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Towards a pedagogy of inspirational parables

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Purpose ‐ This paper seeks to present a rationale for a learning and assessment activity involving students in the construction of inspirational parables for diversity management within a university business studies programme. The paper reviews processes from teacher and student perspectives, describes initial outcomes and foreshadows further exploration and research. Design/methodology/approach ‐ In small groups, students prepared a booklet that included their inspirational parables on ethnic minority migrant women in the workplace, justifications for the parables and a bibliography of related diversity management literature. A group presentation on the booklet was also required. Assessment criteria related to parable content, references, booklet and oral presentation and represented 30 percent of the overall course assessment. Findings ‐ Students' informal feedback and the teacher's observations indicate an overall positive response, with students highlighting surprise at their own creativity and the time they readily invested in the task, the enjoyment it gave them and their view that the task merited more weighting. Issues arising from the teacher's observations include group and self-assessment options, time allocation and the possible influence on students of the teacher's ethnicity. Originality/value ‐ While there is increasing interest in the use of stories for teaching and learning purposes, most attention has focused on teacher rather than student story telling. Story writing by students to help them develop and demonstrate understandings, has received much less attention and there are few precedents for the parable story form being used for these two purposes in a university education context.
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Keywords: Assessment; Equal opportunities; Learning; New Zealand; Storytelling; Teaching

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2007-04-03

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