needs of individual students.


Four mechanisms that facilitate learning in the social sciences

In terms of the wider school curriculum, business studies most closely aligns with the social sciences. For this reason, it is recommended that business studies teachers make full use of the social sciences Effective Pedagogy in Social Sciences/Tikanga ā Iwi: Best Evidence Synthesis Iteration [BES].

Drawing from a very wide range of research into classroom practice, the BES identifies “four mechanisms that facilitate learning for diverse students in tikanga ā iwi/social sciences”. These mechanisms (summarised on pages 54–55 and inside the back cover) are: connection, alignment, community, and interest.

Learn more:

The experiential learning approach

Students need to process content to derive meaning from it and to construct knowledge.

An " experiential learning cycle" has been developed for teachers of health and physical education. This approach is readily applicable to business studies.

The experiential learning cycle has four phases:

  • experiencing
  • reflecting on what happened
  • generalising and abstracting based on what happened
  • transfer of learning.

Effective teachers of business create situations where students can actively work with the content of their learning. Rather than require students to provide specific answers to preconceived questions, teachers invite students to delve into the topic, ask their own questions and construct their own knowledge.

The role of the teacher is to observe their students closely during each session, identify gaps in their knowledge base or skills, and adjust the activity and their teaching accordingly. (Based on Henton, M. (1996). Adventure in the Classroom: Using Adventure to Strengthen Learning and Build a Community of Life-long Learners. Dubuque, Iowa: Kendall/Hunt.)

Building conceptual understandings

Conceptual understanding is more important than factual knowledge. When teachers focus on concepts, they structure learning experiences around overarching ideas.

Teachers help their students develop an understanding of concepts by:

  • offering a range of activities that engage them in actively constructing their understanding in new settings and in new ways
  • ensuring they have time to consider concepts in-depth and opportunities to revisit new concepts within a short timeframe
  • giving them opportunities to collaborate with others.

Learning in this way, students are able to gain an understanding that goes much deeper than the acquisition of factual knowledge.

Business-related concepts can be linked to learning in other curriculum areas. For example, a student may learn about aspects of sustainability in social studies and then go on to develop their knowledge and understanding in science or business studies.

Creating an inclusive learning environment for business studies

An environment in which the teacher builds respectful relationships with their students is essential for all students, but especially for Māori and Pasifika students.

Consider cultural perspectives and ethnic and linguistic diversity as you interact with business studies students. The ethnic mosaic of New Zealand’s population is changing, with the Māori, Pacific, and Asian ethnic groups making up a growing proportion of the population. Projections show that New Zealand will have greater ethnic diversity in the future.

Learn more:

Acknowledge students’ whakapapa (family history), their whānau (family), and iwi (tribe). View Te Kotahitanga interviews:

Acknowledge and observe tikanga and other cultural values and practices, for example, showing generosity towards visitors, not sitting on desks, following protocols around eye contact with students, and observing personal space.

Respect the languages of the students, for example, by pronouncing names correctly or seeking translations of some of the key concepts into students’ home languages.

Practice ako or reciprocal learning – teacher as learner and learner as teacher, for example, when students share the latest media release they have found about a NZX company being studied.

Group work, including co-operative learning, is also fundamental. Students will work in teams in the workplace, so, by acquiring group and interpersonal skills in the classroom, they are preparing for the world of work.

Where possible, the physical environment should support experiential and co-operative learning, for example, by allowing for flexible use of space. The business classroom is the place to display business-related activities and students’ work.

Digital technologies are integral to business. In the classroom, digital technology can be used very effectively to simulate business practice and enable students to apply their learning. There are many online business games. For example, the New Zealand Small Business Game encourages students to look at business ethics, values, and operations in a simulated retail environment.

The classroom should have facilities for students to prepare and present information.

Processes should be in place to ensure that the environment is one in which students feel safe, able to take risks, learn from their mistakes, reflect, and move forward.

Last updated February 21, 2023