Discourse and Method

Discourse and Method

Of course, all teachers reflect spontaneously on their practice from time to time, but if this process is not methodical or regular, it does not necessarily lead to new awareness and changes.

Perrenoud, P. (2001). Développer la pratique réflexive dans le métier d’enseignant – Professionnalisation et raison pédagogique. Paris: ESF.

Forging the SKEMA Way of Learning (SKWoL) is a strategic priority for the next five years, to pursue SKEMA’s mission. The aim of embarking on the development of this “proprietary” teaching method is to transform SKEMA’s pedagogical models. By reinventing our learning system, the SKEMA faculty is first of all giving learners the means to navigate a complex world (more broadly speaking, VUCA), by extending the school’s teaching beyond the disciplines of administration and management, and to develop their critical thinking abilities by exposing them to the realities of the world. But we must go even further to work on the essential: to “equip” them to shape their environment rather than resigning themselves to the way it is, to build new lasting realities and, ultimately, to incorporate their personal aspirations into a career plan.

To open this section called “Learn Differently”, which looks at a combination of initiatives and innovations in teaching, let us go back to its beginnings.


Overcome the legitimacy crisis of business schools

Criticism is regularly directed at business schools and has grown louder since the financial crisis of 2008. Meanwhile, our society faces some major challenges (development, democratisation and human rights, access to healthcare, education, etc.) but also other societal issues such as environment conservation or justice and social cohesion (notice how much importance is now being given to the rise in inequalities). What approach should business schools take? Should they focus solely on performance, something which is often condemned? How could they then legitimately make a valid contribution to these issues? And beyond that, what responsibilities do higher education and research institutions, and business schools in particular bear?

Originally, business schools were a moral weapon against the corruption and greed that characterised the unbridled capitalism of the early 20th century. What is the situation today? Business schools regularly receive often-harsh criticism on the media platforms, but also from research fellows who make them a focus of their research. It would seem that their raison d’être, positioning and pedagogical model all need to be reassessed to guide individual and collective action. How can we avoid encouraging short-term thinking or making decisions under pressure, and reduce self-interest? How can we meld individual interests with the greater good, which is difficult to ascertain clearly in a global and complex world?

Tackle learning challenges

Generation Y encompasses all those born between 1980 and 1995. This is the generation of “digital natives”, otherwise referred to as “millennials”. They have grown up along with the internet and with the development of the different interfaces, ranging from laptop computers to tablets and smartphones, that provide real-time access to information and knowledge. With Generation Z, which includes all those born after 1995, new challenges are emerging: also called Generation C (Communication, Collaboration and Creation), these students have grown up not just with technology, but especially with Web 2.0. This means they are constantly connected and share their private and/or professional life on social media.

In the last half century, learning theories have undergone major developments that reflect the learning challenges of these new generations. Where teaching is concerned, the challenge is to move from a behaviourist approach to a socio-constructivist perspective that makes cognitive development the result of social and cultural learning. It is this change in learning dynamics that renders obsolete the traditional model centred on the teacher passing on their knowledge, most often in person and in response to questions they have usually formulated themselves.


A new ambition for learning at SKEMA: to “become an instigator”

What is the SKEMA Way of Learning? It is both an approach to teaching that makes innovation a common culture within the faculty and a set of convictions and choices regarding the end goals of the student experience offered by SKEMA. The new teaching practices (active learning, blended learning, introduction to augmented intelligence, etc.) to incorporate into lessons and programmes encourage astonishment, engagement and the convergence of different areas of knowledge (consilience).

The SKEMA Way of Learning offers students the chance to shape their relationship with the world, or in other words to reconcile their aspirations, their entrepreneurial drive and their civic engagement through an active role in society and a stimulating career path. It is within this context that SKEMA has set a new ambition for its pedagogical model: to “become an instigator”, i.e. to reinvent the experience of learners and give them the necessary “equipment” to make a place for themselves in society.

Learn Differently: a teaching hub for sharing SKEMA’s practices and projects and for engaging dialogue

Pedagogy means the art of transmitting knowledge. There is nothing intuitive about developing a pedagogical practice, because it relies on the talent of each teacher. Through the “Learn Differently” section, SKEMA’s Knowledge site is affirming the responsibility of the school’s professors and the importance of pedagogical choices in constructing the student experience.

The aim of this section is to share the practices and points of view of SKEMA’s research fellows. Far from a reified approach to pedagogy, it is the diversity and creativity of the approaches that dominates, in order to test, improvise and tinker to create the arrangements that will meet the specific requirements of the student population. And by telling others about these practices via a story, scribing or even a webinar, they become explicit, giving the impetus to explore further, to embody the SKEMA Way of Learning, and to support the commitment SKEMA has made to its students and learners.


Fabien SeraidarianVice Dean Innovation & Research Transfer, SKEMA Business School

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