In support of Pearson’s #BeInBusiness initiative, Kevin Lyons explores the top three areas business teachers can focus on to ensure representation in their teaching.  

Ensuring diversity and inclusion in the business curriculum is crucial if we want to create a truly modern and evolving business environment for the future, where all communities in which it operates are represented.  Here are three things we can all do in our business and economics classrooms to help achieve that:

  1. Learners today, business leaders tomorrow  

Learners studying business today will become the entrepreneurs and business leaders of the future. If the representatives and case studies we use to illustrate our teaching of business in the classroom do not reflect those learners, then we are effectively portraying the message, “you are not welcome here.”   

Every minute of every day, people in business shape how the world collaborates. We need to ensure that in our teaching of business we are not reinforcing stereotypes but showcasing innovation among all communities. We need to demonstrate that all kinds of people can succeed and that, ultimately, business is relevant to everyone, every day.   

What is #BeInBusiness?  

#BeInBusiness is an online initiative by Pearson (owners of Edexcel), aimed at inspiring greater student inclusion in Business at GCSE and A level and thereby encouraging students from every race, ethnicity, gender, background and ability to pursue a career in business. 

To bring that forward-thinking #BeInBusiness attitude to learners up and down the country, Pearson are  releasing a series of thought-provoking interviews, real-life case studies and exciting industry contributions, designed to be widely shared in schools and  colleges.

For further information and to access these resources go to: 

go.pearson.com/beinbusiness

 

  1. Diversity and inclusion in business makes sense

Research published in May 2020 by McKinsey & Company found that companies with more than 30 percent of female executives outperformed companies where this percentage ranged from 10 to 30 per cent. In turn, these companies were more likely to outperform those with even fewer women executives, or none at all. And it was a similar scenario when looking at ethnic and cultural representation.  

If people from diverse backgrounds, cultures, and experiences are excluded from the boardroom, it becomes more difficult for the business to understand the environment and communities within which it operates.  

We need to be thinking about that when producing our lessons and ensure the students from every race, ethnicity, gender, background, orientation and ability feel welcome to claim their space in the sector so that businesses in the future can function as a force for good in communities, and everyone is valued for the contribution they bring.  


Message from Editor:

If you have any case studies that you feel would help other teachers better reflect the diversity of their learners, send them in to me at editor@ebea.org.uk and I will share them on the EBEA website and may feature them in Teaching Business and Economics

 

  1. Unconscious bias can pass on for generations 

When we bring our own unconscious bias to the classroom as teachers, we can transfer that bias on to our learners.  

If we never show a black woman or a disabled person as a pioneering and successful entrepreneur case study when teaching, how does that impact our learners’ perspectives and decisions when they are running their own businesses and recruiting a new Business Manager or Executive Director in 10 to 20-years’ time?   

There is a danger that our own biases are transferred across the years (often without intention). And yet, with work, we can challenge those unconscious biases head on and ensure that we showcase stories involving people from a wide-range of backgrounds. 

It is important that we look within ourselves in order for this work to be done and progress to be made. By tackling our unconscious biases now, we can not only ensure that our students are represented in our teaching, but we can also encourage change for the good.  

Looking to the future   

These may seem like small steps for business teachers to take, but in the ever-progressive world of business, these actions can empower and inspire our bright young learners of today, who will begin to shape a brighter tomorrow.  

Kevin Lyons is an HR Manager and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Champion at Pearson.