Deep conceptual learning opportunities in business studies classrooms

Keywords: deep learning, concept formation, epistemic structure, business studies, curriculum design coherence model


The curriculum design coherence model (CDC) (Gore, 2018) illustrates pedagogic practices that would lead to deep conceptual learning. What opportunities for deep conceptual learning and cognitive advance are provided in BS classrooms? This analysis of teaching in grade 11 Business Studies (BS) classrooms is framed by the concepts of deep learning from cognitivist theory and the 5 elements of the CDC model. This article is based on 10 lessons of 4 grade 11 BS teachers in 2 schools. The lessons were observed, recorded, transcribed, and deductively analysed according to an analytical framework based on the CDC model. Lesson analysis showed that 9 out of the 10 lessons provided surface learning opportunities and are not in accordance with the pedagogic processes of the CDC model for deep learning.  While teachers selected and sequenced concepts to be taught; they have difficulty with the key requirement of identifying appropriate content material and examples to facilitate concept formation and understanding the meaning of. the concepts.  The general pedagogy was reading out definitions of concepts.  It amounts to telling students the definition of concepts and its basic components in a ‘bare-bones’ way and not adding ‘flesh’ that would facilitate deep conceptual learning.  Students were not provided with content that requires them to analyse and infer meanings and make generalisations.  Content that illustrated concepts in the form of case studies in the textbook were left out in the lessons.  The omission and absence of appropriate content and examples jeopardises  subsequent stages of the model for deep conceptual learning such as application of knowledge in different contexts, practicing and learning procedures and skills  and opportunities for identity development.  These practices deny learners access to deep learning of conceptual knowledge and developing their academic identity.

Author Biography

Mbali Mabaso, University of Johannesburg

Mbali Mabaso has been teaching Business studies to senior phase secondary school students for many years now. she is also a postgraduate student in the education and curriculum studies area.

Research Articles