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Transformative Teaching

Focus on Pedagogy 2022
Transformational approaches to the delivery of business ethics course content.
S. Atkins & M. Schaddelee
9:00 pm - 10:30 pm


Paper argues that the most compelling academic need for transformative pedagogy is inside the delivery of pro-societal ethics content (e.g., courses often titled “Business & Society” or “Society & Commerce” etc.). This paper then presents efficacy evidence, both Covid-era and pre-Covid, for film-based delivery (e.g., Netflix, Disney+, & eTV), if guided by Delphi consensus amongst such courses’ students. For most of the last decade in a New Zealand delivery of “Business & Society” in Year 3 of the nation’s most popular business bachelors degree, films typically chosen by student Delphi procedures have been society-impacting business ethics films (e.g., Social Network, Margin-Call, Big Short, etc.). Core text is Harvard/Stanford Prof. Niall Ferguson‘s “Ascent of Money” with most ‘readings’ being TEDx talks re: impacts of the ‘Industrial Age’ on human behavior, health, socio-economic inequalities, & climate-change (including Bill Gates’ & independently, Prof. Steven Salter’s & Prof. Jim Flynn’s arguments in favor of swapping ‘selfish/self-indulgent geo-engineering’ with science-based geo-engineered cooling to replace solar-reflectivity lost via ice-melts). Course includes teaching of hermeneutics/symbolism, film criticism methods, & cognitive-dissonance theory (e.g., rapid film character development via brief sex-scenes illustrating why Germanic languages use the term ‘making Love’ as a euphemism for physical romance, via dissonance-reduction or “turning an acquaintance into a lover” etc.). This course’s students rate each other, daily in-class, awarding scores based upon their view of each fellow student’s in-class discussion contributions linking non-fictional readings to themes or ideas proffered by the chosen films’ protagonists. Students can also earn points via online text-based submissions along these same lines. The course engages both transactional & transformational processes, but it’s mostly the latter reflected in end-of-course student reactions.


Dr. Stephen Atkins is a work-psychology research academic and founding member of the Global Organisation for Humanitarian Work Psychology (see: www.gohwp.org ), and relatedly, a contributor to the global research symposia at Univ.Glasgow on the Living Wage, and principal co-founder of Rotary’s global ‘humanitarian water-aid’ think-tank (see: www.rotarywasheclub.org ). Dr. Atkins has decades of masters/doctoral-level supervision/examination experience (…across universities in NZ, Australia, & USA) and over 50 peer-reviewed publications (…mostly at trans-national and international level).