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Report on the consumer education course : Vancouver School District 1988

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REPORT ON THE CONSUMER EDUCATION COURSE: VANCOUVER SCHOOL DISTRICT By MARY-JANE GARVIN .Ed. (Elem.), The University of B r i t i s h Columbia, 197 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENT FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES (Centre for the Study of Curriculum and Instruction) We accept t h i s thesis ae conforming to the required standard © T H E UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA November, 1988 In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make it freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of my department or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission. Department of The University of British Columbia 1956 Main Mall Vancouver, Canada V6T 1Y3 DE-6(3/81) ABSTRAC The purpose of the study was to examine the routine existence of the Consumer Education course within the Vancouver School D i s t r i c t and to understand how micro, or school l e v e l influences contribute to changes in school subjects which have been mandated at the macro, or p r o v i n c i a l level". A target population of 41 Vancouver Consumer Education teachers was i d e n t i f i e d , and semi-structured interviews were conducted with 23 of these teachers. Conclusions: Information obtained from these interviews concludes that the course-as-practiced d i f f e r s s i g n i f i c a n t l y from the course-as-planned. This study concluded that the reinterpretation of the course i s a result of two factors: 1. School-based support for the course varies from school to school. Generally, east side schools exhibit a higher l e v e l of support for the course than in the west side schools. i i 2. Ministry guidelines for the course do not o f f e r clear course expectations and standards. Recommendations: Two recommendations were reached about the Consumer Education course: 1. Revision of Ministry guidelines i s needed. The current state of the course i s affected by the lack of d i r e c t i o n given to t h i s course. Province-wide expectations and standards should be c l e a r l y expressed, and methods to assess the degree of compliance need to be i n s t i t u t e d . 2. The course would benefit from school-based support, in p a r t i c u l a r , establishment of a subject- constituency which would promote and protect the course. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Sincere thanks are owed to a number of people, but in p a r t i c u l a r , to Dr. P. James Gaskell for his encouragement as well as the many hours of time. Without his frank and objective suggestions, t h i s thesis would not have been possible. To Dr. Frank Echols for his help with the interview guide, and for the time taken from his sabbatical to comment upon the finished product. Support from Mr. Bob Peacock of the Vancouver School Board was also greatly appreciated. And to Chris Bowers and Luck Louis for the i r computer expertise. i v TABLE OF CONTENTS Abstract i i Acknowledgement iv Chapter One: Introduction to the Study Introduction 1 Organization 3 Background to the problem 5 History of the Consumer Education course 9 Importance of the Study. 11 Limitations of the Study 13 Organization of the Study ....14 Chapter Two: Review of the Related Literature Overview. 16 Implementation Perspectives 17 Curricular Orientations 22 Contributing Factors 25 Influences inherent in School Community 32 Studies focusing on Consumer Education 41 Summation 47 Chapter Three: Methodology Introduction Rationale for using Interview. Development of Interview Guide Selection of Sample Data Analysis Summary of Methodology Chapter Four: Data Analysis Overview 66 Research Question One 67 Who Teaches Consumer Education 68 Responsibility for Management of Consumer Education..71 Course Organisation 76 Shape of the Course-as-practiced ..82 Grading Considerations 85 Consistency of Content .87 Teachers' Perceptions of Course 90 Administrative Support , .92 Resources 9-3 Ministry of Education Requirements 98 Perceived Attitudes to the Course ..103 Suggestions for Improvement I l l Summary Statements about the current state of the Consumer Education course 114 48 49 52 57 61 64 v Chapter Five: Factors which contribute to the Current State of Consumer Education Overview 123 Contributing Factors 124 Sta f f i n g Considerations • 125 Perceived Status of Image 130 T e r r i t o r i a l Disputes, , 133 Summary Statements 136 Chapter Six: Conclusions and Implications Summary of Major Findings: Research Question One...140 Conclusions Research Question One .143 Summary of Major Findings: Research Question Two...143 Conclusions and Implications 144 Recommendations 151 Summation 154 Directions for Further Study 156 References 157 Appendices i Appendix A: Interview Guide 160 Appendix B: Transcribed Interview 167 Appendix C: Sample of Teacher Unit Plans for Consumer Education v i CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION TO THE STUDY A course in consumer education was introduced as a compulsory graduation requirement in B r i t i s h Columbia's secondary schools in 1982. From the beginning t h i s requirement and the course developed to f u l f i l l i t have created controversy. The course has been regarded with suspicion by some because of i t s conservative p o l i t i c a l overtones. Disagreements between the BCTF and the government during the development phase over a variety of issues created controversy. The BCTF did not support the concept or development of the course. Mandating of the course as a graduation requirement caused further c r i t i c i s m and controversy. Infighting between various subject communities such as the Business Educators and Home Economists for control of the course resulted in negative feelings between these groups. It i s now the only course required for graduation which does not e n t a i l a year-end government f i n a l examination, although when Consumer Education was introduced, P.E. 11 was also a graduation requirement which did not have a corresponding government 1 examination. The Consumer Education course i s and has been an anomaly within the education system. The course has been in the schools for a number of years now and has had to respond to the interests of students, teachers, and parents. The interests of these groups are not necessarily the same as those of the groups who created the course in the f i r s t place. This study w i l l seek an understanding of how school l e v e l influences shape the courses and c u r r i c u l a r innovations which are the resu l t of p r o v i n c i a l l e v e l actions and decisions. In other words, the study seeks to understand how micro l e v e l influences contribute to changes in school subjects which have been mandated at the macro l e v e l . The importance of looking at these influences i s stated by Goodson, (1987) "To concentrate attention at the micro l e v e l of i n d i v i d u a l schools subject groups i s not to deny the c r u c i a l importance of macro l e v e l economic changes or changes in i n t e l l e c t u a l ideas, dominant value or educational systems. But i t i s asserted that such macro l e v e l changes may be a c t i v e l y reinterpreted at the micro l e v e l . " (p.47) In 1982, a p a r t i c u l a r set of macro l e v e l influences created an atmosphere conducive to the introduction of a 2 course such as Consumer Education. The expectations of the developers were published in the Curriculum Guides (1982, 1983) and outlined s p e c i f i c topics which were to be taught, weighting for these topics, usage of prescribed textbooks and other recommended resources, and suggestions for grading and examinations. The Curriculum Guides were designed for use throughout the province, in every d i s t r i c t , and in every secondary school. In order to determine how these prescribed recommendations and suggestions contained in the Curriculum Guides have been reinterpreted at the micro or school l e v e l , i t i s necessary to examine the routine operation of the course as i t exists today. Organization of the Study: Interviews were conducted with 23 Vancouver secondary Consumer Education teachers in order to obtain information which would address these two research questions: 1. What i s the current state of the Consumer Education course in the Vancouver School D i s t r i c t ? In order to assess the current state of the course, the 3 interviews focused on these points: s t a f f i n g and administrative management of the course, who the teachers of the course are, what topics are being taught, what grading procedures are being used, and what concerns these p a r t i c u l a r teachers have about the course. The second research question i s as follows: 2. What factors contribute to the current state of the course? The study w i l l be of th e o r e t i c a l importance because i t may provide insight into the factors contributing to the ongoing adaptation and modifications or reinterpretations, which school subjects and school communities undergo. The study w i l l be of p r a c t i c a l s ignificance to the School D i s t r i c t because i t w i l l provide an assessment of the course as i t exists today in that d i s t r i c t . It w i l l also be of p r a c t i c a l s ignificance to the Ministry of Education because the Business Education Curriculum, which frequently i s seen to encompass Consumer Education, i s currently undergoing a process of revision. The next section w i l l present some macro l e v e l influences 4 which contributed to the development and introduction of a course in Consumer Education. Background to the Problem: Some of the more important influences on B r i t i s h Columbia education in the early 1980's stemmed from the p o l i t i c a l and economic climate of the time. The importance of looking at these influences was stated by Goodson, (1987) when he argued that these macro l e v e l changes influence interpretation of i n t e l l e c t u a l ideas, dominant values or educational systems. The macro l e v e l changes which were taking place during the infancy of Consumer Education can be categorized as the macro background. For the purpose of t h i s study, "macro" refers to socio-economic trends and international, national and p r o v i n c i a l l e v e l p o l i c i e s . "Micro" refers to the school l e v e l , and to the personnel who are involved with the interpretation and re- interpretation of the courses offered at t h i s l e v e l . Following years of rampant i n f l a t i o n and confrontational labour/management practices, B r i t i s h Columbia's early 80's were troubled times. A world-wide economic recession impacted heavily on the province's t r a d i t i o n a l l y "boom or bust" economy. The demand for B.C.'s resources was severly diminished, creating a massive drop in p r o v i n c i a l revenues and an increase in unemployment. At the same time expenditures were ste a d i l y increasing, and taxpayers were becoming apprehensive about the prospect of higher taxes in an already d i f f i c u l t time. In t h i s context, the government embarked upon a policy of f i s c a l r e s t r a i n t . One sector of the province which f e l t the tightening of the purse strings was the education system, and naturally, the teachers within the system. L e g i s l a t i o n such as the Public Sector Restraint Act, the Education Interim Finance Act and B i l l 89 were s p e c i f i c a l l y aimed at the education system. These pieces of l e g i s l a t i o n were designed to control the amount of salary increases awarded by a r b i t r a t i o n awards (the use of a r b i t r a t i o n awards i s a frequent method for determining teacher salary increases when negotiations with the i n d i v i d u a l school d i s t r i c t f a i l to produce an agreement), to set spending levels for l o c a l school d i s t r i c t s , to remove the non-residential tax base from the j u r i s d i c t i o n of the l o c a l authorities, and to have levels of educational service determined by the government. (Horn, 1986). The cumulative r e s u l t of these l e g i s l a t i v e actions was to s h i f t greater control of education to the p r o v i n c i a l Ministry of Education. With r e s t r a i n t , concern about getting value for money increased demands for accountability. Throughout, North America, tests and testing became the norm. B r i t i s h Columbia was no exception and in the early 80's the government r e i n s t i t u t e d P r o v i n c i a l Examinations. In response to public demand for input into the school system, the Minister of Education of that time (Hon. Brian Smith) held a series of meetings in late 1980. He t r a v e l l e d throughout the province, and the results of these meetings were published the following June as the Minister's F a l l Forum. Under the heading of Consumer Fundamentals his report noted that there was a general lack of understanding of many p r a c t i c a l consumer s k i l l s needed for functioning in society and that throughout the province there was concern about th i s lack of consumer s k i l l s . Two points should be made at t h i s time: i t should be remembered that p r i o r to the release of t h i s report i n June 1981, a new course had already been announced; secondly, there i s evidence (Horn, 1986) that the "widespread" concern was based upon a s o l i t a r y b r i e f presented by a single Parent Consultative Committee representing a small-town secondary school. The economic and p o l i t i c a l influences of the time combined to a f f e c t other areas of l i f e in B r i t i s h Columbia. Economic d i f f i c u l t i e s being f e l t by many people lead to a dramatic increase in the default rate of personal loans. Small Claims Court experienced a huge increase in case load. Internal migration from other provinces, and immigration from other countries further compounded the unemployment problem. As well, the B.C. Chamber of Commerce and the Canadian Consumer's Association, and the Office of the Attorney General lobbied the Ministry of Consumer and Corporate A f f a i r s for some solution to the perceived lack of general knowledge of contract, family and employment law. (Horn, 1986). When these macro influences became combined with the strong neo- conservative influence of the Fraser Institute, i t would seem more l i k e l y (as suggested by Horn, 1986) that i t was these macro l e v e l changes of economic and p o l i t i c a l pressure that lead to the creation of the Consumer Education course, rather than the micro l e v e l support of one Parent Consultative Committee. 8 The d i f f e r i n g interests of various stakeholder groups, for example, the Ministry, the developers, the BCTF, and the subject communities created c o n f l i c t and controversy during the course's development phase. The way in which thi s c o n f l i c t and controversy was generated w i l l be presented in the next section. The History of the Consumer Education Course: Schools Department C i r c u l a r #144 stated that a new compulsory course, at that time unnamed, was to be implemented i n September 1982 for either Grade 9 or 10. (Ministry of Education, 1981a). But, by May of 1981, the BCTF (B.C. Teachers' Federation) Spring Representative Assembly passed a motion which opposed the compulsory nature of th i s "new" course. Part of the concern about the compulsory nature stemmed from the fact that the government had mandated the course without p r i o r consultation with the BCTF, and p a r t i a l l y because the Federation f e l t that the ex i s t i n g Consumer Fundamentals 10 course made the new Consumer Education course redundant. The normal procedure for development of a course involved the Ministry of Education requesting from the BCTF a l i s t 9 of teacher's i t proposes for course development. Controversy was again created when the Ministry bypassed the BCTF suggestion of names of teachers who could p o t e n t i a l l y be seconded. Creation of a new compulsory course meant that a variety of subject communities were interested in gaining control of the new c u r r i c u l a r o f f e r i n g . A great deal of t e r r i t o r i a l c o n f l i c t developed between groups who wanted the t e r r i t o r i a l advantage t h i s course would give to t h e i r respective area. Business Education, Home Economics, Indu s t r i a l Education and Social Studies departments were a l l interested in attaining control of the course. The t e r r i t o r i a l i n f i g h t i n g and controversy was ended when Schools Department C i r c u l a r #158 stated, "For administrative purposes, Consumer Education should be assigned where departmental organization exists to business education departments." (Ministry of Education, 1982). However, the i l l feelings which resulted from t h i s t e r r i t o r i a l i n f i g h t i n g s t i l l a f f e c t the course. Another area of concern for the schools d i s t r i c t s and the administrations of the various schools revolved around the problems which were created with the addition of another 10 compulsory course and the corresponding depletion of the ele c t i v e courses. Consumer Education was o r i g i n a l l y conceived of as a Grade 9/10 l e v e l course, but pressure from the d i s t r i c t l e v e l , the P r i n c i p a l s ' and Vice- P r i n c i p a l s ' Association and the School Trustee's resulted in the modification in l e v e l of o f f e r i n g so that the course was now offered at the 11/12 l e v e l as well. This modification caused more c o n f l i c t and controversy when i t became apparent to the BCTF that i t had not been consulted about th i s modification. Importance of the Study: Aside from the t h e o r e t i c a l importance of understanding the way in which macro concerns get reinterpreted at the micro or school l e v e l , t h i s study has p r a c t i c a l importance. Consumer Education i s a course mandated for the students of the province, and i s therefore a course taken by every student within the system. Examination of a course which is compulsory should be undertaken in order to provide an accurate assessment of the course. The Consumer Headlines in Education course i s also a the Vancouver Sun (Dec. 15, t o p i c a l issue. 1987)' proclaimed "Panel told students don't buy consumer-education courses". This was just one of the negative comments about the course made to the Sullivan Royal Commission on Education. The a r t i c l e begins by stating that the ministry's required courses on Consumer Education and Family L i f e are "treated by students as a joke". Further in the same a r t i c l e , Commissioner Barry Sullivan said he's "heard the same complaint about the consumer-education program from one end of the province to the other." The student who appeared before the commission also said the "course was a waste of time", and that the course content was inappropriate for Grade 9 or 10 students. His f i n a l c r i t i c i s m of the course was that i t was "biased, assuming that at heart, we are a l l eager l i t t l e consumers just waiting to go out and spend". Another important reason for doing t h i s study i s that the entire Business Education curriculum i s presently undergoing a process of revi s i o n . Information from t h i s study may provide some guidance for t h i s revision. 12 L i m i t a t i o n s of t h e Study Because information and comments are the re s u l t of interviews conducted only with teachers of the Vancouver School D i s t r i c t , the conclusions cannot be generalized beyond t h i s d i s t r i c t . The data obtained ,for t h i s study resulted from interviews conducted with the 23 respondents. No data was obtained from the 18 non-respondents, and therefore comments and conclusions cannot be generalized to include t h i s group of teachers. Comments r e l a t i n g to the students', parents', administrative and c o l l e g i a l attitudes towards the course were not gained first-hand. The description of t h e i r attitudes are those as interpreted by the teachers. Analysis of the data obtained i n the interviews and subsequent conclusions are the resu l t of the researcher's interpretation of the information. Analysis of the data by another researcher may lead to a d i f f e r e n t interpretation. 13 Organization of the Study: As stated e a r l i e r , the study w i l l address the following questions: 1. What i s the current state of the Consumer Education course in the Vancouver School D i s t r i c t ? In other words, an assessment w i l l be made of the course's routine existence. 2 . What factors or issues contribute to the current state of the course? The f i r s t chapter discussed the problem, and the macro concerns which were re-interpreted at the micro l e v e l as the Consumer Education course. Chapter Two w i l l examine the l i t e r a t u r e related to the problem area. An explanation of the methodology w i l l be presented in Chapter Three. 14 Chapter Four w i l l present information r e l a t i n g to the f i r s t research question: What i s the current state of the Consumer Education course? The information associated with the second research question: the factors or issues which contribute to the current state of Consumer Education, w i l l be discussed in Chapter Five. Chapter Six w i l l present the conclusions and implications of the study. 15 CHAPTER TWO: REVIEW OF THE RELATED LITERATURE Overview: This thesis w i l l examine the reinterpretation of a curriculum innovation as i t has been incorporated into the school system. Reinterpretation and adaptation of a c u r r i c u l a r innovation occurs in two ways. Introduction of a c u r r i c u l a r innovation a f f e c t s the school system into which i t i s introduced. In turn, the school system shapes or adapts the course as i t i s used within the p a r t i c u l a r system and s i t u a t i o n . The l i t e r a t u r e presented in t h i s chapter w i l l review various influences on a new course as i t moves from the macro l e v e l of p r o v i n c i a l p o l i c y into the micro or school l e v e l . The f i r s t section w i l l present l i t e r a t u r e which focuses on the d i f f e r e n t perspectives which a f f e c t any c u r r i c u l a r innovation, of which Consumer Education i s an example. The next section w i l l present l i t e r a t u r e which focuses on the mechanics of actually using the macro developed innovation i n the schools, and w i l l discuss those factors or issues which seem to promote successful c u r r i c u l a r 16 implementations. The t h i r d section w i l l present l i t e r a t u r e which i s s p e c i f i c a l l y focused upon t h i s provinces's Consumer Education course. Many of these studies were done several years ago, and now that the macro p o l i t i c a l pressure which i n i t i a l l y affected the course has subsided, i t i s important and useful to study the routine existence of the course as i t exists today. Section One: Implementation Perspectives The implementation and development of any c u r r i c u l a r innovation r e f l e c t s and reinterprets those macro l e v e l influences which were present during the innovation's implementation and development phases. House (1979) suggested that c u r r i c u l a r innovations can be categorized as being c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of one of three d i f f e r e n t perspectives: technological, p o l i t i c a l , or c u l t u r a l . The technical perspective of c u r r i c u l a r innovation contended that macro development was a technical exercise for the experts. Inclusion of the innovative materials into the micro, or school l e v e l , was perceived of as a r a t i o n a l process whereby the intents of the experts would become the purposes of the teachers. 17 The technological phase was the prominent perspective of the late 1960's. House suggests that the impetus for t h i s perspective came from the shock and surprise of the USSR's Sputnik success. Another macro influence, d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n with the e x i s t i n g educational system, resulted in large scale curriculum projects which were undertaken to promote sciences and mathematics. Technology was viewed as the answer for curing the problems of the school system. The dominant theme of t h i s technological approach to curriculum innovation was the r a t i o n a l sequence or chain of events with a teacher at the end of the chain who was expected to put into practice these Innovations. This technological approach i s often referred to as the RDDA model: Research, Development, Diffus i o n and Adoption. Curricular innovations which res u l t from t h i s technological perspective exhibit a top-down approach to the development and inclusion of new material. They are designed by experts for use in the classroom. Current examples of t h i s technological perspective include the movement towards competency testing and the re- 18 i n s t i t u t i o n of examinations. Minist ry of Education government The second innovation perspective, the p o l i t i c a l , stemmed from the s o c i a l turmoil of the late 1960's and early 70's. Macro l e v e l influences such as the Vietnam War, environmental issues and the budding of consumer awareness impacted upon the education community and transformed the process of curriculum innovation from a technological approach into one characterized by c o n f l i c t and compromise. The developers of curriculum innovations were no longer "experts" but were "interest groups" or "stakeholders" such as teachers, administrators, parents, and the government. Curricular innovations succeeded or were adopted when supported or espoused by one or more strong advocacy groups. Horn (1986) stated that inclusion of the Consumer Education course i s an example of the p o l i t i c a l perspective to innovation. The c o n f l i c t s and compromises involved during the i n i t i a l and early stages of the 19 course's history support his contention that i t i s an example of a p o l i t i c a l innovation. S p e c i f i c instances of c o n f l i c t and compromise w i l l be discussed in a l a t e r section. House (1979) suggested that the t h i r d innovation perspective, the c u l t u r a l , concentrates on the process or how the proposed c u r r i c u l a r innovation i s done or enacted into the system. Innovations which r e f l e c t a c u l t u r a l perspective are characterized by innovations which develop from a dialogue between researcher/developers and the actual users/teachers. This dialogue between developer and user w i l l necessitate adaptation of the innovation during the usage or practice of the innovation. Some studies suggest, however, that change at the school l e v e l i s not easy because schools are stable s o c i a l systems. Work of two researchers indicate that dialogue between developer and user i s not possible within the context of schools' s o c i a l systems: Wolcott (1977) did ethnological studies of schools and concluded that they are self-contained, integrated and in equilibrium. Even when faced with change, the equilibrium or s t a b i l i t y of the system w i l l p r e v a i l . 20 Another researcher, L o r t i e (1975) suggested that teaching i s a conservative occupation. Teachers' b e l i e f systems are dominated by conservatism, individualism and presentism. Such b e l i e f s indicate that the subculture of teachers i s not c o l l e g i a l and that e f f o r t s to promote c o l l e g i a l i t y w i l l f a i l . It also seems l i k e l y that the- c u l t u r a l perspective of c u r r i c u l a r innovation would face d i f f i c u l t i e s as a re s u l t of these b e l i e f systems. b) Factors which contribute to the Successful Adoption of a Curricular Innovation: Much of the focus of research on innovations has been concerned with the mechanics of getting a new innovation into the micro or school l e v e l with minimum a l t e r a t i o n and adaptation from the o r i g i n a l macro l e v e l p o l i c i e s and intents. The focus of t h i s research has been on factors to which managers of innovations should attend in order to have 'successful innovations'. The l i t e r a t u r e which addresses these factors w i l l be presented in t h i s section. 2 1 C u r r i c u J a r O r i e n t a t i o n s : Fullan and Pomfret (1977) suggest that l i t e r a t u r e and research on implementation tend to display one of two main orientations: a f i d e l i t y orientation which determines the extent to which the actual use of the innovation corresponds to the intended or planned use; or a mutual adaptation orientation which analyzes the complexities of the change process i t s e l f . Other researchers suggest that implementation l i t e r a t u r e and approaches display somewhat d i f f e r e n t orientations. Leithwood and Montgomery (1987) suggest that the two main orientations to c u r r i c u l u r innovations are the l a i s s e z - f a i r e attitude and the adaptation orientation. The l a i s s e z - f a i r e attitude i s characterized by suggesting that the innovation i t s e l f need not be developed beyond a rudimentary l e v e l before actual use (p.15). Proponents of th i s approach believe that the shape (or shapes) of the innovation w i l l develop during and as i t i s used: outcomes cannot be predetermined. The philosophical premise of' t h i s approach i s based on the professional autonomy of the teacher-implementor. Even though there i s much to be said 22 in defense of t h i s approach, i t approximates what has been happening in schools, and as Leithwood and Montgomery (1987) comment, i t s lack of success i s also well documented. The second orientation, the "adaptation" approach i s any systematic adoption of new c u r r i c u l a r materials. As Leithwood and Montgomery state, proponents of th i s approach "see value in beginning with a well-defined innovation, including a clear description of f u l l adoption (p. 15). Successful innovation depends on the innovation being adapted, or molded, or customized to " f i t " the p a r t i c u l a r s i t u a t i o n . More recent work from Leithwood and Montgomery (1987) offers another approach to the adoption of new material: the f i d e l i t y approach which dismisses practices "deviating in any way from what i s sp e c i f i e d as f u l l implementation". (p.15) They do state that "this i s a straw-man alternative, without any serious advocates in practice. Certainly, no innovation developer could f u l l y prescribe those practices in which a teacher actually engages..." (P. 16). 23 The philosophical problem concerning the degree of interpretation: how much i s b e n e f i c i a l or desirable, i s another factor which enters the discussion of c u r r i c u l a r innovations. Curricular innovations are designs for change, and are often very achievement-oriented. Goals and sequences are frequently mentioned, and i t i s the intention of the developer to have the teacher- p r a c t i t i o n e r use the programme as clo s e l y as possible to t h i s design: teachers are expected to follow a plan. The Consumer Education course i s an example of t h i s . It was s p e c i f i c a l l y designed so that any teacher could pick up the Resource Guide and f i n d prepackaged lessons and assignments. This ease of r e p l i c a t i o n reduces teachers' preparation time, but i t also contributes to teachers' loss of control over what i s done in the classroom. If merely following a developer's plan, then teachers more close l y approximate unthinking robots. While i t i s recognized that absolute f i d e l i t y i s not possible nor desirable, there i s a presumption that teachers should be encouraged to incorporate as much of the new material as possible. Much of the l i t e r a t u r e focuses on factors or strategies which w i l l f a c i l i t a t e a "successful" implementation. The next section w i l l present l i t e r a t u r e which focuses upon those factors which should be taken into account to encourage successful implementation of a c u r r i c u l a r innovation. Contributing Factors; As some theorists state, (Fullan, 1979) because the problems involved with the inclusions of c u r r i c u l a r innovations cannot be e n t i r e l y resolved by following a set of procedures, i t may be more desirable to derive guidelines which would i d e n t i f y those factors which should be considered when the adoption of a c u r r i c u l a r innovation i s being undertaken. I d e n t i f i c a t i o n of these factors may then contribute to the successful adoption of the c u r r i c u l a r material. Various researchers have addressed th i s notion of factors which contribute to the successful adoption of c u r r i c u l a r innovations. Gross, Giaquinta, and Bernstein (1975) i d e n t i f i e d f i v e b a r r i e r s : (a) most teachers did not have a clear image of 25 the role performance the innovation expected, (b) teachers often, lacked the s k i l l s or knowledge to perform the new roles, (c) shortages of equipment and i n s t r u c t i o n a l materials, (d) organizational conditions that were incongruent with the innovation, and (e) the negative or non-supportive attitude of administrators for the innovation. Much of the implementation l i t e r a t u r e i s based on the premise that teachers should change so as to incorporate as many curricular-innovations as possible, because there i s benefit in a l l of the innovations. It i s assumed that teachers should not only be a c t i v e l y incorporating new c u r r i c u l a r material into t h e i r p a r t i c u l a r teaching s i t u a t i o n , but also that once teachers understand what the innovation i s a l l about, that they w i l l make the necessary changes. It should not be forgotten that even i f teachers understand the innovation, have received in-service t r a i n i n g , or support from the administrators, they may s t i l l choose not to use the material. Individual teachers may reject the suggestions of the "outside" experts and choose to re-interpret the innovation to f i t t h e i r p a r t i c u l a r micro or school l e v e l s i t u a t i o n . 26 Some research has examined factors which are p a r t i c u l a r to the beginning or i n i t i a l phases of an implementation, while other studies have examined factors which are pa r t i c u l a r to the subsequent phases of the implementation. Fullan & Pomfret (1977), in an extensive review of l i t e r a t u r e i d e n t i f i e d various factors which generally a f f e c t adoption of c u r r i c u l a r innovations during the i n i t i a l phases of i t s implementation. They suggested that these could be organized into four broad categories: 1. Charac t e r i s t i c s of the innovation: e x p l i c i t n e s s - what? who? when? how?, and complexity. 2. Strategies and methods (in-service t r a i n i n g , resource support, feedback mechanisms, p a r t i c i p a t i o n ) . 3. Characteristics of the adopting unit (adoption process, organizational climate, environmental support, demographic fa c t o r s ) . 4. Characteristics of p o l i t i c a l organizations outside the adopting units, incentive system, role of evaluation, p o l i t i c a l complexity, (pp. 367-386). Curricular innovations are also subject to problems 27 encountered af t e r the i n i t i a l phases of use of the innovation, during the continuation phase of the innovation. Studies which focused on the second phase of an innovation are as follows. Fullan (1979) i d e n t i f i e d f i v e components which i f put into practive would a s s i s t the actual i n s t i t u t i o n a l i z i n g or continuation of an innovation: these components w i l l indicate i f a group of teachers i s actually p r a c t i c i n g and using an innovation. The f i v e components are: 1. Structure/organization 2. Materials 3. Role/behaviour 4. Knowledge/understanding 5. Internalization (Commitment) The f i r s t two components are concerning "things" while the l a s t three are concerned about the "people" dimension. Component 1 refers to examination of the structures within the organization and determining i f anything has changed about th i s structure. For example, i s team teaching occuring where t h i s was formerly not the case? Are the students being organized in a d i f f e r e n t / a l t e r n a t e fashion? 28 Component d i f f e r e n t 2 addresses the materials being used: from the materials formerly used? Are they Both components 1 and 2 are readily measured, whereas the f i n a l three components are much more d i f f i c u l t to implement or plan for. The t h i r d component refers to the observable behaviour changes that are in evidence: either behaviour changes such as a change in teaching strategy, or a behaviour change in an area such as methods of dealing with other people. Component 4 i s concerned with determining i f the teacher knows and understands the philosophy, assumptions, goals and means of the innovation. The f i f t h component attempts to determine the teacher's l e v e l of commitment but only aft e r the innovation has been in use for a period of time. I n i t i a l enthusiasm or skepticism may have waned, and thus a more accurate assessment i s possible. 29 Other research discussed factors which a f f e c t the entire process of innovation, not just the i n i t i a l or continuation phases. Fullan delineated (1979) nine factors which he suggests are "...factors which seem to be universally present in situations of attempted educational change." (p. 44) These nine factors are as follows: 1. The f i r s t factor i s termed "pre-history". Summarized, thi s refers to the tendancy of teachers to become more cynic a l and skeptical about curriculum innovations i f previous experiences were negative, regardless of the quality of the new programme. This theme i s attributed to Seymour Sarason The Culture of the School (Allyn and Bacon, 1971). 2. This factor states the need for clear d e f i n i t i o n of the content changes which w i l l occur, and with clear and separately defined role changes which w i l l also r e s u l t . Too often the two, the content changes and the role changes, are mixed up together. These two d i s t i n c t e n t i t i t i e s should be dealt with as such. 30 3. Factor 3 emphasizes the need to c l e a r l y state the objectives of the innovation, and not confuse these objectives with the "means" of the innovation. 4. The fourth factor i s in-service t r a i n i n g , not only before but more importantly, a f t e r usage of the new material. 5. The necessity of small group meetings for mutual interaction i s the f i f t h factor. Teachers should get together to discuss what i s happening. 6. The sixth factor relates to the importance of l o c a l adaptations of materials. Strategies which anticipate and promote further development of materials take advantage of the expertise of the teacher/user. 7. The role of and need for administrative support i s the essence of the seventh factor. This support should be to not only provide resources and approval, but to ensure that the other eight factors are being addressed. 31 The l a s t two factors deal with the time frame: Factor 8 i s concerned with the fact that considering a l l the changes inherent, a teacher can readi l y become overloaded with a l l of the expectations. This overload factor could be dealt with i f the time-frame, factor 9, were more r e a l i s t i c : longer. Influences inherent in the School Community: U n t i l recently, the research and l i t e r a t u r e surrounding c u r r i c u l a r innovations focused on the mechanics involved in the process of placing new c u r r i c u l a r material into operation. More recent l i t e r a t u r e has changed i t s focus from the mechanics, to an investigation of the influences and varie interests present in a school community which shape any piece of c u r r i c u l a r material: new or old. This recent l i t e r a t u r e i d e n t i f i e s factors such as c o n f l i c t over t e r r i t o r y , c o n f l i c t over status, c o n f l i c t over control, and the necessity for creation of a subject-area constituency. 32 Goodson (1987) argues that "much of the curriculum debate can be interpreted i n terms of c o n f l i c t between subjects over status, resources and t e r r i t o r y . " (p.3) Research and l i t e r a t u r e which illuminates these school culture c o n f l i c t s w i l l be addressed in the following section. a ) C o n f l i c t over T e r r i t o r y : Goodson (1983) indicates the presence of t e r r i t o r i a l c o n f l i c t in t h i s comment: "Curriculum c o n f l i c t takes place against a changing background both in terms of the educational system and the broader f a b r i c of the national economy". (p. 38) Macro l e v e l changes influence the micro l e v e l : the school. Macro l e v e l influences stemming from the p o l i t i c a l climate of B r i t i s h Columbia during the early 1980's influenced what happened to the educational system: r e i n s t i t u t i o n of an increased l e v e l of governmental control, and creation and in s e r t i o n of new courses such as Consumer Education. Horn (1986) suggested that the insertion of Consumer 33 Education into the ex i s t i n g secondary school curriculum was a p o l i t i c a l decision, and was characterized by c o n f l i c t and compromise between various "interest groups". Two examples of the c o n f l i c t and compromise were evident in the case of Consumer Education, the f i r s t being concerned about t e r r i t o r y , and the second about stakeholder c o n f l i c t . When Consumer Education was mandated as a compulsory course, i t was also recognized that whichever subject group snared Consumer Education was going to have a large t e r r i t o r i a l addition to i t s subject-area umbrella. School D i s t r i c t C i r c u l a r #158 assigned the course to the Business Education departments wherever these departments were in place, and yet, t e r r i t o r i a l jockeying for the course continued between the Business Educators, the Home Economists, Social Studies and Mathematics departments. (Horn, 1986). More recently the focus of the l i t e r a t u r e has been understanding the varied interests of the school community and the way i n which these varied interests have caused reinterpretation and adaptation of the o r i g i n a l innovation. One factor which has been i d e n t i f i e d as 34 influencing the shape given to c u r r i c u l a r material i s the c o n f l i c t or debate over the status of the course. "Status" refers to the perceived importance or value of the course. b ) C o n f l i c t over Status: In his book, School Subjects and Curriculum Change, (1987) Goodson identifies- three t r a d i t i o n s or d i s t i n c t i o n s within school subjects: u t i l i t a r i a n , pedagogic, and academic. U t i l i t a r i a n knowldge i s " p r a c t i c a l . . . related to non- professional vocations ....which i s personal and commonsense". Pedagogic knowledge deals with the science of teaching and academic knowledge i s "content-focused and t y p i c a l l y stresses abstract and t h e o r e t i c a l knowledge." (Goodson, 1983, P.27) He hypothesizes that the type of knowledge a school subject r e f l e c t s w i l l greatly influence i t s status and resource a l l o c a t i o n s . He argues that cer t a i n subjects are high in status while other school subjects can be considered low in status. High status subjects are those which have formed the powerful " t r i p l e a l l i a n c e " : academic subjects, external examinations and able students" (Goodson, 1987, p. 192). 35 His book traces the e f f o r t s of proponents of subjects such as geography, biology and environmental studies to elevate t h e i r subject to higher status positions within the school system. Elevation to a higher status p o s i t i o n meant that teachers of these subjects would benefit in terms of resources and career prospects. Biology and Geography were successful in promoting an academic t r a d i t i o n because of support from powerful school and university subject groups, and thus elevated the status to a higher l e v e l . Environmental studies was not successful in establishing i t s e l f as an examinable subject because of resistance from the biology and geography subject communities who f e l t t h e i r subject t e r r i t o r y would be threatened by the new subject. Goodson argues that the patterns present in the school system are most often created by "considerations of teachers' material s e l f - i n t e r e s t i n t h e i r working l i v e s " . (1987, p.193) Goodson comments on the "well-established connections" which exi s t between the high-status subjects and patterns of resource a l l o c a t i o n and the associated "work and career prospects these ensure". (1987, p.193) In other words, t e r r i t o r i a l defense of a high status 36 position w i l l take precedence over i n t e l l e c t u a l and philosophical considerations about the value of new c u r r i c u l a r courses: Consumer Education. c) Creation of a sub.iect-area constituency: Other researchers have concentrated on the factors which promote " i n s t i t u t i o n a l i z a t i o n " , a term coined by Miles (1983) to define the degree to which an innovation has become ingrained into the system over a period of time. K i r s t and Meister (1985) simply refer to continuation of a c u r r i c u l a r innovation as " l a s t i n g " . Since i t s inception, one major area of c o n f l i c t concerning the Consumer Education course was s t a f f i n g of the course. Because the course was mandated as a compulsory graduation requirement, every student would have to take the course and pass i t i n order to graduate. Mandating the course as compulsory created the necessity for teachers to teach the course. Enrollment in e l e c t i v e courses was declining, and i t was from these courses that teachers were re-assigned. The comprehensive secondary school i s comprised of various subject communities that are " s h i f t i n g sets of sub-groups, 37 d e l i c a t e l y held together under a common name at p a r t i c u l a r periods in history'". (Goodson, 1987. p. 184) Examples of subject area communities or constituencies: amalgamation of several groups into one organization to further t h e i r perceived common interest (Reid, 1985) would be Physical Educators, Social Studies teachers or English teachers. The importance of these subject constituencies i s documented by K i r s t and Meister (1985). Their a r t i c l e "Which reforms l a s t ? " states that i n s i t u t i o n a l i z a t i o n , or las t i n g , of a c u r r i c u l a r innovation depends upon three c r u c i a l a t t r i b u t e s : creation of new structures, powerful constituencies and easil y - a c c e s s i b l e evidence of compliance. The f i r s t a t t r i b u t e refers to the necessary creation of new organizational structures and new levels of specialized personnel to oversee and f a c i l i t a t e the actual functioning of the new material. Example of new levels of special i z e d personnel are ESL teachers or French Immersion teachers. The second c r u c i a l a t t r i b u t e , creation of subject constituencies, follows the f i r s t a t t r i b u t e : ESL teachers 38 have become a d i s t i n c t professional power base interested in maintaining t h e i r p a r t i c u l a r subject-area. The t h i r d c r u c i a l a t t r i b u t e i s the necessity for easy evidence of compliance so that the effectiveness of the innovation can be determined. The continuation phase of Consumer Education has not experienced the development of any of these three attributes. New c u r r i c u l a r innovations are affected by the culture of schools, and by constraints placed upon the school system by outside agencies. As has been noted e a r l i e r , school cultures tend to maintain the status quo. Wolcott (1977) and Lortie (1975) c l a s s i f i e d schools as stable, conservative communities resistant to change; Fullan (1982) contends that teachers adapt or modify c u r r i c u l a r innovations which they use; and Common (1983) comments that "teachers choose to maintain the way of l i f e in classrooms they f i n d desireable (p..44). The effects of external constraints upon the school 39 system, and therefore the subjects within the system, was the focus of research done by Fleming (1985) and Reid (1983). Fleming states that reactions to mandated p o l i c i e s are as much generated by how the p o l i c i e s are handed down, as by the actual nature of the p o l i c i e s themselves. Reid notes that the external constraints placed by the u n i v e r s i t i e s upon the school system cause some subjects to be considered acceptable for university entrance, while other subjects are not. He contends that such pressure may not be in the best interests of the school system i f one considers that p h i l o s o p h i c a l l y , the function of the school system i s to educate u n i v e r s a l l y , and not just the g i f t e d few. This external pressure upon the school system i s another example of how macro l e v e l influences affect the micro, or school l e v e l interpretation of c u r r i c u l a r material. Existing studies which focus s p e c i f i c a l l y upon the Consumer Education course w i l l be presented next. Four reports are s p e c i f i c a l l y related to the Consumer Education course. These w i l l be dealt with in chronological order. 4 0 a) Submission from the Vancouver School D i s t r i c t to the Minister of Education. Hon. Brian Smith: Even before the course was developed, the Vancouver School Board was concerned about i t s impact on the school system. In June of 1981, a report on Consumer Education 9/10 was presented by the Board of School Trustees, School D i s t r i c t No. 39 (Vancouver). The report made these comments: 1. Introduction of the course w i l l severely l i m i t e l e c t i v e options for students. 2. The li m i t a t i o n s w i l l be f e l t most heavily in the Fine Arts e l e c t i v e area. 3. Compulsory introduction of the course w i l l be phil o s o p h i c a l l y contrary to the contention that Grades 9 and 10 are exploratory in nature. 4. Introduction of the course w i l l require re-assignments of teachers into a f i e l d for which they are not necessarily trained. 41 In order to minimize these anticipated problems the report made the suggestion that Consumer Education be taught in one of two ways in order not to destroy the e l e c t i v e s . t o which students now have access, (p.2) It recommended either assigning appropriate units into e x i s t i n g prescribed courses, or taking prescribed units of Consumer Education over the period of t h e i r secondary schooling: students would be required to show completion of these units before graduate standing would be granted. Neither of these suggestions was accepted by the Ministry. b) ERIBC Report No. 82:14 P r i o r to development of a senior l e v e l course, but a f t e r the f i r s t year Consumer Education 9/10 had been completed, the ERIBC conducted a survey of Lower Mainland teachers and administrators. The results of t h i s survey should be interpreted with two factors in mind: the course had only been 'in operation' for the single year, and the course had been mandated in an era marked by p o l i t i c a l and t e r r i t o r i a l skirmishes. 42 The survey results provided several i n t e r e s t i n g conclusions: the respondents, a random cl u s t e r sample, polled a 55.8% negative response to Consumer Education being a compulsory course; 54.9% favoured an i n t e r d i s c i p l i n a r y approach to teaching the course; and there was general support for teaching Consumer Education in Grade 12 as opposed to Grade 10. However, there were a great many undecided responses. (Dallas, ERIBC 82:14) c) Report on the Impact of Consumer Education Courses in Vancouver Schools During 1982-83: This report by Kettle and McCreary, col l e c t e d data from 28 Vancouver Consumer Education 9/10 classes in order to determine the number of students by grade enrolled in the Consumer Education 9/10 course, student expectations of the course and whether these were met, teacher attitudes to the course, evaluation of the text and other resource materials and plans for the impending incl u s i o n of Consumer Education 12. The survey determined that most students (47%) took the course because i t was compulsory, and 18% of the grade 9 43 students took i t at the e a r l i e s t possible time so they would not have to take i t in Grade 10-12 when more 6tudy time i s required. When asked "Have you been learning the kinds of things you wanted to learn in the course?", the large majority of students (78%) responded a f f i r m a t i v e l y to t h i s question. Students also perceived the course to be useful: 85% said i t contained information useful to them as consumers, while 75% said i t gave them a chance to learn s k i l l s useful in l i f e . The report also determined that enrollment in Consumer Education had resulted in a noticeable decline in the following e l e c t i v e areas: Home Economics, Art, and Ind u s t r i a l Education. d) Report on The Implementation of Consumer Education in the Province of B r i t i s h Columbia: June 1983 In June 1983, a report on Consumer Education and conducted by Este was issued which summarized a questionnaire completed by 57 of 74 p r o v i n c i a l school d i s t r i c t s to determine current and anticipated e f f e c t s of the phased 44 inclusion of the Consumer Education course and in pa r t i c u l a r , i t s a f f e c t on e l e c t i v e course offerings. The report reached a number of conclusions. More than half of the d i s t r i c t s considered s t a f f i n g of the course to be adequate. About 10% of the d i s t r i c t s anticipated s t a f f transfers would be necessitated. Over 40% of the d i s t r i c t s indicated professional development would not be provided. Most d i s t r i c t s (73%) f e l t the addition of Consumer Education was not a posit i v e addition to the secondary- school curriculum. The e l e c t i v e courses being affected by the addition of Consumer Education in order of reductions were Art, Drama, Music and Ind u s t r i a l Education. Summary of Reports on Consumer Education; These four reports indicate there was i n i t i a l concern over the impact the course would have on the ex i s t i n g secondary curriculum, in p a r t i c u l a r upon the e l e c t i v e areas. In order to lessen the negative impact Consumer Education 45 would have upon e l e c t i v e subjects, i t was suggested that content areas be prescribed as units which could be incorporated into e x i s t i n g subjects, or as units which could be taken whenever convenient during the students' secondary school curriculum. The survey conducted in 1982 indicated more than 50% of respondents did not favour Consumer Education as being a compulsory course. Kettle and McCreary's 1983 report which showed 78% of students responded p o s i t i v e l y about the effectiveness of the course indicates the course received i n i t i a l favourable feedback from the students. This report also indicated that e l e c t i v e areas were experiencing a drop in enrollment which could be attributed to the inclusion of the Consumer Education course as a graduation requirement. Este's report in 1983 concluded that throughout the province, d i s t r i c t l e v e l support for the course was not strong. Over 40% of the 74 p r o v i n c i a l d i s t r i c t s did not provide professional development and 73% of the d i s t r i c t s f e l t the addition of Consumer Education was not a p o s i t i v e addition to the secondary school curriculum. 46 It can be concluded from these reports that the Consumer Education course was introduced into a school system which was not favourably disposed to the addition of t h i s new course. Summation: Although several studies have examined B r i t i s h Columbia's Consumer Education course, a l l of these were conducted during the i n i t i a l stages of the courses's operation. The course has now been in operation since 1982, but there have been no recent studies directed towards examination of t h i s course. This study w i l l continue the examination of the course, but w i l l focus on the routine, or day-to-day operation of the course as i t exists today. It w i l l seek an understanding of how the macro educational p o l i c i e s which i n i t i a l l y created the course-as-planned have been re- interpreted into the actual course-as-practiced at the micro, or school l e v e l . 47 CHAPTER 3: METHODOLOGY Introduction: The primary aim of th i s study was to answer two questions: what i s the current state of the Consumer Education course-as-practiced in the Vancouver secondary system, and secondly, to explore factors f e l t by the respondents which influence t h i s current s i t u a t i o n . Examination of what has happened with the course offers an example of how innovations r e s u l t i n g from macro le v e l influences can be reinterpreted in schools at the micro l e v e l . An analysis of the current s i t u a t i o n regarding the Consumer Education course was f e l t necessary to o f f e r suggestions to the Ministry of Education and i n p a r t i c u l a r to the entire Business Education curriculum which i s now undergoing a process of review and revi s i o n . In order to investigate these two problems, interviews were conducted with 23 Vancouver secondary Consumer Education teachers in order to gather pertinent information which would attempt to present a comprehensive picture of the current state of the Consumer Education course. 48 This chapter w i l l discuss the reasons for employing interviews for data c o l l e c t i o n , describe the development of the interview guide and i t s subsequent p i l o t i n g and revision, discuss selection of the sample, and the techniques used for interpreting the data. Rationale for Using an Interview: Using an interview permitted probing questions to be inserted when respondents hinted or mentioned an inte r e s t i n g point or whenever another "side" issue was raised. Such a degree of f l e x i b i l i t y or adaptability would not have been possible with a questionnaire. The main advantage of the interview i s i t s adaptability and f l e x i b i l i t y . Because of t h i s adaptability, more i n - depth probing can also be made to obtain controversial responses. Whereas questionnaires are subject to respondents' interpretations of what they think the question i s asking, 49 with the f l e x i b i l i t y of the interview, any misinterpreted or misunderstood questions can be e a s i l y c l a r i f i e d . There i s less answer d i s t o r t i o n with use of the interview. Use of an interview makes i t possible for the interviewer to c l a r i f y and question unclear comments made by the respondent. (Borg and G a l l , 1983) Another major advantage of an interview i s that the human interaction inherent with t h i s technique tends to increase the rate of response. Many respondents are more w i l l i n g to p a r t i c i p a t e in a face-to-face s i t u a t i o n than in a si t u a t i o n where they are simply replying to what i s often regarded as 'just another questionnaire". Body language, intonation and the nuances.of the spoken language come al i v e and become apparent in an interview s i t u a t i o n . Much of t h i s important "hidden" information would be l o s t i f an alte r n a t i v e data c o l l e c t i o n method had been used. Perhaps the main disadvantage of using an interview for c o l l e c t i n g data i s the amount of time that can be involved. An interview guide or format was developed to provide d i r e c t i o n and focus to the interview and reduce unnecessary expenditure of time. 50 Types of Interviews: Interviews range in type from being e n t i r e l y structured, through being semi-structured or to being e n t i r e l y unstructured. Structured interviews are those which do not permit any deviation from those questions given to and used by the interviewer. An example of t h i s type of interview would be those done by census takers. Unstructured interviews are those commonly used in psychoanalysis: the interview or therapy session ranges into whatever issue or thought i s raised by the person receiving therapy. Semi-structured interviews f a l l somewhere in between these two extremes. Semi-structured interviews encourage more in-depth answers and probing of underlying issues than questionnaires or structured interviews while not becoming overly rambling and seemingly d i s j o i n t e d : there i s a d e f i n i t e d i r e c t i o n , but i t i s not r e s t r i c t e d unduly by the questions selected for the interview guide. For the purpose of t h i s study, semi-structured interview techniques were employed. 51 Development of the Interview Guide a)Reducing Response E f f e c t s : In order to a t t a i n the best possible r e s u l t s , i t i s necessary for the researcher to reduce response e f f e c t s , defined by Borg and G a l l as "the tendency of the respondent to give inaccurate or incorrect responses, or more prec i s e l y i s the difference between the answer given by the respondent and the true answer." (1983, p. 438) In trying to reduce the errors caused by the predispositions of the respondent, in other words, the respondent bias, the interview guide was designed to lessen potential sources of error such as being suspicious or h o s t i l e , being i n d i f f e r e n t , being unable to answer the question, or desiring to present himself/herself favourably to the interviewer. A second source of potential bias emanates from the researcher or interviewer. Problems such as being uncomfortable, allowing one's own opinions to influence what i s being said or heard, i n a b i l i t y to est a b l i s h a rapport with the respondent, or allowing stereotypes of people to 52 predispose the researcher to act in a way which w i l l influence the interview r e s u l t s . A l l of these factors act as deterrents to attaining the roost accurate information. (Borg and G a l l , 1983) The questions to be asked during the course of the interview began with personal information in an attempt to place the respondent at ease, and concluded with the opinions and feelings of the respondents. A l l of the information asked for was that which a l l teachers of Consumer Education would have knowledge. In other words, no spec i a l i z e d knowledge was required as a l l questions dealt with the respondents' personal teaching s i t u a t i o n . b) The Interview Guide: The interview guide was developed to determine Consumer Education's current or present state within the Vancouver Secondary School system, and to the reasons for the current s i t u a t i o n . Questions were designed to allow teachers to respond e a s i l y and completely to the probe. Other than the questions requesting demographic information, or those questions requesting a numerical 53 r a t i n g , most were designed to be as open-ended as possible. It was the intention of the researcher to create an atmosphere which would be conducive to having the respondent answer as completely and honestly as possible. In other words, the interview guide was developed for use in the semi-structured interview in order to provide consistency in the d i r e c t i o n of the individual interview while s t i l l permitting probing and c l a r i f i c a t i o n where necessary. The interview guide which was developed and used i s included as Appendix A. As stated e a r l i e r , the interview guide was designed to enable the respondents to reply to each question with as much information as desired. It was also designed so that each interview would have a consistent d i r e c t i o n and intention. Question-probes were organised and numbered so as to f a c i l i t a t e data c o l l e c t i o n and analysis. The organization of the sections was as follows: Section One questions e l i c i t e d demographic and personal information about each respondent, and provided a comfortable s t a r t i n g point for the interview. Section two questions dealt with the respondent's p a r t i c u l a r teaching 54 s i t u a t i o n . Section 3 questions were concerned with the resources and sources of information which the teacher- p r a c t i t i o n e r s were using. A rating of the prescribed textbook and reasons for th i s rating were also included in thi s section. The fourth section centred on the actual curriculum units each person was teaching; i e . what units were being covered, the ordering of the units, the emphases, reasons for these p a r t i c u l a r emphases, non- inclusion of prescribed units, reasons for non-inclusion. Where possible the teacher's unit plan (yearly plan) was requested, and these have been included as Appendix C. Section 5 questions were concerned with grading procedures - how grades are assigned, year end exams, consistency of grading between the various teachers of the course within the p a r t i c u l a r school. Section 6 question probes were designed to e l i c i t teacher's viewpoints about whether the Consumer Education course should continue as a compulsory graduation requirement. Reasons supporting each person's viewpoint were probed. The questions in section seven were included to discern stakeholders' attitudes about the course, as well as administrative levels of support for the course. The f i n a l section of the interview was designed to gain teachers' ideas about how the course 5 5 could in general be improved. P i l o t i n g the Interview Guide: In order to reduce researcher bias and determine areas of potential d i f f i c u l t y , several p i l o t interviews were held to "dry run" the questions. Three p i l o t interviews were done with teachers of Consumer Education who were from another school d i s t r i c t . During the p i l o t interviews, these respondents were s p e c i f i c a l l y instructed to i d e n t i f y any questions or areas which appeared to be "fuzzy": needing rephrasing or redrafting. For example, during the p i l o t sessions i t was apparent that the questions r e l a t i n g to the topics being taught were o r i g i n a l l y too general, and needed to be rephrased so that more s p e c i f i c information could be obtained. When the f i n a l form of the interview guide had evolved, these questions were then p a r t i a l l y memorized to f a c i l i t a t e ease of delivery and esta b l i s h an aura of professionalism and continuity to the questioning and interviewing. 56 S e l e c t i o n of the Sample: a)Identifying the Target Population: The experimentally accessible population for t h i s study would have included a l l secondary teachers in the Vancouver School system. For purposes of t h i s study, the target population was defined as those teachers teaching in the "regular" school system who had taught Consumer Education at the 9/10 l e v e l , the 12 l e v e l or both, during the school year 1987-88. This amounted to a t o t a l accessible population of 41 teachers who were i d e n t i f i e d during a Department Head meeting June 13, 1988. At t h i s meeting, the D i s t r i c t P r i n c i p a l for Business Education, Mr. Bob Peacock requested that each Department Head l i s t a l l current teachers of Consumer Education. Each Department Head also i d e n t i f i e d those teachers who taught the greatest load of Consumer Education at t h e i r p a r t i c u l a r school, those who had taught the course for at least three years, and those teachers who were teaching Consumer Education for the f i r s t time during school year 1987-88. 57 From the l i s t s compiled during the meeting June 13, 1988, a target population of 32 teachers was i d e n t i f i e d . From the t o t a l population of 41 teachers, the target population was chosen based on the respondent f u l f i l l i n g one of the following c r i t e r i a : a) 3 or more years experience teaching CE courses; or b) teachers in i n i t i a l teaching year with CE course; or c) teacher with greatest number of teaching block of CE in a p a r t i c u l a r school community; d) at least one respondent per secondary school. A target population of 32 teachers was i d e n t i f i e d . Each of these teachers was sent a personally signed l e t t e r o u t l i n i n g the intent of the study and requesting approximately an hour of t h e i r time at t h e i r convenience, to discuss the Consumer Education course. Several days aft e r the delivery of these l e t t e r s of transmittal, an attempt was made to personally contact each prospective respondent by telephone in order to arrange for a suitable interview time. Where necessary, additional attempts were made to reach the prospective respondent, and telephone messages were l e f t for those not contacted. 58 b) The Sample Population From the target population of 32 teachers, 24 teachers were w i l l i n g to p a r t i c i p a t e . In t o t a l , 23 interviews were held because one person withdrew for health reasons. At least one teacher was interviewed from each of the 18 Vancouver schools. Two teachers from Mini School programmes were interviewed over the telephone. Their comments have been included, but i t should be noted that these teachers were not from the o r i g i n a l target population. Teachers from the numerous alternative programmes, e.g. Bridge, were not included in the target population. Procedure for Interviewing: The interviews were conducted during the f i n a l two weeks of the 1987-88 school year. This year-end time was selected as the optimum time for two main reasons: a v a i l a b i l i t y of time, and recent completion of the Consumer Education course. In the f i r s t place, there was time available both for the respondents and for the researcher because regular teaching r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s were 59 finished and exam supervision had become the major a c t i v i t y . The second factor which made the year end the most appropriate time for conducting t h i s research was that because the teaching year had been recently concluded, the issues and opinions were s t i l l "fresh" in the respondents' minds. A l l of the interviews were held at the respondents' school, in a place chosen by the respondent. In most instances t h i s was the teacher's own room, but i n a few cases i t was the s t a f f room. The respondents selected the location of the interview so as to promote t h e i r comfort and ease. The time chosen for the interview was usually suggested by the respondent and wherever possible and convenient, t h i s was the time agreed upon by the researcher. Most of the interviews took approximately one hour, although several exceeded t h i s time frame. On average, three interviews were conducted each day so as to allow for t r a v e l l i n g time, and to permit longer interviews whenever these occured. A l l of the interviews were tape recorded with the knowledge and consent of the respondent having been given. 60 An interview began when the respondent indicated he or she was ready to begin. In none of the sit u a t i o n s was the interview terminated at the respondent's request. In every s i t u a t i o n , the respondents answered a l l questions directed to them. Data Ana l y s i s - - A l l of the interviews were tape recorded and then transcribed verbatim. Both the tape recordings and transcriptions are available for corroboration, but have not a l l been included in the Appendices due to the amount of material which has been generated. Immediately following the interview guide i s one of the transcribed interviews which i s included with the respondent's permi ion as Appendix B. At the end of each day's interviews, the tapes were listened to for two reasons. The f i r s t reason was to determine i f there were any d i f f i c u l t i e s or " f l a t " spots developing in the interview so that these could be corrected wherever possible p r i o r to the next day. The second reason for l i s t e n i n g to these taped interviews was 61 to "key i n " on those areas which the respondents emphasized: where t h e i r voices and intonation indicated t h i s or that was of p a r t i c u l a r i n t e r e s t or importance, or where they i d e n t i f i e d those factors which contributed to the state of the Consumer Education course. Those issues and comments which the respondents emphasized were noted and l a t e r c o l l a t e d . Several weeks l a t e r , a f t e r a l l of the interviews were concluded, a l l of the tapes were again played for a second time. Those issues and themes which teachers i d e n t i f i e d as being important contributors to the current s i t u a t i o n of Consumer Education were again noted and c o l l a t e d to double-check that important issues and themes had been i d e n t i f i e d . A l l tapes were then sent for verbatim t r a n s c r i p t i o n . In order to ensure the c o n f i d e n t i a l i t y of the respondents, the teacher/respondent was not i d e n t i f i e d on tape, nor was the p a r t i c u l a r school. A l l of the interviews were assigned a number, and the i d e n t i f y i n g key was kept separately from the audio tapes. 62 After the t r a n s c r i p t i o n , a l l of the tra n s c r i p t s were examined and the comments and numerical information were organized according to the question from the interview guide, or colla t e d with those issues or matters of interest which had been i d e n t i f i e d from l i s t e n i n g to the taped interviews. With some of the interviews, the order of the questioning did not exactly follow the interview guide: when a respondent raised a point of interest or a p a r t i c u l a r f a c t , this new di r e c t i o n was pursued and when exhausted, the interview then recommenced in the interview guide. A l l comments were l i s t e d and subsequent similar' comments were tabulated to show the frequency of the comment. For example, i f one respondent commented on the lack of up-to- date audio-visual materials, and another respondent commented upon u n a v a i l a b i l i t y of the audio-visual resources, these two comments were grouped together as A/V problems. Respondent C o n f i d e n t i a l i t y : In order to protect respondents" i d e n t i t y , the following system of numbering 63 was used. Using Main Street, where the c i t y ' s streets change t h e i r designation from East to West, nine secondary schools f a l l in the East Side, and seven on the West side. The remaining secondary school i s Vancouver's only "downtown" school, which geographically does not f i t into either group, but i s more akin to the East side schools when student population makeup and organization i s taken into account. It has been included in the east area group. Of the 23 respondents, 12 were from the west side and have been numbered W1-W12, 11 were from the east side and downtown (one less due to the i l l n e s s of one person) to be referred to as El-11. Summary of Methodology: A semi-structured interview was held with 23 teachers of Consumer Education in order to answer the following questions: what i s the current state of the course, and what factors have contributed to t h i s current s i t u a t i o n . Comments and issues raised by the respondents or perceived to be important by the respondents were, as mentioned 64 previously, i d e n t i f i e d and categorized. This information permitted an interpretation of those factors which have contributed to the current state of the Consumer Education course. The information presented a picture from which possible contributing themes or underlying issues appeared to emerge. The reasons which have given r i s e to the current s i t u a t i o n therefore became apparent and provided some possible answers for the second research question. When these contributing themes or underlying larger issues emerged from the information obtained from the interview, t r a n s c r i p t i o n and l i s t e n i n g notes were then re-examined and analyzed to determine i f these themes were widespread throughout the system, or lo c a l i z e d at a p a r t i c u l a r school, or within a p a r t i c u l a r classroom. Some widespread themes did emerge and appear to be reasons which have d i r e c t l y contributed to the current state of Consumer Education within the Vancouver school system. 65 CHAPTER 4: DATA ANALYSIS Overview: The basic research questions being addressed in t h i s study were f i r s t l y , to determine the state of the Consumer Education course, and secondly, to i d e n t i f y those factors which have d i r e c t l y contributed to t h i s current s i t u a t i o n . To obtain the information and the comments of teachers presently involved with t h i s course, interviews were held with a sample of 23 teachers of the Consumer Education course. The next two chapters w i l l present the information obtained from these interviews. Chapter Four i s organized around the presentation of the information pertaining to an assessment of the current state of Consumer Education in the Vancouver school system. Chapter Five w i l l address the second research question: which issues and factors d i r e c t l y contribute to or influence the current state of Consumer Education in the Vancouver School D i s t r i c t . In both of these chapters, whenever possible, excerpts 66 from interviews have been quoted and used to exemplify- some of the issues raised during the investigation. Excerpts w i l l be i d e n t i f i e d using the system as outlined in Chapter 3, so that comments or issues raised by teachers on Vancouver's west side w i l l be designated W_, and s i m i l a r l y , excerpts attributable to east side teachers w i l l be designated E_. In t h i s way micro l e v e l reinterpretations of the course can be examined to determine i f there are any east side/west side trends or patterns. RESEARCH QUESTION ONE: The Current State of the Consumer Educa t ion Course • Demographic Information The gender breakdown of the sample population was 11 females and 12 males. There appeared to be no differences in responses by gender. Fif t e e n of the respondents were over 35 years of age, and only one person had less than f i v e years of teaching experience. Most of the respondents (15) had been teaching more than 10 years. 67 Who Teaches Consumer Education? When the data was analyzed to ascertain the department or subject area specialty in which each respondent was currently teaching, the following information was revealed. Two respondents taught only Consumer Education and are considered to be members of the Business Education Departments of t h e i r p a r t i c u l a r schools. Both of these respondents teach on the east-side of Vancouver. Ten of the other respondents teaching Consumer Education teach the rest of t h e i r additional courses t o t a l l y within the Business Education Departments; six of these respondents teach on the west side and four on the east side. By combining these two groups of teachers: those who teach only Consumer Education, and those others who teach completely with the Business Education Subject specialty, twelve respondents w i l l be categorized as Business Educators. The east/west breakdown for Business Educators 68 is an even 6-6 s p l i t . The remaining 11 respondents have what s h a l l be referred to as a "mixed load": they teach in more than one subject area specialty. In addition to Consumer Education, within th i s group of respondents, six taught some Social Studies, three some Physical Education, two taught some blocks of Home Economics, English was taught by two people, one person taught some German, and one person taught some Math and some Computer Science. The Home Economists were both from the west side, as were a l l the Physical Educators. The German teacher and the Math/Computer Science person were both from the east side. On both sides of the c i t y there are some Social Studies and English teachers teaching Consumer Education. Was Teaching Consumer Education Requested or Assigned? The f i r s t question in thi s section asked how the respondent became a teacher of Consumer Education. Two methods of attaining the course became apparent: those who had been administratively assigned to the course, and those who had expressed a desire to teach the course. 69 An administrative assignment means that, in essence, the teacher has not asked to teach the course, but has been assigned or given the course to teach because no one else i s , for whatever the reason. Assignment to teach a course, rather than request, i s a common practice used for beginning teachers who have limited s e n i o r i t y , when departments have a drop in enrollment, or where a "new" person i s coming to a p a r t i c u l a r school. Usually the assignment i s done in consultation with the teacher concerned, but i t i s a rare occurence for a teacher to refuse an assignment! When the respondents were asked how they became teachers of Consumer Education, 12 of the 23 respondents had been assigned to teach the course. None of these 12 teachers had expressed any interest in teaching the course p r i o r to being assigned to teach the course. Examination of t h i s information using the east/west s p l i t shows that only three of the respondents who had been assigned to teach the course teach in the East Side of the Cit y . The obvious trend which becomes apparent i s that schools on the West Side assign teachers, while the 70 opposite i s the case on the East Side of the c i t y . The f i r s t implication that can be drawn from t h i s would seem to be that east side schools do not administratively assign the course, preferring to s t a f f the course with teachers who desire to teach the course. A second implication seems to be that West-side teachers choose to teach Consumer Education less frequently than colleagues on the East side choose to teach the course. Of the remaining 11 teachers, four had asked to teach the course, a l l from the east area (E7,E3,E2,E9). Seven other teachers had been teaching the previous e l e c t i v e course, General Business 12, and i t seemed a l o g i c a l progression for them to move into Consumer Education and these teachers were considered to have requested to teach the course. Responsibility for Management of Consumer Education: The questions in t h i s section of the interview were included to determine some of the organizational and managerial elements which impact upon the teaching of the Consumer Education course. 71 ^ D i s t r i c t Office Management: When asked to comment about the d i s t r i c t l e v e l support, 6 respondents commented on the lack of support for the Consumer Education course which seems to emanate from the Board O f f i c e . They f e e l that with the revamping of the Business Education curriculum, new course offerings are going to make Consumer Education an unnecessary component in Business Education departments. These new courses w i l l serve as a future protection for the v i a b i l i t y and continuation of strong Business Education departments. Consumer Education w i l l no longer be needed for protection of the Business Education t e r r i t o r y . As teacher E10 stated " P o l i t i c a l l y , i t hurt us because there were two other courses we could have offered we had an enrollment f o r , but because we kept the Consumer Ed we couldn't o f f e r the other courses. We've got IDP (Introductory Data Processing), OM (Office Management), Marketing 12 and we cut out...to keep the Consumer Ed. But we can't do that again because we're growing. ...It's easier to have someone else take Consumer Ed because that's the way i t seems to be going anyways..." 72 Another respondent (Wl) commented on the fact that one of the new Business Education courses, Introductory Data Processing, has a " t o t a l resource person...he does a l l the in-service t r a i n i n g . That sort of support i s what you need. That course i s going to be an incredible course in a few years from now. It's going to have everything. You have somebody there at the Board who can do the job we just don't have the time to do. ( s i c ) . . T h i s course was just thrown out there." b)Role of Administrators and Department Heads: The main in-school management role for any course i s the dual r e s p o n s i b i l i t y of the administration and the department head claiming the course. Two s t y l e s of course management for Consumer Education appear to be in operation in the Vancouver school system, those which are supportive and those which are non-supportive. In those schools where the management i s supportive, Consumer Education i s considered to be an important and in t e g r a l part of a student's education. The administration of these schools tends to allow the 73 Business Education department head to s t a f f the course, and tends to o f f e r the course at the senior (11/12) l e v e l . Most of the teachers teaching Consumer Education are doing so by t h e i r own request, and therefore there i s a continuity from year to year in the Consumer Education s t a f f of these schools. As has been shown in an e a r l i e r section, most west side schools s t a f f the course by assignment, whereas on the east side, the course i s largely staffed by request, or by teachers who desire to teach the course. The role of the Business Education department head becomes of prime importance in those schools which s t a f f t h i s course by assignment - mainly on the c i t y ' s west side. In these west side schools i f there i s a strong Business Education department head who maintains control over the s t a f f i n g of the course, the course fares better. Where the Business Education department head does not exercise di r e c t control over who teaches the course because the administration has assumed t h i s role, the course i s staffed not only by people who did not request i t , but i t is staffed a f t e r a l l other courses and the leftovers are handed out often as singleton courses: one to t h i s 74 person, and one to that person. The course becomes a timetable f i l l e r for those teachers requiring an extra block to f i l l t h e i r load. Because many of these teachers who are assigned t h i s course don't want to teach i t and teach i t only to f i l l t h e ir teaching load, they also attempt to get out of teaching i t as soon as possible. The re s u l t i s that there i s a great annual turnover of Consumer Education teachers in these schools. c) Department Head Claim: In a l l 18 Vancouver Secondary Schools the course i s claimed, or under the department head umbrella of Business Education. Of the 23 respondents, 20 were of the opinion that t h i s was where the course should be categorized largely due to the content of the course being "heavily business-oriented". The course was assigned to the Business Education departments when i t was mandated as a compulsory course in 1982, but there i s s t i l l some li n g e r i n g resentment to t h i s course being assigned to Business Education. The strong t e r r i t o r i a l views of some teachers were evidenced by the 75 two Home Economists who d e f i n i t e l y f e e l the course should be included under t h e i r departmental organization because "part of the t r a i n i n g of a home economist i s in consumer areas so that we deal with a l l the information that i s being taught i n the course".(W5) Yet another respondent f e l t the course should be considered a Social Studies course due to the content r e l a t i n g to Economics and legal issues. In September 1988 in fact, one Social Studies department w i l l claim, r e s p o n s i b i l i t y for the course. No other course currently in the p r o v i n c i a l secondary school system i s being subjected to t e r r i t o r i a l claims: English i s taught by English teachers and other departments are not attempting to gain control of English courses. English courses are considered to be the t e r r i t o r y of the English department. Such i s not the case for Consumer Education. Course Organization: a~)Level of Offering: In 1982 when the Consumer Education course was o f f i c i a l l y earmarked for inclusion as a graduation requirement for every student in B r i t i s h Columbia's school system, the 76 course had i n i t i a l l y been conceived of for incl u s i o n as a Grade 9 or 10 course. (Ministry of Education, Schools D i s t r i c t C i r c u l a r #144, 1981). During the next two years, (1982-1984), i t became obvious that i n s e r t i o n of the course into the junior years was not the most b e n e f i c i a l choice: the content of the course was i r r e l e v a n t for most of the junior students, and the inclusion of the course at the Grade 9/10 l e v e l meant the reduction by one of e l e c t i v e choices for these students. Reduction of e l e c t i v e choices even by one a f f e c t s a l l e l e c t i v e teaching areas: Fine Arts, Industrial Education, Home Economics, Modern Languages, Physical Education, Business Education. Reduction of the junior e l e c t i v e choice a f f e c t s the senior electives because senior electives cannot be taken by students i f they have not taken the junior prerequisite. Therefore, diminished junior e l e c t i v e choices mean an even more r e s t r i c t e d choice of senior e l e c t i v e s . What seemed sensible was to modify the o r i g i n a l intention of the course and allow i t to be also offered at the senior l e v e l , Grade 11 or 12. In fact by September 1984, schools were given the option of o f f e r i n g the course at either the junior l e v e l , the senior l e v e l , or both l e v e l s . 77 Vancouver's 18 Secondary Schools o f f e r Consumer Education in any one of these three possible ways: as a junior course only, as a senior course only, or at both l e v e l s . Currently in Vancouver, only one school o f f e r s the course exclusively at the junior l e v e l . Six schools o f f e r the course at both junior and senior l e v e l s , and the other 11 o f f e r the course at the Grade 11/12 l e v e l . Of those eleven schools o f f e r i n g the senior course, Consumer Education 12, only 3 keep the course open for Grade 11 students. The other 8 schools allow only Grade 12 students to take the course. Plans for September 1988 w i l l see one more of the schools which currently offers the course to either 11 or 12"s l i m i t i n g i t to Grade 12's only. If the l e v e l at which a p a r t i c u l a r school offers Consumer Education i s looked at with reference to the school's geographical location within the c i t y , some in t e r e s t i n g patterns appear. Only 2 eastside schools (E2, E3) o f f e r the course at the junior l e v e l , and at both of these schools, the preponderance of Consumer Education blocks are at the senior 78 l e v e l . Seven of the ten eastside schools o f f e r the course exclusively at the senior l e v e l . Four of the eight west side schools o f f e r the course at both l e v e l s , and of the remaining four, one of these offers the course s o l e l y at the junior l e v e l . To summarize these patterns, of the 7 schools o f f e r i n g the course at the junior l e v e l , 5 are West side schools (out of a t o t a l of 8) and 2 are East side (possible of 10). Considering the junior course o v e r a l l , these were actual teachers' comments: (W2) "taken to get i t out of the way", (Wl) "not relevant at the 9/10 l e v e l " , (W5) "the kids wanted a l o t of hands-on things". Respondent (W12) says "It's too much, too soon for Grade 10's" and the population for t h i s school i s perhaps the wealthiest and most advantaged in Vancouver. In spite of the fact that i n c l u s i o n of Consumer Education, in the eyes of the teachers teaching the course, i s preferable at the senior l e v e l , most West side schools continue to o f f e r Consumer Education to the junior students. 79 b)Curricular Hours: The three semestered schools o f f e r 85-90 hours of time for the course, and 13 of the non-semestered schools te c h n i c a l l y a l l o t the prescribed 120 hours to the course. One non-semestered school (W12) offers only 90 c u r r i c u l a r hours for the course. This s i t u a t i o n arises because Consumer Education i s taught at the Grade 10 l e v e l only, as i t i s considered a Junior E l e c t i v e : therefore, the teacher has the pupils for 3/4 of the prescribed time. A l l junior e l e c t i v e s in th i s school are treated in th i s manner. This allows the junior students more e l e c t i v e choices. Senior e l e c t i v e courses do receive 4/4 allocated hours at t h i s school. At none of the other schools were teachers finding i t a problem to f i l l the number of hours allocated to the course. Several respondents commented that there was enough material in the course to take 2 years to teach i t . (Wl, E9, E8). Many schools do, however, remove or "borrow" time from Consumer Education to o f f e r and include a variety of Guidance sponsored mini-courses: AIDS education; 80 Drinking/Driving programs; 4 schools l o s t up to 12 hours for Family L i f e , (in one school, E9, i t i s the r e s p o n s i b i l i t y of the Consumer Education teachers to teach t h i s Family L i f e course); Choices; Resume's; Job Search s k i l l s ; and at one school o f f e r i n g 12 blocks of Consumer Education, everyone taking the course had Consumer Education for 5/6 blocks, and Guidance for the other 1/6. (E8) This borrowing of time from Consumer Education offers another insight into the c u r r i c u l a r position which Consumer Education occupies. Even though i t has a high status position, protected because i t i s a compulsory course, i t i s treated as a second-class subject. When the administration and/or counselling departments need time for these mini-courses, time i s not taken from those courses considered to be f i r s t c l ass: the academics. At none of the schools was the time taken from academic courses for these inclusions! As one respondent c l e a r l y a r t i c u l a t e d "There's very much a pecking order of people and departments." (W2) 81 Shape of the Course-as-Practiced: Using the t i t l e s as indicated in the prescribed curriculum guides, the following were the topics most heavily emphasized for the various levels of the course. A t o t a l of 17 of the respondents teach the Grade 12 course. Of these, 6 f e l t t h e i r presentation and emphases for the various topics was f a i r l y equal. They did not i d e n t i f y any p a r t i c u l a r areas which received greater c u r r i c u l a r time. The other 11 respondents a l l pinpointed Taxation as an area of emphasis, followed by Financial Management in 9 cases. The topic of Transportation (dealing with the purchase and insuring or a car) received, an emphasis from 6 teachers. Topics concerning Contract (Consumer) law and Credit received the next highest number •of emphases, next Accommodation, and in two cases, Employer/Employee Rights and R e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s . The topics most commonly ommitted, or not covered, were Family Law in 5 schools, in four instances Career Planning (done by Guidance teachers), Accommodation in two schools and Employer/Employee Rights in two s i t u a t i o n s . A l l of 82 these topics are content areas which are prescribed in the Curriculum Guides, but i t i s apparent that teachers re- interpret the Ministry Guidelines to f i t t h e i r p a r t i c u l a r micro l e v e l teaching s i t u a t i o n . Some int e r e s t i n g East/West content area emphases and re- interpretations came to l i g h t . On the east side, Accommodation focused on renting, whereas west side teachers focused on buying re a l estate. Many teachers focused on Fin a n c i a l Management, but on the East side that meant personal budgetting and planning for the next few years, whereas on the West Side, teachers found students not interested in budgetting, but interested in Investments. When asked the reasons for the v a r i a t i o n in emphases, the following comments were made. One teacher who has taught the course on both sides of the c i t y said, "Maybe i t ' s just the Westside; I found that on the Eastside, the kids were just a l i t t l e b i t more interested." ( W 1 0 ) ..Further comments were "Here on the Westside, a l o t of kids think that everything w i l l take i t s natural course and everything w i l l be looked aft e r for them when they get through school. They f e e l t h e i r parents are going to 83 guide them through l i f e and there's no problem." Another teacher states (W5) ..It's just that the kids here f e e l i t ' s not something they a l l know, but i s so l o g i c a l and basic that t h e i r parents spend a f a i r amount of time explaining to them. They have p o r t f o l i o s already established for them.. Most of them have bank accounts, bank cards. Their parents are accountants." W3 commented that "much of the material i s taught at home, but there are always gaps". From statements such as these, i t seems that much of the micro l e v e l reinterpretation of the course plan i s shaped when teachers consider t h e i r student c l i e n t e l e . With the junior l e v e l course, the seven teacher- respondents gave three topics equally high emphases: Taxation, Money Management, and Decision Making. Topics not covered were Clothing and Food in two instances, Comparison Shopping once, Transportation once, and Taxation once. When asked to i d e n t i f y a theme or underlying concept that they as teachers try to "get across", the two most common themes were: decision making (5), and s u r v i v a l l i f e s k i l l s (4). Other themes suggested were: role as an 84 adult in society, awareness, role as teen consumer, becoming responsible consumers, p r a c t i c a l information. Course outlines or unit plans were discussed wherever possible, and have been included as Appendix C. Not a l l respondents had made course outlines or unit plans. Those respondents who had developed t h e i r own course plans can be characterized as teachers who requested to teach the course, and/or teachers who have taught the course for a number of years. Teachers who had been assigned to teach the course adapted or modified colleagues' unit plans, i f in fact one was being used at a l l . Grading Considerations: A l l of the respondents used the standard percentage guidelines as suggested by the Ministry of Education. However, variations occured between the schools and teachers within the schools because the majority of schools do not have any common standards for issuing grades. In the schools where a l l of the Consumer Education i s taught by one person, consistency of content and grading i s not a factor. (W12, E 11). At the schools 85 where people teach a large load of Consumer Education, primarily the s i t u a t i o n on the East Side, consistency of grading i s somewhat standardized within the school. Two of the east side teachers (E8, E7) teach a complete load of Consumer Education, and grade a l l of t h e i r respective classes consistently. Only four schools use any sort of common f i n a l exam. (W3,5,8,E10) The west side schools have a common exam at the request of the administrators and parents, while the East side school has a common exam because of a concern for maintenance of standards. In each of these schools the f i n a l exam counts for approximately 20% of the student's mark for the course. One school has a l l students write a common exam once a year, not necessarily in June.(E2) Many of the other schools within the system offered some sort of f i n a l examination, written by the teacher for students for students generally described as being in "mortal danger" of f a i l i n g : a l a s t chance exam. In 86 several west side situations, no l a s t chance exam was even offered. As one person remarked (Wll) "...nobody seems to mind. Maybe next year." Teacher's feelings about the consistency of marks were- refl e c t e d when one respondent commented that without common f i n a l exams, one teacher's "A" may bear no resemblance to what another teacher considers to be an "A".(E8) Because there i s no c r o s s - c i t y examination, there are no consistent standards between the schools in the system. Consumer Education i s the only mandatory graduation requirement which does not involve a school-based or c i t y - wide examination. Courses such as Home Economics or Physical Education which are also considered low in status or p r i o r i t y do require students to a t t a i n some consistent standard, at least within the school. Consistency of Content: As far as consistency of content within the school, there was a wide range of situations. In the schools where there i s only one teacher of Consumer Education, obviously there i s no d i f f i c u l t y maintaining consistent standards and content. 87 The s i t u a t i o n in schools with a number of pra c t i t i o n e r s of the course ranged from limited consistency, to a great deal of consistency. The schools with a limited amount of consistency had no common course outline, no meetings of the s t a f f involved, cursory comments made in passing about who's teaching what: b a s i c a l l y , a group of pr a c t i t i o n e r s teaching the course in i s o l a t i o n , bound together only by a common course name, and sometimes, a common textbook. Other c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of t h i s type of si t u a t i o n were lack of strong department head leadership, many teachers from d i f f e r e n t course constituencies teaching singelton blocks to f i l l teaching loads, and administrations who viewed the course as a "throwaway",(W6) as a temporary i r r i t a t i o n which would not be around forever or in cases where the course i s used as a "dumping ground" ( E 6 ) for students the school was tryin g to keep "off the streets" as long as possible. The schools with the greatest amount of consistency of content were the three who,used a common outline for the 88 course that the teachers in the p a r t i c u l a r school had written with c o l l e g i a l consultation. These same schools also have a common f i n a l examination which counts for a predetermined portion of the f i n a l grade. In addition, one of these schools also has a central resource room which contains f i l e s of information and handouts which are available to a l l teachers of the course within the school. The two teachers who were interviewed at the school commented on what a "bonus" th i s was, not only for themselves but for the other teachers of the course who were from other departments. This central resource room was set up at the i n s t i g a t i o n of a teacher formerly at t h i s school who was one of the o r i g i n a l developers of the course. Even though she i s no longer at the school, the organizational foundations set up s t i l l bear results in the p a r t i c u l a r s i t u a t i o n . Unfortunately, next year Consumer Education w i l l no longer be staffed by anyone at the school who w i l l be acting as a resource leader due to the fact that the Business Education personnel are going to be involved in the additional new course offerings such as IDP which are coming under the Business Education curriculum. 89 Sharing of f i l e s and resources seemed to be the case in two of the schools where there was a person on s t a f f who was very f a m i l i a r with the course, or who taught a f u l l load of Consumer Education. These people were used as "in house" resources by other less experienced teachers. Two other schools had meetings throughout the year, in one case twice a year, and in the other, four times a year. informal meetings and to be the way the teachers In the balance of the schools, discussions " in the h a l l " seem keep in touch with each other. For whatever reason, i t would appear that the management of consistent grading standards and content coverage for th i s course have not been adequately addressed. Teachers" Perceptions of the Course: Personal Energy devoted to Consumer Education: When the respondents were asked to rate the amount of time and energy they personally devoted to t h i s course, with 1 90 being lower l i m i t , 7 being upper l i m i t , and 3 .5 being the same amount as spent on other courses, the mean was 5 . 8 . This indicates that Consumer Education requires more time and energy than other courses. Said respondent W7, a ten- year veteran of the course "I spend most of my time on that. Changing things. Always." Many respondents commented that because of the wide-range of topics in the course, i t was very d i f f i c u l t to keep up-to-date without idoing a great deal of preparation. Many topics in the course are subject to change, es p e c i a l l y those areas r e l a t i n g to legal aspects and taxation, and thus, the preparation for these units was never s t a t i c . Several others commented on the persistent marking load associated with the course and i t s v a r i a t i o n of content topics. Another person commented that "If 7 i s burnout, I'm a 6. People warned me i t was going to be a l o t of work and i t was a l o t of work. I was bagged by March. I hobbled into Spring Break." (E5) Comments from yet another person were "In terms of a l l the other courses I've taught -I've taught a l l the Socials Studies and English courses - more than any other course." (E7) 91 Administrat ive Support: Most teachers f e l t the a d m i n i s t r a t i o n were i n most cases s u p p o r t i v e i n t h e i r attempts to teach the course. However, a d m i n i s t r a t i v e support i s a r a t h e r vaguely d e f i n e d e n t i t y . A number of teachers s a i d t h at while the a d m i n i s t r a t i o n was s u p p o r t i v e to them on a pe r s o n a l b a s i s , t hat lack of a d m i n i s t r a t i v e support was e x e m p l i f i e d by the f o l l o w i n g : openly r e f e r r i n g to the course as "the crumbs" or as a "throwaway", by not i n s i s t i n g on some formal o r g a n i z a t i o n of the course w i t h i n the p a r t i c u l a r s c hool, by the haphazard method 'that the course i s s t a f f e d , and by the frequent i n c u r s i o n s i n t o the time a l l o c a t e d to the course. One experienced west s i d e teacher (W7) was d i r e c t e d by her p r i n c i p a l to "Cool i t because your course i s t a k i n g the students' time from t h e i r academics." T h i s non-supportive behaviour leaves the teachers with the f e e l i n g t h a t they are t e a c h i n g a course c o n s i d e r e d to be second c l a s s . As w e l l , the p r a c t i c e of having the course taught any o l d place be i t a Band Room or a Home Economics la b , and a g e n e r a l lack of money to purchase needed resources f u r t h e r f r u s t r a t e s those teachers t r y i n g to do t h e i r best. 92 In those schools where the course i s only offered at the Grade 11/12 l e v e l , administrators have been receptive to the change from o f f e r i n g the course at either l e v e l . In a l l cases, the insistence for of f e r i n g the course at the senior l e v e l was i n i t i a t e d by the teachers actually involved in the teaching of the course. Resources: Of interest to any teacher of a school subject are the j resources and aids available to f a c i l i t a t e e f f e c t i v e teaching of the course. The following are a few of the responses given about the resources connected to Consumer Education. a) Textbooks: The prescribed textbooks were the f i r s t resource examined. Respondents were asked to rate whichever textbook they personally used with t h e i r classes, with 1 being the lower l i m i t and 7 the upper l i m i t . The ratings teachers gave the two textbooks provided a normal p r o b a b i l i t y curve because most respondents did not rate the textbook as either a 1 or a 7 . 9 3 The mean score for the Grade 9/10 textbook "Looking at the Consumer" was 3.16. Users commented i t "lacked depth", was "skeletal in content", or " v i r t u a l l y useless". One of the teachers (W9).of the junior l e v e l book was s t i l l using the old textbook written in the early 1960's "General Business and Consumer Fundamentals". ( T r e l i v i n g , J.T., McGraw- H i l l , 1978). In order to augment the poorly rated junior textbook, two schools (Wll, W5) require t h e i r students to purchase a workbook which dovetails with the course content: "Guide to Wise Consuming", (J. Kwekkeboom. McGraw-Hill, 1974) They f e l t i t was Canadian- oriented, s p e c i f i c in intent, and was very a c t i v i t y - oriented - a necessity for teaching the junior course. The senior prescribed textbook "Economic Decisions for Canadian Consumers" (Leet and Driggers, Wadsworth, 1984) was more p o s i t i v e l y received although i t showed the same normal prob a b i l i t y curve with no ratings of 1 or 7. The mean rating for this book was 5. Comments made about th i s textbook ranged from very positive comments such as, "comprehensive coverage or material", "providing a s o l i d background", to one person's negative comments about "urban bias", "limited view of role of women", "outdated", 94 "pro-business and anti-labour".(E6) Several teachers commented on the lack of Canadian content in the book. Teachers also commented on the "poor" or "limited" treatment given to certa i n topics, such as Contract Law, Insurance and Employer/Employee Rights and Re s p o n s i b i l i t i e s . Two schools teaching the senior course did not use the textbook at a l l , preferring to use more p a r t i c u l a r i s e d resources available from alternate sources: business magazines, industry handouts, pamphlets from governments to name a few. (W1,W8) Three east-side schools indicated that the vocabulary-level was too d i f f i c u l t for the student population at t h e i r school. (El,6,8) One respondent commented that the resource material for the course would be better organized as a series of Modules, rather than having the core information organized in a single textbook. (El) b)Audio-Visual Resources: The area that generated the greatest number of responses concerned the Audio-Visual Resources. When asked about the audio-visual resources, ten of the respondents s p e c i f i c a l l y commented on the desperate need for some up- 9 5 to-date materials. They universally f e l t that what was available was so dated that the pupils found i t "h i l a r i o u s " , and then "you've l o s t them". c) Additional Resources available for the Course: A number of respondents said that acquiring the resources and materials for this course was no problem because there are "thousands of them". Other helpful resources mentioned were the School Board sponsored in-service meetings held aft e r school and dealing with a range of content areas: legal issues, taxation, Family Law etc. (W12.W7) Several of the experienced teachers would prefer to have the in-service focus on the changes that have occured in the content area, f e e l i n g that in-service which focuses on teaching s k i l l s for beginning teachers of Consumer Education were not of intere s t or value for them. (W7, E8, E7) Another of the widely-used resources for th i s course were the binders of background information and the materials 96 contained in the recently issued Curriculum Resource Book. Unfortunately, not a l l teachers of course were aware that such a resource book was available! Newspapers also provided many teachers with ready sources of t o p i c a l information. One senior l e v e l course published t h e i r own "Consumer Education Newspaper" as a class project. (E5) Beginning teachers were grate f u l for the f i l e s and materials provided by experienced teachers of the course. A l l of the beginning teachers had access to colleagues' material, and a l l of them used at least some of the material. One school had a designated classroom which contains f i l e of a l l pertinent information and resources available. Everyone teaching the course in the school, 6 of them, use the room as a central resouce area.(E10,4) Another frequently used resource i s the Junior Achievement sponsored Project Business teaching packages and Teacher/Consultants. The teacher/consultants are business people who volunteer to work with high school students on a regular basis. Every year, the teacher/consultants and teaching packages are made available free of charge to any 97 teachers w i l l i n g to have this program included as part of the Consumer Education curriculum. Respondents gave the use of the Project Business packages and Consultants mixed reviews: i t seemed very dependent upon the Business Consultant whether or not the experience was of value. Three teachers commented, in essence, that they would never allow Project Business into t h e i r classroom again. Two teachers of the senior l e v e l course indicated that the content of the Project Business package was not acceptable for Grade 11 and 12, i t was better targeted for the junior course. (W1,E6) Ministry of Education Requirements: a) Compulsory Nature of the course: Of the 23 people interviewed, 15 were in favour of Consumer Education being a graduation requirement, while 6 were not. Two had "no opinion": both were f i r s t year teachers of the course and had not thought about the issue. 9 8 Those not in favour offered the following reasons: 2 ci t e d the amount of content overlap between Consumer Education and other courses (E6,W12); 3 respondents c i t e d the compulsory nature of the course as producing a negative attitude towards the course. Because i t i s a compulsory course, a number of students did not want to be in the class in the f i r s t place and they projected an attitude deterimental to the teachers and to the course (W6, W10.E6). The sixth respondent (E9) not favouring Consumer Education as a compulsory course f e l t since the course had o r i g i n a l l y been intended for Grades 9 and 10, i t was missing i t s intended audience anyway. Of the 15 who responded favourably to the compulsory nature of the course, (Ell,10,8,7,5,3,2,1, Wl,2,3,7,8,9,11) more than half of them commented that the students were not learning t h i s information anywhere else: either they were not getting the information from home, or were from a c u l t u r a l background quite d i f f e r e n t from the t r a d i t i o n a l background of B r i t i s h Columbia. Several respondents stated that a powerful reason for having a course such as t h i s was the general lack of knowledge or naivety of the students about "the r e a l world". 99 One teacher, while not suggesting i t as a reason for retaining the course as a graduation requirement, commented that without i t she and a l o t of others who were "low on the se n i o r i t y scale" would have been without a job. b)Government F i n a l Exam? The debate about the value of a government or p r o v i n c i a l f i n a l examination centred around the usual issue of whether i t i s more b e n e f i c i a l to maintain standards and therefore impose a p r o v i n c i a l exam on the course, or whether i t i s more b e n e f i c i a l to allow for f l e x i b i l i t y and d i v e r s i t y and leave the course free of a p r o v i n c i a l examination. When asked to give an opinion about government f i n a l exams, 4 respondents did not wish to of f e r an opinion. One person f e l t that because her school already had a common f i n a l exam (W5), there would be no necessity for one. The other three who had no opinion about a f i n a l exam were either f i r s t year teachers of the course, or teachers teaching the Grade 9/10 l e v e l course. 100 Eight respondents were opposed to the idea of a government exam fe e l i n g the value of f l e x i b i l i t y and d i v e r s i t y outweighed the value of common standards. (E10,E6,E5,W3,W8,Wll,W9,W10) These were t h e i r comments: would have to be "too watered down" to cover the d i v e r s i t y of topics in the course (W10); because the course i s "project-oriented, i t would be extremely d i f f i c u l t to get an acceptable exam" (E5); "would detract from what should be a comprehensive course (W3); respondent W8 would not favour a f i n a l exam because he teaches only 6 topics, but feels the f l e x i b i l i t y of doing t h i s i s preferable to the constraints of a f i n a l exam; Wll, W9 and W 10 teach the junior course, or have taught the junior course, and f e e l government exams are inappropriate for junior courses. Five respondents "sat on the fence". For t h i s group there were pros and cons to having a government f i n a l . Respondent W7 t y p i f i e d t h i s group by commenting that a government exam would "defeat the purpose, as the information in the course i s constantly changing, but in some ways a government exam would be a good idea in order to maintain standards". Other people in t h i s group f e l t because of the d i v e r s i t y of topics and teachers involved 101 with the course, i t would be almost impossible to write a common f i n a l exam. (E4,E6, W4) Six respondents were favourably disposed to the idea of a government f i n a l exam. A l l six of the respondents are teachers who have taught the course for a long period of time. Five teach at the senior l e v e l , and the one junior l e v e l teacher feels that some sort of "norming exam every so often would be good" (W5). Of ^the f i v e teaching the senior course, four of them teach on the east side and two of these four teach the course f u l l - t i m e . The sole west-side respondent who reacted favourably to the idea of a f i n a l exam i s a department head who i s strongly in control of the course: the s t a f f i n g , course content, and consistency. Comments from these f i v e were: "I've been waiting for a government exam to come out every year";(E9); "I think i f teachers understand as professionals we a l l have to cover the same c u r r i c u l a , then a government exam would be f i n e . " ( E l l ) ; "I'd be very comfortable with that. It would give i t greater legitimacy. The government seems to waffle on the course." (E8); "I would not l i k e to see a government f i n a l counting for 50% but I would welcome one counting for less 102 that 50%. I think i f you're going to have a compulsory course, you might do that to ensure that the topics are being taught. I have a f e e l i n g given the scope of the course that some of the topics may not be taught and that would be cheating the students of learning something that's valuable." (E7); "I'm surprised that they haven't come out with some sort of government exam for t h i s course because i t ' s a compulsory course at the senior l e v e l . I think that would do a l o t for the course because there's so much f l e x i b i l i t y in what you can teach and who teaches i t that I think i t would at least give some guidance as to what the government would l i k e . " (Wl). Perceived Attitudes to the course: The only attitudes about the course which are first-hand are those of the various respondents. Any parental, student or administrative attitudes suggested are those which the teachers perceive: they are not first-hand. a) Perception of Parental Attitudes: It was not within the scope of thi s study to access the opinions of the parents or students d i r e c t l y . When asked the question "What sort of reactions or comments do you 103 get from the parents about t h i s course?" 19 reported that the parental comment most often heard was "I wish there was some course around l i k e t h i s when I went to school" or some such comment. Two teachers reported parents had asked i f they could come to class too! It should be realized that these comments represent only the opinions of a very small spectrum of parents: those who attend parent-teacher nights, or who have had di r e c t contact with the Consumer Education teacher. b) Student attitudes: When asked the question "What sort of reactions or comments do you get from your students about t h i s course?", teachers perceptions of student attitudes showed a range from those who f e l t most students accepted that the course as a "fact of l i f e " and went about i t in a "businesslike" manner, to those who commented on the negative, "lacklustre" attitude of t h e i r students. When asked i f these negative attitudes were towards Consumer Education s p e c i f i c a l l y or just school in general, the teachers were of the opinion that i t was negative towards anything related to school or work. Negative reactions from the students were perceived to stem, in part, from 104 not l i k i n g anything to do with school, and/or d i s l i k e of anything compulsory or " l a i d on". Some teachers mentioned t h e i r brighter students had commented on the pro-business bias of the course, and requested less biased information. Teachers of the Grade 9/10 course uni v e r s a l l y found that the most successful units were those which offered "hands on" a c t i v i t i e s : banking forms, taxation returns. Younger students were also receptive to topics which might actually happen in the near future: buying and insuring cars being an example. Anything t h e o r e t i c a l or dealing with too far in the future l i k e buying a house, or l i f e insurance, were "sleepers". Whereas older students also enjoyed the a c t i v i t i e s , they could also see value in the more t h e o r e t i c a l aspects: investing, economic theory, legal issues. Teachers of students who had already been out of the system and were returning to gain high school gradaution found when these older students (19 or 20) related "real l i f e " situations to the other students, the course became much more "believeable". 105 West side teachers also f e l t there was s t i l l some resentment towards the course because Consumer Education had reduced, by one, the number of e l e c t i v e choices. One teacher commented that the students would rather take an extra Math or Science course because there was "very much a pecking order" about the status of courses.(W5) At her pa r t i c u l a r school, any of the p r a c t i c a l or Fine Arts courses were not high status courses. Many students only took them when required to. Anything which would not help towards t h e i r future aspirations was of limited importance. Extra academic courses might help, therefore these students perceive "value" in th e i r academic studies. (W6, W5, W3) c) Administrative attitudes: Administrative attitudes could not be d i r e c t l y obtained because permission to interview administrative s t a f f i s not granted for end of school terms due to the heavy administrative r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s at those times. When asked the question "How supportive i s the administration to thi s course?", most teachers f e l t the administration was supportive to them as teachers, but 106 indicated that they f e l t the administration had i n i t i a l l y handled the course as a p o l i t i c a l " f o o t b a l l " (E6, E4, W4). Two other teachers commented that support for the course had been either non-committal or non-existent u n t i l the administration had seen and heard from the students about the content of the course. (Wl, E7) When asked the question "Do you think they (the administration) view i t as an important course in the school?", the following information was obtained. 15 respondents perceived negative administrative attitudes towards t h i s course ex i s t within the Vancouver school system. Respondents commented on these as examples: s t a f f i n g procedures which prove detrimental to the course; of f e r i n g of the course at the junior l e v e l ; frequent incursions into the prescribed c u r r i c u l a r time; and lack of policy about issues of consistent content and grading procedures. Repondents c i t e d these negative comments, "the course i s a crumb", or a "throwaway", or "make i t less challenging so time could be spent on the academic courses", as further examples of negative administrative attitudes to thi s course. 107 The comments from respondents indicate that negative administrative management of the course i s much more apparent in west side schools than in east side schools. d)Attitudes of Colleagues: Teachers of Consumer Education noticed comments from t h e i r colleagues about the course were now much more favourable than when the course was i n s t i t u t e d i n 1982. It seems as i f much of the controversy surrounding the mandating of Consumer Education has died a natural death. Negative comments which come from teachers seem to originate from two sources: teachers of el e c t i v e areas, and from counsellors. Teachers of e l e c t i v e subjects "blame" Consumer Education for the demise of t h e i r areas: Industrial Education, Home Economics, and Fine Arts departments have complained loudest and longest. Addition of Consumer Education into the junior grades means students take one less e l e c t i v e course during the grades 9 and 10. This then impacts upon the senior e l e c t i v e s because there are fewer students who can q u a l i f y to take the senior e l e c t i v e courses. Consumer Education 108 teachers who are from some of these depleted e l e c t i v e areas would rather be teaching in t h e i r e l e c t i v e area, and are the f i r s t to admit i t . Respondent Wll offered t h i s succinct comment "I'm much more comfortable teaching what I've been trained to do, but what the heck, with Consumer Ed. I've at least got a f u l l time job." Respondent W6 also stated that she would never wish to teach the course again: she f e l t extremely uncomfortable teaching in a classroom, having spent a l l of her previous teaching career in the gym. The second source of negative comments about Consumer Education come from the Counselling Departments. Counsellors are responsible, in part, for ensuring students formulate a course of studies which w i l l permit a graduation from high school, and one which w i l l not l i m i t students' future choices. In the seven schools which continue to of f e r Consumer Education at both levels or at the junior l e v e l only, students t o l d the respondents they had been advised to take the course in order to "get i t over with", or "get i t out of the way". Even though Consumer Education teachers unanimously f e e l that the correct or better l e v e l for 1 0 9 teaching the course i s during the senior grades when i t i s more relevant, the influence of the counsellors' can s t i l l be seen. Research reports conducted on t h i s course support the comments of Consumer Education teachers that i t i s preferable to of f e r the course at the senior l e v e l . (ERIBC 82:14) The respondent's own attitudes about the course were intere s t i n g . Positive comments included "my most enjoyable course", "...my.being so enthusiatic about the course", to l i s t a few. Others focused on the usefullness of the course, upon the relevancy, and the d i v e r s i t y of the content. Negative comments could be categorized into these three areas: the compulsory nature of the course means there are students who did not want to be in class; the negative feelings generated over the seemingly p o l i t i c a l i nclusion of the course - as one person commented "I think i t came out with such a p o l i t i c a l cloud over i t that I think a l o t of people looked at i t as being a Social Credit vehicle 110 and some people s t i l l do" (Wl); and in some schools, the aftermath of the t e r r i t o r i a l i n f i g h t i n g which resulted when the course was included in the Secondary School curriculum in 1982 as a compulsory graduation requirement. Suggestions for Improvement: Improving or making a course better can be also considered to be removing the problems associated with the course. Some respondents c i t e d problems while the others offered suggestions for improving the course. The two d i f f e r i n g viewpoints: problems and/or improvements, have been combined because the intent of either i s aimed towards o v e r a l l improvement. For ease of organization, the improvements/problems w i l l be discussed in two sections: those r e l a t i n g to materials and equipment, and those r e l a t i n g to the teaching atmosphere at a p a r t i c u l a r school. I l l Materials and Equipment Eight respondents pointed out the need for a serious updating of the Audio-Visual resources. As noted e a r l i e r , dated or unsnappy presentations meant the students were " l o s t " . Copies of relevant audio-visual materials need to be in every school for ready access. As one person commented "The school board i s well aware of what we need." (Wl) The next most frequently c i t e d problem/improvement i s the need for an updated, unbiased Canadian textbook. Care and attention need to be given to vocabulary and reading levels due to the increased numbers of English as Second Language (ESL) students are i n Vancouver schools. Improved end of chapter questions are needed: not just ones which require regurgitation of straight facts. Content areas such as labour, contract law, banking industry, and labour/management need expansion. In the area of professional developement, several respondents commended as excellent the after-school Board 112 sponsored workshops which were held l a s t f a l l and dealt with a variety of issues. One long time teacher of the course would prefer professional development which did not focus on i n i t i a l teaching material: she would l i k e sessions with professional groups, for instance lawyers, to provide additional background information rather than those which focus on basic how-to-teach techniques. Appointment of a person knowledgeable about and experienced with the teaching of Consumer Education who would act as a D i s t r i c t Helping teacher was i d e n t i f i e d as a need by many of the respondents. With the creation and inclusion of new Business Education course offerings, many respondents f e l t Consumer Education was being s h i f t e d to a less h i g h - p r o f i l e position within the Business Education heirarchy. Continued d i s t r i c t l e v e l support was i d e n t i f i e d as a need for t h i s course. (E6, E7, E8, Wl, W4, W6, W10) 113 Summary Statements concerning the Current state of Consumer Education: The focus of t h i s chapter has been presentation of information which w i l l assess the current state of the Consumer Education course within the Vancouver secondary school system. The eighteen secondary schools were divided into two categories depending upon t h e i r geographical location within the c i t y . Using Main Street as the div i d i n g l i n e , the schools were categorized as East or West. Vancouver's sole "downtown" school has been included in the East category because of s i m i l a r i t y of student population and socio-economic background. Ten of the schools are contained in the East side group and eight in the West side group. 114 The information obtained from the interviews revealed the following : 1. Teachers of Consumer Education have a variety of educational and teaching backgrounds. 2. In a l l 18 secondary schools, Consumer Education i s claimed by the Business Education Department. 3. More than half of the teachers interviewed had not requested to teach the course: the course was assigned to them. The practice of assigning the course was prevalent on the West side of the c i t y . From these facts, the following themes appear: Teachers who requested to teach the course were more interested in retaining the course as a compulsory course, and were generally more in favour of i n s t i g a t i o n of a government examination for the course. This group of respondents were also more concerned with consistency of content, and 115 continuity of teaching s t a f f : a l l of t h i s group wished to continue teaching the course. This group of respondents had designed t h e i r own unit plans for the course, or had developed one in consultation with.colleagues. 4. The responbility for, and management of, the course show two d i f f e r e n t management sty l e s . With one, the administration exercises control over s t a f f i n g and timetabling; in the other, the Department Head becomes the person primarily responsible for the course. The former is prevalent on the west side and the l a t t e r on the east side of the c i t y . 5. A l l schools alloc a t e the prescribed number of c u r r i c u l a r hours. The only variations ex i s t in the semestered schools where the number of hours i s 85-90 hours, and at a small west side secondary school which considers Consumer Education a junior e l e c t i v e : the course meets 3 out of 4 class hours. However, Consumer Education c u r r i c u l a r time i s "borrowed" for a variety of programs. Curricular time i s generally not borrowed from academic subjects such as English or Algebra. 116 6. On the east side of Vancouver, Consumer Education i s offered at the Grade 11/12 l e v e l in 8 of the 10 schools. On the west side of Vancouver, the opposite i s the case: 5 of the 8 schools o f f e r the course at the junior 9/10 l e v e l . 7. Course content shows variations between the east and west side of the c i t y . Re-interpretation of the prescribed curriculum may be the r e s u l t of the following. Respondents from the east side universally f e l t the information in the course was new to t h e i r students: i t had not been taught at home, and many of the students were from d i f f e r e n t c u l t u r a l backgrounds. They also f e l t the students approached the course in a serious and businesslike manner. Because the course was generally offered to the senior students, the subject matter was more relevant. A limited number of east side students continue on to post-secondary education. What becomes of prime importance i s information which w i l l become useful soon a f t e r graduation. 117 West side respondents commented on a number of factors which occured in t h e i r p a r t i c u l a r teaching circumstance: much of the material was already taught at home by the parents; because the course i s offered to younger students, the emphasis of the junior course was modified to focus on being a teen consumer. The higher socio-economic background of the west side also lead teachers to comment i t seemed many students took the course only because i t was compulsory. Generally the students did not approach i t as seriously as academic courses: only courses which count for university entrance are considered "important". 8. In many schools., both east side and west side, there are no consistent grading standards. 9. Of the 23 respondents, 15 supported retention of the course as a graduation requirement. These 15 respondents were evenly s p l i t between East side and West, side schools. 10. Addition of a government f i n a l exam gave the following r e s u l t : 4 had "no opinion"; 8 were opposed to 118 the idea; 5 could argue both sides - seeing pros and cons to the idea; and 6 were strongly favourable. Those in favour of a f i n a l examination f e l t maintenance of standards was of greater benefit than maintenance of f l e x i b i l i t y . A l l f i v e respondents in t h i s group are experienced teachers of the course, and a l l but one teach on the East side. 11. Concerning the day-to-day operation of the course, teachers commented on these issues: a) The high l e v e l of energy required to teach t h i s course. b) Respondent's attitudes about the Consumer Education course r e f l e c t e d whether teaching the course was a personal request or an assignment. Those who had requested the course were much more po s i t i v e about the course. 119 c) When asked the question "What sort of reactions or comments do you get from parents about t h i s course?" 19 teachers perceived parents to be supportive about the inclusion of t h i s course within the secondary school curriculum. d) When asked the question "What sort of reactions or comments do you get from your students about t h i s course?" teachers perceived student attitudes to range from p o s i t i v e : r e a l i s i n g the value of the content, approaching assignments in a businesslike manner; to negative: d i s l i k e of anything associated with school, or anything compulsory, considering Consumer Education of secondary importance to academic subjects because i t i s not considered for university entrance. e) D i s t r i c t o f f i c e support was commended in the realm of professional development. Two recommendations were made: the need for a d i s t r i c t consultant or helping teacher for t h i s course; the need for up-dated audio-visual resources with copies for every school in the system. 120 f) Resources for teaching the course are widely available. The prescribed textbooks were rated on a scale of 1 to 7, with 1 being the low end of the scale. The textbook prescribed for the Grade 9/10 l e v e l , "Looking for the Consumer" received a mean score of 3.16. The senior l e v e l textbook, "Economic Decisions for Canadian Consumers" was more p o s i t i v e l y rated at 5. Ratings of both textbooks showed a normal pr o b a b i l i t y curve. g) The administrators' role was perceived as being either supportive or non-supportive to the course. Support for the course i s much more evident in East Side schools: management of the course i s more the r e s p o n s i b i l i t y of the Department Head than the administration, s t a f f i n g of the course i s "by request"- from year to year there are more repeat teachers of the course, the course i s regarded as important and not used as a timetable f i l l e r . Generally i t i s offered at the senior l e v e l . h) Consumer Education teachers received mixed responses about the course from other teachers: p o s i t i v e from those 121 who had taken time to f a m i l i a r i z e themselves with the course, and negative from those who regard Consumer Education as a product of the Social Credit government, and from those e l e c t i v e areas (Industrial Education, Fine Arts, Home Economics) who at t r i b u t e the depletion of these areas to the inclusion of Consumer Education. Negative feelings are also created in schools where Counselling Departments advise students to "get i t over with" and who frequently borrow time from Consumer Education. Summation of Findings: Examination of the information offers t h i s assessment of the current s i t u a t i o n : the treatment and perception of the course within the Vancouver secondary school system can be categorized as either supportive or non-supportive. In general, the treatment and support for the course i s more posit i v e in East Side schools than in West Side schools. The factors and influences which have contributed to the "positive" east side re-interpretation of the course w i l l be discussed in Chapter Five. 122 CHAPTER FIVE RESEARCH QUESTION TWO: Factors which Contribute to the Current State of Consumer Education. Overview: Information presented i n Chapter Four addressed Research Question One: what i s the current state of Consumer Education. The information indicates that Consumer Education operates in two d i f f e r e n t atmospheres: in a non-supportive atmosphere, or in a supportive atmosphere. In general, the atmosphere of East side schools i s currently more supportive of the teaching of Consumer Education. This s i t u a t i o n arises from a number of factors and underlying themes. The second Research Question addresses these contributing factors which create the current s i t u a t i o n of the course. These factors and underlying themes w i l l be discussed in t h i s chapter. 123 Research Question Two: Factors which contribute to the current state of the Consumer Education course: Teachers of Consumer Education i d e n t i f i e d three areas which they f e l t seriously affected t h e i r teaching of the course. A l l three areas are related to the atmosphere in t h e i r p a r t i c u l a r school which can either be considered to be a "supportive" atmosphere, or i s found to be "non- supportive" . The information revealed by Consumer Education teachers i s that the atmosphere for e f f e c t i v e teaching of t h i s course i s generally more supportive on the east side of the c i t y than on the west side. The following comments and information support t h i s view. Teachers i d e n t i f i e d three factors which d i r e c t l y influence the current state of the course. These contributing factors are as follows: s t a f f i n g practices associated with the course; the perceived status or image of the course; and the t e r r i t o r i a l disputes s t i l l l i n g e r i n g from the courses rs inception. 124 These three factors which contribute to the current state of Consumer Education w i l l be discussed in that order. a)Staffing Considerations: In terms of t h e i r responses to the open-ended question about the ways in which the course could be improved, eleven of the respondents i d e n t i f i e d the prime problem with the course as being the the method in which i t was staffed. (£9,10,11,8,7,6,5,(41,2,7,8,). Most of these people sharply c r i t i c i z e d the practice of "farming out" the course year after year as a f i l l e r for anyone needing to complete a teaching load. Too many people end up teaching the course who do not r e a l l y wish to: "Never again. I hated i t ! " (W5) was one person's comment. As evidenced e a r l i e r , of the 23 people interviewed, 12 people have been assigned the course, and only 11 have i t by choice. The comments from the respondents were: "Over the past few years I have seen i t farmed out to d i f f e r e n t teachers who need a load. That's the way they deal with i t in every school in every d i c t r i c t . I have seen i t taught with an 125 automotive bent, or a Home Ec. bent, because of the di f f e r e n t i n c l i n a t i o n s of the teachers." (E9). This same person further commented "Right now everybody's doing a d i f f e r e n t job and I don't think they're doing j u s t i c e to the course. Some people who pick i t up as a f i l l e r do an admirable job, but I also know other teachers pick i t up and spend a minimum of time on i t s because i t ' s not a p r i o r i t y . " Another person stated "I think the administrators should take a l i t t l e b i t more concern in making sure that Consumer Ed i s taught by Business teachers. It's not very hard to k i l l a course by giving i t to someone who doesn't have the expertise or the desire." ( E l l ) . Another longtime teacher of the course offered t h i s comment "It's being used as a course to give to people whose timetables aren't t o t a l l y complete so there's frequently 7 or 8 teachers teaching 1 block each of i t as opposed to a few people getting together and developing a program. It's a good course; i t ought to have just as much weight as any other course." (W2) Because th i s course i s frequently used as a f i l l e r , or "leftover"' there i s uneven coverage: there are people 126 teaching the course who do not want to and then do not bother to keep current, or people who make a token attempt to teach the course. By t h i s continued and s t i l l frequent practice of "farming out" the course from year to year, there i s not as much continuity of teaching and teachers from year to year as i s the case in other subject areas. Only two of the schools on the East side (E6, E4) s t i l l hand out the course to f i l l blocks: at E6, three people, one from Social Studies, one from Special Education, and a t h i r d one from Industrial Education are a l l teaching one block each. However, the s i t u a t i o n at th i s p a r t i c u l a r school w i l l change in 1988-89 because the Business Education department w i l l t o t a l l y s t a f f a l l the proposed blocks of Consumer Education. At E4, the s i t u a t i o n w i l l be somewhat d i f f e r e n t : because enrollment in other Business Education courses i s increasing, more course choices are being added and Consumer Education w i l l be " l e t go". As respondent E10 stated (also on s t a f f at E4), p o l i t i c a l l y i t hurt the Business Education department to keep the course during t h i s l a s t school year. The practice of handing out the course to anyone i s not the exception, as i t i s on the East side, but the rule on the West Side. Only two west side schools also exhibit 127 some of the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s which are in evidence in the more supportive East Side schools where the course i s taught at the senior l e v e l only. Or the course i s staffed by people who want to teach the course, and these people express an interest in maintaining the course by teaching i t for some length of time - in other words there i s some continuity from year to year in the s t a f f i n g , and there i s strong support for the course, either from the Business Education department head or from the person who i s responsible for teaching the t o t a l load of Consumer Education. The West side schools generally do not support the course as the East Side schools do: the course i s offered at both junior or senior l e v e l . Because of t h i s , the students are in e f f e c t taking two completely d i f f e r e n t courses for high school graduation. As well, the course i s s taffed primarily by people chosen or slo t t e d in by the administration. Teachers are those needing an extra block, whether they have expertise or desire. There are many more teachers teaching Consumer Education for the f i r s t time on the West Side. And the practice continues! At W2,W6,W7,W9, W10, W12 there w i l l be teachers teaching the course for the f i r s t time t h i s f a l l . At school W6, a 128 teacher of German was t o l d she would have to teach two blocks of Consumer Education: she has no interest in teaching i t and complained. Instead, one senior class of German was double-blocked to make up one block and she wa given a block of junior English, her second teaching specialty. Upon enquiring who was going to pick up the two blocks of Consumer Education, the reply was, "Don't worry, we'll fine someone to s t i c k i t with." In most of these west-side schools, there i s neither strong leadership nor claim of ownership for the course: no one strongly supports or advocates who should teach th course, and no one seems to care what happens to the course from year to year. Only Wl and W3 are the exception: at both of these schools there i s strong leadership for the course coming from the Business Education department. It can be speculated from th i s that re-interpretation of a course also in dependent upon the pers o n a l i t i e s of the teachers involved. At the other west side schools, there i s l i t t l e continuity of teachers and even where almost f u l l loads of Consumer Education exi s t , the load i s s p l i t up among many. The s i t u a t i o n i s exactly, the opposite on the East Side. 129 At two of the ten schools, there are teachers who teach only Consumer Education. Only one East side school s t i l l continues the practice of having no continuing teachers teaching Consumer Education. Teachers of Consumer Education on the East Side generally teach substantial loads of the course, have taught and wish to continue teaching the course. They have made an ownership claim for the course, and have administrative support to teach the course at the senior l e v e l only, with s t a f f i n g done largely on recommendations from the stronger Business Education department heads. Because there i s greater continuity of teachers and therefore teaching, there i s also greater consistency of content and greater sense of ownership and pride in doing a good job with the course. b) P e r c e i v e d S ta tus or Image: Wherever the course i s not supported or staffed indiscriminately, the image of the course becomes that of a "freebie", or "Mickey Mouse" or any number of derogatory comments. Those teachers who have been teaching the course for a number of years and have some sort of ownership associated with i t are the teachers who are most upset with the s i t u a t i o n . The beginning 130 teachers, or ones who are teaching i t against t h e i r real wishes, or who do not wish to teach i t again, are the ones who generally could not care about what happens to the course or who teaches i t in the future. As one of them said d e r i s i v e l y "There is. status to t h i s course??" A number of people commented upon the i n i t i a l perceptions of the course: how the timing of the course, the apparent bias of the course, and the late a r r i v a l of the textbook, had created the conception that the "course was kind of there", d e f i n i t e l y an unfavourable f i r s t impression of the course. The course i s seen to s t i l l be s u f f e r i n g from this image problem. Other teachers make these comments about the perception of the course: "It just doesn't have the kind of status that Physics and Chemistry and a l l those other courses do. There's very much a pecking order of people and departments." (W2). Another person comments "I think i t ' s something they don't want to teach. It's not an a t t r a c t i v e course in the sense that the kids don't treat i t l i k e i t ' s a status course. They resent i t at exam time i f I put a project on. They want to have i t in advance, get i t over with so they can take care of more serious 131 things. (W5) Respondent W6 comments "..yet they don't put the same importance on i t because they know i t doesn't count as far as government exams, entrance to university." Another teacher (W7) states that "It's not looked on as a p r o v i n c i a l or scholarship here, so that would lower i t s status in r e l a t i o n to Algebra or Biology." It would appear that on the west side, those courses which are p r o v i n c i a l l y examined are the high status courses. There was only one negative comments about status from east side teachers: she did not want to teach the course, and has asked to never teach i t again. It i s her opinion that th i s information should be taught in the home. (E4) Every other teacher teaching the course in the East side f e l t t h e i r students spent the same amount of time on Consumer Education as other courses, and f e l t that the only negative feelings towards the course were generated by those students who did not l i k e anything associated with school. Comments from East side teachers regarding the course's status or image were somewhat d i f f e r e n t : E5 commented that the "Socred" conception of the course was damaging in the eyes of some; E2 f e l t that handing the course out f r e e l y was what had caused a good number of the image 132 problems "The reaction around the school was that many people who didn't want to teach the course were teaching i t and doing a rea l hashed-up job of i t . " c ) T e r r i t o r i a l D i spu te s : The t e r r i t o r i a l disputes which were o r i g i n a l l y created with the inclusion of t h i s course in 1982, have in most schools, died a natural death. The course has been around long enought now for i t to be accepted as a f a i t accompli. None of the students currently in high school have never been in the s i t u a t i o n of not needing Consumer Education for high school graduation - i t i s something which, for them, has always been there. Some ling e r i n g hints and negative feelings s t i l l surround the course and do not add to a pos i t i v e image for the course. Five of the respondents commented on these lingering negative t e r r i t o r i a l feelings. Some of the negative comments have come from teachers in e l e c t i v e course areas and some from teachers in the "academic areas". For example, respondent W6 stated that "..the majority of 133 s t a f f would not l i k e to see i t as a required course. They f e e l i t interferes with the available e l e c t i v e s for students. When the course f i r s t came in, the comments were that Business Ed shouldn't have t h i s required course and a l o t of what we teach i s also taught in Home Ec. and in Law and Economics and Consumer Math." The opinions from Wll were "..the Industrial Education Departments has the f e e l i n g that i t s enrollment declining as a r e s u l t of t h i s course." Another person commented on the negative feelings emanating from other e l e c t i v e areas, "You'll always fi n d some who don't think i t should be a compulsory course because i t prevents them from taking other e l e c t i v e courses. I.E. don't think i t ' s a good idea; Fine Arts, same thing. It takes a kid out of c i r c u l a t i o n for a year where they could be taking other el e c t i v e s so those type of teachers have more d i f f i c u l t y . " (E2). Negative comments about Consumer Education also come from the academic areas. Respondent E5 made t h i s comment about the viewpoint of the "..academic subjects..where everyone's f i g h t i n g for space on the curriculum. I think they f e e l there should be more space for c u l t u r a l things i f you're in the English Department. Some of the Science people say there should be more emphasis on new 134 developments in science. Everyone i s vying for th e i r room on the curriculum for the changes that are happening. I think they f i n d that Consumer Education, which i s the most recent compulsory course, i s the one that's impeded them." At two of the West Side schools which have Mini Schools or special programmes for the s c h o l a s t i c a l l y able students, the-students are not timetabled for Consumer Education in with other students of the school, but have the course taught by someone from an "academic" area who borrows time from Consumer Education when i t i s needed. At yet another West Side school which has a spec i a l i z e d Language programme, Consumer Education i s taught in French, but without French language materials, and by teachers who are only teaching i t to f i l l t h e i r load. In the two West Side schools where Consumer Education does fare better than most, teachers at these schools readily admit to teaching the course as "an academic".(W3) At another school, plans for the 1988-89 school year w i l l mean that everyone taking the course w i l l "take a f i n a l exam. I just want to push the kids a l i t t l e b i t here and give them more prep for post-secondary."(Wl) 135 Summary Statements about Factors which contribute to the current State of Consumer Education. Respondents i d e n t i f i e d three factors which d i r e c t l y contributed to or created the current state of the Consumer Education course: s t a f f i n g p o l i c i e s of the various schools, the course's image, and the subject-area t e r r i t o r i a l disputes. The following i s a summary of s t a f f i n g practices which prove detrimental to the.course: 1. Assignment rather than recruitment of interested and q u a l i f i e d personnel; 2. Use of the course as a timetable f i l l e r creates many singleton teaching blocks. Where a number of blocks exist, these should be handled as a d e f i n i t e teaching load and taught by one teacher. Detrimental s t a f f i n g p o l i c i e s produce a large segment of Consumer Education teachers who are d i s s a t i s f i e d and disinterested. Inconsistent standards and content 136 coverage are the end r e s u l t of these detrimental p o l i c i e s . The second factor i d e n t i f i e d by Consumer Education teachers was the image of the course. Their comments indicate the course suffers from a low status for a variety of reasons: 1. It i s not an academic course and i s therefore perceived to be of less value, not only by students but by colleagues as well; 2. Because i t does not have a p r o v i n c i a l examination, i t i s not used for university entrance q u a l i f i c a t i o n s ; 3. Inconsistent standards, at both the macro and micro le v e l s , give 'mixed' messages to students about the importance of the course; Lingering remnants of the t e r r i t o r i a l i n f i g h t i n g which peaked in 1982 are s t i l l present and contributing to non- supportive teaching sit u a t i o n s . These negative influences can be summarized as follows: 137 1. Some el e c t i v e course areas regard Consumer Education as the c u l p r i t for the demise of t h e i r p a r t i c u l a r e l e c t i v e area. 2. Many teachers of academic subjects regard Consumer Education as an encroachment into c u r r i c u l a r time: time which could be devoted to t h e i r p a r t i c u l a r subject area. 3. Failure of Consumer Education teachers to create t h e i r own subject area inte r e s t group which would function to protect and defend the course against i t s c r i t i c s . The conclusions and implications of these findings w i l l be discussed in the next chapter. 138 CHAPTER SIX; CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS The purpose of t h i s f i n a l chapter i s to present a summary of the major findings followed by the conclusions and implications of the study. Directions for further study w i l l be presented at the end of the chapter. The summary of the major,findings i s a condensation of the findings as presented i n Chapters Four and Five. The major findings are organised around the general research questions presented in Chapter 1 and are discussed under the headings corresponding to the two research questions. Major findings w i l l be presented f i r s t , and then the conclusions and educational implications of these findings w i l l be presented and discussed. 139 Summary of Major F i n d i n g s : Research Question One: What i s the current state of the Consumer Education course in the Vancouver school d i s t r i c t ? The interviews conducted with 23 pr a c t i t i o n e r s of the course provided the information which when compiled and categorized provided several major findings about the current state of the course. The major findings were as follows: 1. In a l l 18 schools, the course operates within the Business Education Department. Many of the teachers currently teaching the course had not asked to teach the course, but were assigned to teach the course. Of the 23 respondents sampled in thi s study, 12 had been assigned to teach the course. 2. Because of the high numbers of teachers who have been assigned to teach the course, there are two d i s t i n c t groups of teachers involved in the teaching of the course: those who have requested to teach the course and wish to continue to teach the course; and those who 140 have been assigned to teach the course and, in many cases, would prefer not to continue teaching the course. 3. The course i t s e l f requires a high l e v e l of energy and teacher input because of the d i v e r s i t y of content. There i s a continual need to keep informed about changes in l e g i s l a t i o n , and other information pertaining to the course. 4. Audio-visual resources need extensive updating. Copies of audio-visual resources which relate to the prescribed content areas, for example Taxation and Money Management,' should be in every school. Respondents indicate the need for a d i f f e r e n t textbook for the junior course, Consumer Education 9/10. 5. D i s t r i c t l e v e l professional development seminars are excellent, but there i s a need for continued support for the course. Appointment.of a d i s t r i c t "helping teacher" responsible for t h i s course was i d e n t i f i e d as a need by the respondents. 6. Macro l e v e l p o l i c i e s o r i g i n a t i n g from the Ministry of 141 Education have created a c u r r i c u l a r position for t h i s course which i s unique. Because i t i s a compulsory course, i t i s in a protected position and schools are required to a l l o t c u r r i c u l a r time and space for i t . Even though Ministry guidelines have prescribed content areas, at present there i s no mechanism in place to ensure the Ministry guidelines are being followed. Throughout the Vancouver School D i s t r i c t , there i s only limited evidence of adherence to Ministry Guidelines. 7. School-based support for the course, emanating from the administration of the school and/or from the teachers within the school varies from being very supportive, to being very unsupportive. In general, greater school-based support for the course exists in east side schools than in west side schools. 8. Both the Consumer Education 9/10 course and the Consumer Education 12 course have been substantially modified, or reinterpreted, in the Vancouver School D i s t r i c t . There i s l i t t l e evidence of city-wide consistency of course content, and of o v e r a l l course requirements or standards. Every secondary school teaches a d i f f e r e n t version of the course, and in many schools, 142 p a r t i c u l a r l y on the west side of the c i t y , there i s l i t t l e consistency of content or standards even between the teachers of the same school. Conclusions: Research Question One: From the findings presented above, two conclusions were reached about the current state of the Consumer Education course within the Vancouver School D i s t r i c t : 1. The course has been substantially reinterpreted at the school l e v e l for a number of reasons. 2. Macro l e v e l p o l i c i e s pertaining to t h i s course need attention and r e v i s i o n . Summary of Major F i n d i n g s : Research question Two: Factors or issues which contribute to the current state of the Consumer Education course: Teachers of the course i d e n t i f i e d three factors which seriously a f f e c t the course and contribute to the substantial re i n t e r p r e t a t i o n which the course undergoes. 143 A l l three factors relate to the atmosphere or school-based support at t h e i r p a r t i c u l a r school, and are as follows: 1. S t a f f i n g considerations were either "supportive" or "non-supportive". 2. The perceived image of the course has contributed to i t s current status. 3. The remnants of t e r r i t o r i a l disputes produce negative feelings about the course. Conclusions and Implications of these findings as related to Research Question Two: The conclusions and educational implications that are reached from i d e n t i f i c a t i o n of these factors w i l l be presented next. 1. Schools treated the course in either "supportive" or "non-supportive" manners. From the interviews and analysis of the data contained in these interviews, the following picture emerges: in some schools, Consumer Education has become an accepted r e a l i t y and i s promoted 144 or supported as a c t i v e l y as the other courses, and in some schools, Consumer Education i s not supported and i s treated as a "second cla s s " subject. Schools on Vancouver's east side exhibit, in general, much more school-based support for the course than those of the west side. It may be the influences emanating from the community surrounding the p a r t i c u l a r school which shape the Consumer Education course offered within the micro context of the school. Influences such as the socio-economic l e v e l of the immediate school a f f e c t what happens within the school and to the courses offered at the school. It can be speculated that the lower socio-economic levels of Vancouver's east side contribute to the Consumer Education course being perceived with greater relevance by students from such a home background. Perhaps because fewer of these same students continue t h e i r education at post- secondary i n s t i t u t i o n s , i t i s of greater importance to prepare them for the r e a l i t y of the l i f e which w i l l begin soon afte r high school. Perhaps the administrators of 145 these same schools r e a l i z e the relevance of the course, and thus become more supportive in th e i r management of the course. The east-west s p l i t between supportive and non-supportive management of the course i s not cleanly divided upon geographic and socio-economic l i n e s . The a f f e c t of ind i v i d u a l teachers pers o n a l i t i e s also contributes to what happens with the course. The importance of teacher personality i s in evidence in two west side situations where the course fares well, even though the administration does not perceive the course to be as important as the academic offerings of the school. Teacher personality can also negatively a f f e c t the course: one east side teacher rea d i l y admitted having no desire to teach the course, and prepared for i t accordingly. Schools which are "supportive" to Consumer Education exhibit the following school-based c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s : f i r s t , support from administration and the Business Education department; and second, creation of a subject area inter e s t group or constituency. These c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s w i l l be examined in that order. 146 Administrative and Department Head Support: At the "supportive" schools, both the administration and the Business Department support each other in areas concerning the o v e r a l l routine management of the course. This mutually supportive arrangement manifests i t s e l f in a number of ways: the s t a f f i n g of the course - where the teachers come from, t h e i r expertise, the amount of continuity in s t a f f from year to year; how the course i s timetabled - as a f i l l e r , or given out as a substantial load to a q u a l i f i e d person; and at which le v e l the course i s offered - junior or senior. The atmosphere of east side schools tends to be more, supportive to the course, perhaps because these administrators are influenced by the communities which t h e i r schools serve. The importance of administrative support was a finding of much research into c u r r i c u l a r innovations. Gross, Giaquinta, and Bernstein (1975) i d e n t i f i e d negative or non-supportive administrative attitudes as a major bar r i e r to e f f e c t i v e use of new c u r r i c u l a r material and courses. Fullan (1979) stated that administrative support was a c r i t i c a l factor for achieving success. Administrative support should not just be to provide resources and 147 m a t e r i a l , but should a l s o ensure p r o f e s s i o n a l development was o c c u r r i n g , t h a t teachers were encouraged to use and adapt m a t e r i a l s , t h a t teachers understood and were p h i l o s o p h i c a l l y committed to the c u r r i c u l a r i n n o v a t i o n . 2. Development of a Co n s t i t u e n c y : The second c o n c l u s i o n was t h a t s u p p o r t i v e a d m i n i s t r a t i v e p r a c t i c e s f o r the course would a s s i s t c r e a t i o n of a s u b j e c t - a r e a c o n s t i t u e n c y or " i n t e r e s t group" which would f u n c t i o n to p r o t e c t and promote the image of the course. K i r s t and M e i s t e r (1985) i d e n t i f i e d three c r u c i a l a t t r i b u t e s which c o n t r i b u t e d to the " i n s i t u t i o n a l i z i n g " of a c u r r i c u l a r i n n o v a t i o n . These three a t t r i b u t e s were the c r e a t i o n of new o r g a n i z a t i o n s or new s p e c i a l i z e d personnel a s s o c i a t e d with the i n n o v a t i o n , the subsequent formation of a s u b j e c t - a r e a c o n s t i t u e n c y which would p r o t e c t and promote the area, and f i n a l l y , the e f f e c t i v e n e s s of the i n n o v a t i o n should be e a s i l y t e s t e d or monitored. U n f o r t u n a t e l y , the Consumer Education i n n o v a t i o n does not have any one of these three a t t i b u t e s a s s o c i a t e d with i t . 148 3. Course Image or Status: Creation of a subject constituency would improve the image of the course. The low status of the course i s in part due to what Goodson (1983) labels i t s u t i l i t a r i a n t r a d i t i o n . U t i l i t a r i a n knowledge deals with the commonsense, or world of work. Goodson's research outlines the r e a l i t y of courses which are considered " u t i l i t a r i a n " . U t i l i t a r i a n courses receive fewer resources, the less able students and o f f e r the teachers who teach these courses fewer opportunities for career advancement. Courses which have high-status knowledge are those from the "academic" t r a d i t i o n . Goodson contends that teachers of high-status courses conspire to retain t h e i r advantageous position within the school system by creating formidable a l l i a n c e s between t h e i r high status subject communities and outside agencies such as external examinations and university entrance requirements which serve to validate and perpetuate these high status positions. 4. Because u n i v e r s i t i e s do not consider Consumer Education and many other courses with a " u t i l i t a r i a n " knowledge t r a d i t i o n as acceptable for determining 149 university entrance, many students perceive such courses as lacking importance or status. Reid (1983) commented that schools were not able to withstand or counteract the res t r a i n t s placed by these outside agencies. Several west side schools admit t h e i r treatment of the course i s "academic". A number of the respondents see i n s t i g a t i o n of a f i n a l examination as a possible method for r a i s i n g the status of the course. 5. The culture of schools in general promotes the status quo and i s therefore resi s t a n t to change.- This i s not to say that change does not happen in schools. There have been and continue to be many c u r r i c u l a r innovations which are introduced into the educational realm, Consumer Education being an example. Whether the c u r r i c u l a r innovations become i n s t i t u t i o n a l i z e d , or fade into o b l i v i o n i s of inte r e s t . Both Wolcott (1977) and Lor t i e (1975) stated that the culture of schools was in equilibrium and therefore s t a b i l i t y of the system i s maintained even when there are ef f o r t s to change. Conservative teacher b e l i e f systems are characterized by i n d i v i d u a l i s t i c attitudes which are not open to c o l l e g i a l teaching methods. Common (1983) 150 stated that teachers "choose to maintain the way of l i f e in classrooms they f i n d desirable". The implication of such l i t e r a t u r e i s that a number of c u r r i c u l a r innovations w i l l not be successful, in part due to the nature of the school community. Many w i l l be successful, even though the climate of the school world i s not conducive to the changes. The personality of i n d i v i d u a l teachers, as evidenced in two west side situations where Consumer Education fares well, or in east side situations where the course does not fare well, indicate the importance of this factor. Recommendations: This section w i l l discuss two recommendations which pertain to the future of the Consumer Education course: the need for establishment of a subject-area constituency; and r e v i s i o n ,of Ministry p o l i c i e s pertaining to t h i s course. 1. A vacuum for leadership currently surrounds t h i s course. The course suffers wherever there i s weak department head leadership, or frequent turnover of the s t a f f teaching the course, and an administration which 151 1 assigns the course without consideration for desire or expertise. The course would benefit from the establishment of a subject-area constituency. Establishment of a subject constituency would a s s i s t with micro l e v e l course reinterpretations. Rather than having the current s i t u a t i o n continue with every school reinterpreting the course in many d i f f e r e n t ways, establishment of a subject constituency would serve to promote and protect the course. 2. The Business Education Curriculum revis i o n i s underway, with September 1990 as the deadline for implementation of the revised curriculum. The following excerpt from the Statement of Intents (January, 1988) mentioned the future for Consumer Education: "Consumer Education 9/10 w i l l be replaced by a broader based Business Education 10 course and Consumer Education 12 w i l l remain in the curriculum as an e l e c t i v e . The content of Consumer Education 9/10 w i l l be incorporated into the new course and other curriculum areas where appropriate. The implementation of Business Eduation 10 - compulsory or e l e c t i v e - w i l l be discussed aft e r the findings of the Royal Commission on Education have been released and the entire junior secondary programs have been studied. 152 Consumer Education at the 9/10 or 12 l e v e l w i l l remain compulsory u n t i l the implementation of the new Business Education curriculum in 1990." The in d i c a t i o n i s that Consumer Education w i l l no longer be a compulsory course. The Business Education departments have been o f f e r i n g many new courses in the la s t few years due to growing acceptance and use of the microcomputer in homes and in o f f i c e s . With the advent of new courses such as Introductory Data Processing, and J Keyboarding, the Business Education departments are no longer victims of declining enrollments or decreased status. Therefore, protection and control of Consumer Education i s no longer of v i t a l importance to the Business Education departments. The new course offerings w i l l ensure the future position of the Business Education Departments. Macro l e v e l p o l i c i e s o r i g i n a t i n g from the Ministry of Education should be revised so that i t s expectations for the course are being met. If the course i s going to continue as a compulsory graduation requirement, then the issue of province-wide standards needs to be addressed. Fullan and Pomfret (1977) i d e n t i f i e d the 153 importance of the p o l i t i c a l organizations upon the implmentation of c u r r i c u l a r innovations. K i r s t and Meister (1985) suggested that ea s i l y - a c c e s s i b l e evidence of compliance was one of three attributes necessary for i n s t i t u t i o n a l i z a t i o n of a c u r r i c u l a r innovation. In the case of Consumer Education, mechanisms for determining evidence of compliance are not in operation. To continue of f e r i n g the course as i t exists today w i l l compound the problems of reinterpretation and lack of province-wide standards and expectations for the course. The Ministry of Education needs to formulate a clear policy with respect to desired standards and expectations for t h i s course. Summation: This study indicates that the Consumer Education course has been su b s t a n t i a l l y reinterpreted from the course-as- planned into the course-as-practiced for a variety of reasons. Macro p o l i c i e s which f a i l to address issues such as consistency of content and standards for grading have contributed to the s i t u a t i o n currently a f f e c t i n g the 154 course. The course has also undergone substantial reinterpretation as a res u l t of the influences from the l o c a l communities which the schools serve, from the ind i v i d u a l teachers involved in the teaching of the course, and from the p o l i c i e s of the d i f f e r e n t schools which a f f e c t s t a f f i n g of the course and the grade l e v e l at which the course i s offered. This study also indicates that school-based support i s c r i t i c a l to the future of t h i s course. The course would benefit from the presence of a "supportive" administrative atmosphere and the development of a subject area constituency of teachers who would promote and protect the course. Lack of a supportive atmosphere or f a i l u r e to create a subject community may contribute to the eventual demise of the course. 155 Directions for Further Study: The following are suggestions for further study: 1. The findings of t h i s study indicate the importance of a number of factors which contribute to the re- interpretation of c u r r i c u l a r material and innovations. Studies which examine the i n t e r a c t i v e influences of teachers, students, department heads and administrators upon c u r r i c u l a r innovations and implementations could be the subject of further research. 2. Assessments should be made of the course-as-practiced in other p r o v i n c i a l school d i s t r i c t s . 156 REFERENCES Borg, W.R. and G a l l , M.D. Educational Research. New York: Longman, 1983. Common, D., Who should have the power to change schools: Teachers or policy-makers? Education Canada. 23(2). 4 1 - 4 5 , 1983. Este, W. The implementation of Consumer Education in the province of B r i t i s h Columbia: an interim theme analysis. Vancouver School Board: Program Services. 1983. Fleming, T. Restraint, reform, and r e a l l o c a t i o n . Education Canada, 2 5 m . 5-11. 1985. Fullan, M. and Pomfret, A. Research on curriculum and i n s t r u c t i o n implementation. Review of educational research. Winter, 1977, Vol. 77, No. 1, 335 -337 . Fullan, M. The Meaning of Educational Change. Toronto: OISE Press/ The Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, 1982. Goodson, I. School Sub.iects and Curriculum Change. London: Croon Helm, 1983. Goodson, I. School Sub.iects and Curriculum Change London: The Falmer Press, 1987. Gross, N., Giaquinta, J. and Bernstein, M. Implementing organizational innovations: a s o c i o l o g i c a l analysis of planned educational change. New York: Basic Books, 1971. Horn, G. Consumer Education: a c r i t i c i s m from the P o l i t i c a l Perspective. Vancouver: Center for Study of Curriculum and Instruction, University of B r i t i s h Columbia, 1986. House, E.R. Technology versus c r a f t : a ten.year perspective on innovation. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 1 ( 1 ) , 1-5. 1979. 157 Kettle, H. and McCreary, E., Report on the impact of Consumer Education courses in Vancouver schools during 1982-1983. Vancouver School Board: Program Services. 1983. K i r s t , M. and Meister, G. Turbulence, in American Secondary Schools: What Reforms Last? Curriculum Inquiry. 15(2), 169-186. 1985. Leithwood, K.A. and Montgomery, D.J. Improving classroom practice : using innovation p r o f i l e s . Toronto: OISE Press, 1987. Lorti e , D., School teacher: a s o c i o l o g i c a l study. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, .1975. Miles, M. Unravelling the mystery of i n s t i t u t i o n a l i z a t i o n . Educational Leadership. 41(3). 14-19. 1983. Ministry of Education, Province of B r i t i s h Columbia, The Minister's F a l l Forum. 1980. Ministry of Education, Province of B r i t i s h Columbia. Educat ion: A Report from the Minister. 1981a. Ministry of Education, Province of B r i t i s h Columbia. Ministry Policy C i r c u l a r #144. V i c t o r i a : Curriculum Development Branch. 1981. Ministry of Education, Province of B r i t i s h Columbia. Ministry Policy C i r c u l a r #158. V i c t o r i a : Curriculum Development Branch. 1982. Ministry of Education, Province of B r i t i s h Columbia. Business Education Curriculum update. V i c t o r i a : Curriculum Development Branch. 1988. Reid, W. Curriculum change and the evolution of educational constituencies: The English sixth form in the nineteenth century. In I. Goodson, (Ed.). Social h i s t o r i e s of the secondary curriculum: Subjects for study. (pp289-311). London: Falmer Press, 1985. 158 Sudman, S. and Bradburn, N. Asking Questions. San Franciso: Jossey-Bass, 1983. Wolcott, H. Teachers vs technocrats. Eugene: Center for Educational Policy and Management, University of Oregon, 1977. 159 Appendix A_j Interview Guide "Today I would l i k e to ask you some questions about your experience teaching the Consumer Education course." Section 1: Demographic Information: 1. For how long have you been teaching? And how long with the Vancouver school d i s t r i c t ? Your experience at t h i s p a r t i c u l a r school community has been for how long? Have you taught i n any other d i s t r i c t s or at any other levels and i f so, for how long or at what levels? 2 . From which University did you graduate? And from what faculty? And your area of specialty was what? 3. If you were to categorize yourself as a s p e c i a l i s t teacher in any p a r t i c u l a r area, for example Sciences or Physical Education, how would you categorize yourself? 160 4. Into which age group would you f a l l : 25-35, 36-45, 46-55, 55+? Section 2: Socio-Context: p a r t i c u l a r school community: 5. I would l i k e to know how you became a Consumer Education teacher. Was i t a course you wanted to teach or was i t assigned to you? Why did you want to teach the course? 6. In your t o t a l teaching load, you teach how many blocks? How does the timetable operate? How many of those teaching blocks are Consumer Education? And the le v e l or levels you teach are? 7. At your school, how many blocks of Consumer Education were taught l a s t year? Does a department head claim r e s p o n s i b i l i t y f or t h i s course? Which one? Should the course f a l l under the j u r i s d i c t i o n of a p a r t i c u l a r department? Which one would seem to be the 161 most appropriate? 8. During t h i s l a s t year, did you team-teach your class(es) or were you s o l e l y responsible for teaching your classes of Consumer Education? How did t h i s a lternative arrangement arise? Sec t i on 3: Resources fo r t e ach ing : 9. When you started preparing for the course, what did you do to get the information and resources you needed? 10. Overall, which of the resources proved to be esp e c i a l l y valuable for you? Why was this? 11. Which of the resources proved to be of l i t t l e value? And why? 12. If you were asked to rate the prescribed textbook on a scale of 1 to 7 where 1 i s the low end, how would you rate the textbook? 162 13. Using the same scale of 1 through 7, how would you rate the amount of time and energy you devoted to thi s course t h i s year? Section 4: Shape of the Curriculum taught: 14. I'm curious to know which topics you taught during the year, and also the order and approximate amount of time spent on each. Do you have a copy of your course outline which could be used for reference? If not, I have a copy of the Curriculum guide that we can use for reference. Is thi s your own personal outline or something you have adapted from another source? What did you teach th i s year? 15. I notice you have emphasized these topics: . Why was this? 16. Were there any topics which you just didn't cover thi s year, for whatever reason? Was i t just a matter or' 163 time, or was i t for some other reason? 17. Do you f e e l the amount of time a l l o t t e d for t h i s course i s appropriate, or i s i t too much time? 18. Next year, i f you're teaching the course again, would you make any changes from what you did thi s year? For what reasons would you make these changes? S e c t i o n 5: Grading Considerations: 19. At t h i s p a r t i c u l a r school, how i s the grading done for the course? How i s consistency of grading ensured between the various teachers teaching t h i s course? 20. Are there any year-end or cross-grade exams for t h i s course? Who makes up these exams? 21. How does your school ensure there i s some 164 sort of content consistency taught in thi s course? Section 6: Ministry of Education requirements; 22. Do you think t h i s course should continue as a compulsory graduation requirement? Why or why not? 23. Would a Provincial Exam for thi s course be appropriate? Why or why not? Section 7: Attitudes towards the course: 24. T e l l me what sort of reactions or comments you get from your students about this course. And from the parents? 25. How supportive i s the administration to thi s course? Do you think they view i t as an important course in the school? Why do you think t h i s i s the case? 26. What comments do you get about th i s course 165 from your colleagues? 27. What sort of comments do you make about the course? Section ?: Suggestions for course improvement; 28. During the time you have taught th i s course, there have probably been ideas or thoughts you have had about how the course could be improved. If you could make any suggestions, what do you think needs to be done to improve th i s course? Thank you for your time and comments. 166 A P P E N D I X B : I n t e r v i e w N o t e s 1 . Q . H o w l o n g t e a c h i n g ? A . 1 2 y e a r s Q . A l l w i t h V a n c o u v e r ? A . A l l w i t h V a n c o u v e r Q . H o w l o n g w i t h t h i s s c h o o l ? A . 1 2 y e a r s Q . F r o m w h i c h u n i v e r s i t y d i d y o u g r a d u a t e ? A . U B C w i t h a B . E d , i n G e o g r a p h y a n d E c o n o m i c s 3 . Q . A g e g r o u p ? A . 2 5 - 3 5 2 . Q . H o w w o u l d y o u c a t e g o r i z e y o u r s e l f a s t o t y p e o f t e a c h e r ? A . B u s i n e s s E d 4 . Q ' . H o w d i d y o u b e c o m e a C o n s u m e r E d t e a c h e r ? A . B y c h o i c e . I a s k e d t o t e a c h i t . Q . D i d y o u a s k t o t e a c h i t r i g h t f r o m 1 9 8 2 ? A . N o , 1 9 8 5 Q . W h a t p e r k e d y o u r i n t e r e s t ? A . I t h o u g h t i t w a s a w o r t h w h i l e c o u r s e . S o m e t h i n g ' t h e k i d s c o u l d r e l a t e t o a n d u s e . 5 . Q . D o y o u t e a c h t h e c l a s s e s 3 t i m e s a w e e k ? A p p r o x i m a t e l y 1 1 0 h o u r s / y e a r ? A . Y e s Q . D o e s a n y b o d y t a k e t i m e o u t o f y o u r c o u r s e ? A . F a m i l y L i f e t h i s y e a r t o o k 4 c l a s s e s . Q . W h e n y o u d i d y o u r t e a c h i n g f o r t h i s c l a s s , d i d y o u d o e v e r y t h i n g y o u r s e l f o r d i d y o u t e a m i t u p ? A . B a s i c a l l y . N o ( d i d n ' t t e a m i t u p ) . Q . H o w m a n y b l o c k s o f t h i s d o y o u t e a c h ? A . 6 o u t o f 8 b l o c k s . I h a v e 2 p r e p s . I g e t a n e x t r a o n e b e c a u s e I ' m t h e a u d i o - v i s u a l c o o r d i n a t o r . Q . S o y o u r w h o l e l o a d t h e n i s C E ? A . Y e s , b y c h o i c e . Q . H o w m a n y b l o c k s o f C E a r e t h e r e a t t h i s s c h o o l ? A . 8 o r 9 . P r o b a b l y 9 . Q . D o e s a n y b o d y d o 9 / 1 0 ? A . N o t a t t h i s s c h o o l . 167 5 . Q . F o r C E 1 2 , c a n 1 1 ' s a n d 1 2 1 s g o i n t o i t ? A . M o s t l y 1 2 ' s b u t a f e w 1 1 1 s . T h e 1 2 ' s a r e e n c o u r a g e d t o t a k e i t i n G r a d e 1 2 . Q . W h o e n c o u r a g e s t h e m ? A . T h e a d m i n i s t r a t i o n . Q . A n d t h e C o u n s e l l i n g D e p a r t m e n t t o o ? A . A s f a r a s I k n o w . Q . H o w d i d t h i s c o m e a b o u t t h a t i t w a s j u s t t o b e a t 1 2 ? A . R a t h e r t h a n o f f e r i n g b o t h , I s u p p o s e t h e a d m i n i s t r a t i o n f e l t t h a t t h e y h a d t o m a k e a d e c i s i o n w h e r e t h e y w e r e g o i n g t o o f f e r i t a n d t h e y - c h o s e t o d o i t a t t h e 1 2 . Q . A n d a s f a r a s y o u k n o w , i t w a s l a r g e l y t h e a d m i n i s - t r a t i o n ' s d e c i s i o n ? A . I ' v e c o m m e n t e d t o t h e a d m i n i s t r a t i o n t h a t I b e l i e v e i t s h o u l d b e a t t h e G r a d e 1 1 / 1 2 l e v e l . I d o n ' t t h i n k i t w o u l d b e a s m u c h o f a b e n e f i t a t t h e G r a d e 9 / 1 0 l e v e l . A l s o , y o u h a v e t o l i m i t t h e n u m b e r o f c o u r s e s t h a t t h e k i d s t a k e t h a t a r e s i m i l a r . I f a k i d t o o k 9 / 1 0 a n d t h e n t o o k 1 2 , t h e y ' r e g o i n g t o g e t a l o t o f r e p e a t . 6 . Q . W h e n y o u s t a r t e d p r e p a r i n g f o r t h e c o u r s e , w h a t d i d y o u u s e f o r r e s o u r c e s ? W h a t d i d y o u e n d u p u s i n g a n d w h a t d o y o u s t i l l u s e a l o t ? A . I t o o k t h e C u r r i c u l u m G u i d e a n d l o o k e d a t t h e t o p i c s a n d I l o o k e d a t t h e t e x t b o o k a n d I u s e d i t a s a g u i d e b u t I f o u n d I h a d t o s u p p l e m e n t a l o t o f m a t e r i a l . A l o t o f i t w a s d a t e d ; I d i d n ' t l i k e a l o t o f t h e m a t e r i a l s o I l o o k e d e l s e w h e r e . 7 . Q . C a n y o u r e m e m b e r w h i c h c h a p t e r s y o u f o u n d r e a l l y l a c k i n g ? A . D e f i n i t e l y t h e o n e o n C o n s u m e r L a w a n d C o n t r a c t L a w . I f o u n d t h e C o n t r a c t L a w i n t h e r e t o b e v e r y p o o r . C o n t r a c t L a w i s v e r y i m p o r t a n t i n t h e c o u r s e i n t e r m s o f a l o t o f t h e o t h e r t o p i c s . T r a n s p o r t a t i o n w a s a l l r i g h t b u t I d i d a l o t o f s u p p l e m e n t i n g t h e r e . I f o c u s e d o n p u r c h a s i n g a u s e d c a r a s w e l l a s a n e w c a r a n d s o m e o f t h e l e g a l i t i e s o f i t i n B . C . a n d I f o u n d t h e b o o k w a s l a c k i n g t h e r e . F a m i l y L a w - I d i d n ' t t h i n k w a s v e r y w e l l d o n e . L i f e I n s u r a n c e , W i l l s - n o t g o o d e n o u g h . E m p l o y e e / E m p l o y e r R i g h t s a n d O b l i g a t i o n s - l i m i t e d i n t h e b o o k . C a r e e r P l a n n i n g - p o o r . T a x a t i o n - f o r g e t a b o u t i t . Q . H o w w o u l d y o u r a t e t h i s t e x t b o o k : g e n e r a l l y , 1 a s l o w a n d 7 a s h i g h ? A . 4 1 6 8 8 . Q . H o w m u c h t i m e a n d e n e r g y d o y o u s p e n d o n t h i s c o u r s e , i f y o u h a d t o r a t e i t ? A . I f I h a d t o r a t e i t n o w , p r o b a b l y 6 . I n t e r m s o f a l l t h e o t h e r c o u r s e s I ' v e t a u g h t - I ' v e t a u g h t a l l t h e S o c i a l s S t u d i e s a n d E n g l i s h - m o r e t h a n a n y o t h e r c o u r s e . Q . W h y i s t h a t ? I s i t b e c a u s e t h e r e s o u r c e s a r e p o o r ? T o k e e p u p t o d a t e ? A . T o k e e p u o t o d a t e . 9 . Q . W h a t d o y o u e m p h a s i z e i n y o u r c o u r s e ? A . I t h i n k u n d e r l y i n g t h e m e s a r e i m p o r t a n t . O n e o f t h e u n d e r l y i n g t h e m e s w o u l d b e e l e m e n t s o f a c o n t r a c t , a n d c o n t r a c t s i n g e n e r a l b e c a u s e t h e y f i t i n t o m o s t o f t h e s e c t i o n s . Q . S o d o y o u d o a n e x t e n s i v e s e c t i o n o n c o n t r a c t s ? A . I d o n ' t s p e n d 1 0 p e r i o d s o n c o n t r a c t s . I g i v e t h e m t h e b a s i c s o f a c o n t r a c t a n d c o n t r a c t l a w a n d t h e n k e e p r e f e r r i n g t o i t i n a l l t h e t o p i c s . I t ' s a n u n d e r l y i n g t h e m e . S u p p l y a n d D e m a n d - t h a t ' s a n u n d e r l y i n g t h e m e . I d o n ' t t e a c h i t a s a l e s s o n b u t i t k e e p s c o m i n g u p . I k e e p r e f e r r i n g t o i t a n d t h e y u n d e r s t a n d t h e c o n c e p t s b y t h e t i m e I f i n i s h . F i n a n c i a l M a n a g e m e n t i n g e n e r a l i s a n u n d e r l y i n g t h e m e b e c a u s e i t c o m e s b a c k w i t h m a n y o f t h e t o p i c s w h e t h e r y o u ' r e t a l k i n g a b o u t C r e d i t o r T r a n s p o r t a t i o n . T h e w h o l e e l e m e n t o f B u d g e t i n g . Q . A n d d o y o u d o S a v i n g s a n d I n v e s t i n g ? A . Y e s . B u t B u d g e t i n g c o m e s b a c k i n m a n y o f t h e t o p i c s , w h e t h e r i t b e C r e d i t o r T r a n s p o r t a t i o n . E v e n i n F a m i l y L a w w h e n y o u d o M a r r i a g e , i t c o m e s b a c k t o B u d g e t i n g . I w o u l d t h i n k t h a t t h o s e a r e t h e u n d e r l y i n g t h e m e s t h a t I s t r e s s . 1 0 . Q . C a r e e r P l a n n i n g ? A . I d o i t b u t a t t h e e n d o f t h e y e a r w h e n I h a v e 3 o r 4 l e s s o n s w h e n n o t a l l m y s t u d e n t s a r e h e r e . I f e e l t h a t I a p p r o a c h i t f r o m a l i t t l e d i f f e r e n t p e r s p e c t i v e t h a n d o t h e c o u n s e l l o r s . Q . W h a t a b o u t F o o d s a n d N u t r i t i o n ? A . D o n ' t t o u c h t h a t . 1 6 9 1 0 . Q . I s t h e r e a n y t h i n g e l s e y o u d o n ' t d o ? ( H e ' s l o o k i n g a t t h e t e x t b o o k . ) A . I d o n ' t d o t h e u n i t o n B a s i c E c o n o m i c P r i n c i p l e s - n o t s p e c i f i c a l l y a s a u n i t b u t I t a l k a b o u t t h e m a r k e t s y s t e m , a n d s u p p l y a n d d e m a n d . D e c i s i o n - M a k i n g - t h a t ' s a n o t h e r u n d e r l y i n g t h e m e . I d o n ' t t e a c h i t a s a u n i t ; I t e a c h i t a s I g o a l o n g w i t h a l l t h e o t h e r t o p i c s . I d o n o t d o A d v e r t i s i n g . I t ' s d o n e i n M a r k e t i n g . A l a r g e n u m b e r o f o u r s t u d e n t s t a k e M a r k e t i n g 1 1 a s w e l l a s 1 2 . I t ' s a l s o d o n e w i t h m a n y o f t h e E n g l i s h t e a c h e r s . S o I t h o u g h t i t w o u l d b e j u s t t o o r e p e t i t i v e . T h e y ' r e a w a r e o f t h e l a w s a s s o c i a t e d w i t h a d v e r t i s i n g b u t t h a t ' s i t . C o m p a r i s o n S h o p p i n g i s n o t d o n e a s a u n i t b u t i t ' s d o n e t h r o u g h o u t - i t ' s p a r t o f D e c i s i o n - M a k i n g . T h a t ' s w h a t I d o n ' t d o . 9 . Q . W h o m a d e u p t h i s o u t l i n e ? A . I d i d . F r o m t h e C u r r i c u l u m G u i d e . Q . D o e s t h e o t h e r t e a c h e r u s e t h e o u t l i n e ? A . T h e o t h e r t e a c h e r u s e d t h e o u t l i n e . T h e r e a r e t w o o t h e r t e a c h e r s - o n e u s e d t h e o u t l i n e ; t h e o t h e r d i d n o t . H e h a s t a u g h t i t f o r a n u m b e r o f y e a r s , l o n g e r t h a n I h a v e , a n d h e d o e s n ' t w a n t t o u s e t h e p a r t i c u l a r o u t l i n e I ' m u s i n g . 1 2 . Q . H o w d o y o u f i n d t h e l e n g t h o f t i m e y o u h a v e t o t e a c h t h i s c o u r s e ? A . I f y o u d i d e v e r y t h i n g i n t h e C u r r i c u l u m G u i d e , i t ' s n o t a d e q u a t e . Y o u h a v e t o p i c k a n d c h o o s e . I d o n ' t t h i n k y o u ' d w a n t m o r e t h a n a y e a r o f t h i s b u t I w o u l d l i k e t o h a v e a f e w e x t r a m o n t h s . 1 3 . Q . I n o t i c e y o u r g r a d i n g s c a l e l o o k s l i k e g o v e r n m e n t s t a n d a r d ? A . Y e s , g o v e r n m e n t s t a n d a r d . Q . H o w d o y o u g r a d e y o u r k i d s ? A . T h e y g e t i t f o r p a r t i c i p a t i o n i n c l a s s , h o m e w o r k a s s i g n m e n t s , q u i z z e s , e x a m s , p r o j e c t s , g r o u p w o r k . Q . H o w m u c h o f t h e i r m a r k , p e r c e n t a g e - w i s e , d o y o u g i v e f o r p a r t i c i p a t i o n ? A . A b o u t 2 0 % . Q . D o y o u d i n g t h e m i f t h e y ' r e l a t e ? A . F o r t u r n i n g a s s i g n m e n t s i n , d e f i n i t e l y . Q . I f t h e y ' r e l a t e t o c l a s s r e p e a t e d l y ? A . N o t m a r k s , n o . Q . D o e s e v e r y b o d y w r i t e a c r o s s - g r a d e e x a m a t t h e e n d o f t h e y e a r ? A . N o , o n l y s t u d e n t s w h o h a v e n o t a t t a i n e d a 6 0 % a v e r a g e . 1 7 0 1 2 . Q . D o y o u f i n d y o u ' v e m o d i f i e d t h e c o u r s e a t a l l b e c a u s e o f t h e h i g h n u m b e r o f i m m i g r a n t k i d s i n t h i s s c h o o l ? A . T h e r e ' s a c h a l l e n g e i n i t f o r t h o s e w h o w a n t i t a n d f o r t h o s e w h o j u s t w a n t t h e b a s i c s , i t ' s a v a i l a b l e t o t h e m . N o , I d o n ' t t h i n k I ' v e m o d i f i e d i t . 1 4 . Q . W h a t s o r t o f r e a c t i o n s d o y o u g e t f r o m t h e k i d s a b o u t t h e c o u r s e ? A . T h e y l i k e i t . T h e y c o m e b a c k a n d t e l l m e t h a t i t ' s o n e o f t h e m o s t u s e f u l c o u r s e s t h e y ' v e e v e r t a k e n . T h e y e n j o y i t i n g e n e r a l . Q . W h a t ' s t h e i r i n i t i a l r e a c t i o n ? A . W h e n t h e y f i r s t c o m e i n , I g i v e t h e m a n o u t l i n e . T h e y s e e t h e t o p i c s t h a t w i l l b e l o o k e d a t a n d s o m e o f t h e m a r e a p p e a l i n g s u c h a s F a m i l y L a w a n d T r a n s p o r t - a t i o n a n d A c c o m m o d a t i o n . P r o b a b l y w h e n t h e y s i g n u p f o r i t , t h e y t h i n k i t ' s g o i n g t o b e a n e a s y c o u r s e w i t h v e r y l i t t l e w o r k i n i t . T h a t ' s b e e n m y i m p r e s s i o n o v e r t h e y e a r s . T h e y t e l l m e i t ' s a v e r y e a s y c o u r s e i f y o u t r y . I t ' s v e r y l o g i c a l a n d s t r a i g h t - f o r w a r d . Y e t s o m e o f t h e m c a n ' t d e a l w i t h t h a t l o g i c . I d o n ' t t h i n k t h e E S L p o p u l a t i o n i n t e r m s o f a c h i e v e m e n t i s a p r o b l e m ; g e n e r a l l y t h e E S L k i d s t r y v e r y h a r d a n d a l t h o u g h t h e i r E n g l i s h i s l i m i t e d , t h e y ' r e a b l e t o d o t h e c o u r s e . Q . P a r e n t s ? A . I a t t e n d e d t h e P a r e n t s ' C o n s u l t a t i v e C o m m i t t e e w h e r e t h e y s p o k e a b o u t C o n s u m e r E d a n d a l l t h e p a r e n t s w e r e i n f a v o u r o f i t e x c e p t o n e . H e d i d n o t t h i n k i t w a s a w o r t h w h i l e c o u r s e ; t h e p a r t i c u l a r g e n t l e m a n i s v e r y c r i t i c a l o f t h e s y s t e m a n d h e t h o u g h t p e r h a p s o t h e r c h a l l e n g i n g c o u r s e s s h o u l d b e i n t h e r e - c h a l l e n g i n g f o r h i s s o n a n d d a u g h t e r i n p a r t i c u l a r . H e f e l t t h a t i t w a s c o m m o n s e n s e ; s t u d e n t s w o u l d p i c k i t u p o n t h e i r o w n o v e r t h e y e a r s a n d t h e y d i d n ' t h a v e t o b e t a u g h t a w h o l e y e a r o n t h e t o p i c s w e g o t h r o u g h . 1 5 . Q . O t h e r s t a f f m e m b e r s ? D o t h e y h a v e a n a c c u r a t e p e r c e p t i o n o f t h e c o u r s e ? A . I ' m s u r e t h e y l o o k a t t h e n o t e b o o k s t h a t t h e s t u d e n t s l u g a r o u n d ; t h e i r n o t e b o o k s a r e v e r y , v e r y l a r g e w i t h t h e m a t e r i a l t h a t I g i v e t h e m a n d t h e s t u f f t h e y p i c k u p . I t h i n k i t ' s t r e a t e d p o s i t i v e l y i n t h i s s c h o o l a n d p e o p l e l o o k a t i t a s a g o o d c o u r s e . I t h i n k i t d e p e n d s o n w h o ' s t e a c h i n g i t a s w e l l . W h e n t h e y l o o k a t m y c o u r s e , t h e y s e e t h e s t u d e n t s a r e g e t t i n g t h e i r m o n e y ' s w o r t h a n d i t ' s a w o r t h w h i l e c o u r s e . 1 7 1 1 3 . Q . I s t h a t a s c h o o l - w i d e s t a n d a r d ? A . S c h o o l Q . I f t h e y h a d s a y 3 0 % , d o t h e y g e t t o w r i t e t h e f i n a l e x a m ? A . Y e s Q . H o w m u c h i s t h a t w e i g h t e d ? A . O f f i c i a l l y , 5 0 % o f t h e i r t o t a l y e a r . I f t h e y h a v e a b o v e 6 0 % a n d t h e y h a v e p o o r a t t e n d a n c e , o r t h e y h a v e n o t t u r n e d i n a s s i g n m e n t s o r r a r e l y d i d t h e i r a s s i g n - m e n t s , t h e y c o u l d b e a s k e d t o w r i t e . T h e r e a r e v e r y f e w l i k e t h a t . Q . D o e a c h o f t h e t e a c h e r s w r i t e t h e i r o w n f i n a l e x a m ? A . T h e f i n a l e x a m w a s u s e d b y m y s e l f a n d a n o t h e r t e a c h e r b u t n o t t h e t e a c h e r w h o i s d o i n g a d i f f e r e n t o u t l i n e . 1 2 . Q . W h a t d o y o u t h i n k a b o u t i t b e i n g a c o m p u l s o r y s u b j e c t ? A . I t h i n k i t s h o u l d b e b e c a u s e I f i n d t h e s t u d e n t s i n t h i s s c h o o l a r e v e r y n a i v e ; t h e y k n o w v e r y l i t t l e a b o u t c o n s u m e r i s m , a n d I t h i n k t h a t m o s t o f t h e s t u d e n t s p i c k u p i n f o r m a t i o n t h a t t h e y w i l l u s e i m m e d i a t e l y o r i n t h e v e r y n e a r f u t u r e . T h e i r n o t e b o o k i s d o n e a s a r e s o u r c e ; t h e y w a n t t o k e e p t h e m . T h e y c o m e b a c k " a n d t e l l m e t h a t t h e y u s e t h e m a t e r i a l . I t ' s t h e o n e n o t e b o o k t h a t t h e y k e e p . S o I t h i n k i t s h o u l d b e k e p t a t t h e G r a d e 1 1 a n d 1 2 l e v e l , a n d i t s h o u l d b e a c o u r s e t h e y h a v e t o t a k e . Q . D o y o u f i n d t h e y ' r e n o t g e t t i n g t h e i n f o r m a t i o n f r o m h o m e ? A . D e f i n i t e l y n o t . Q . W h a t i s y o u r f e e l i n g a b o u t w h e t h e r t h e r e s h o u l d b e a g o v e r n m e n t f i n a l e x a m ? O r a c i t y f i n a l e x a m o r d o y o u t h i n k s t a n d a r d s a r e p r e t t y m u c h t h e s a m e ? A . I c a n ' t a n s w e r t h a t w h e t h e r s t a n d a r d s a r e t h e s a m e i n t h e c i t y . I c a n o n l y a n s w e r w i t h i n t h e s c h o o l . I w o u l d n o t l i k e t o s e e a g o v e r n m e n t f i n a l c o u n t i n g f o r 5 0 % b u t I w o u l d w e l c o m e o n e c o u n t i n g f o r l e s s t h a n 5 0 % . I t h i n k i f y o u ' r e g o i n g t o h a v e a c o m p u l s o r y c o u r s e , y o u m i g h t d o t h a t t o e n s u r e t h a t t h e t o p i c s a r e b e i n g t a u g h t . I h a v e a f e e l i n g g i v e n t h e s c o p e o f t h e c o u r s e , t h a t s o m e o f t h e t o p i c s m a y n o t b e t a u g h t a n d t h a t w o u l d b e c h e a t i n g t h e s t u d e n t s o f l e a r n i n g s o m e t h i n g t h a t ' s v a l u a b l e . I b e l i e v e 5 0 % f o r f i n a l e x a m s i n g e n e r a l i s t o o m u c h . I h a v e t h e 5 0 % p o l i c y i n C E j u s t t o s t a y i n h a r m o n y w i t h t h e g o v e r n m e n t e x a m s . B u t i n t h e f i n a l a n a l y s i s , t h a t i s n o t a d h e r e d t o s t r i c t l y . T h e r e a r e s t u d e n t s w h o p a s s w i t h a l o t l e s s t h a n a 5 0 % a v e r a g e d e p e n d i n g o n e f f o r t . T h a t ' s b e c a u s e y o u ' r e p i c k i n g u p s t u d e n t s f r o m a w i d e r a n g e o f b a c k g r o u n d s . S o m e s t u d e n t s a r e s o w e a k t h e y w o u l d n e v e r a t t a i n 5 0 % . 1 7 2 1 5 . Q . D o y o u f e e l i t h a s a b e t t e r i m a g e b e c a u s e t h e c o u r s e i s n o t b e i n g h a n d e d o f f t o h e r e , t h e r e , a n d e v e r y w h e r e ? A . I t h i n k s o m e o f i t s t a r t s w i t h m e b e i n g s o e n t h u s i a s t i c a b o u t t h e c o u r s e a n d t h a t r u b s o f f o n t h e s t u d e n t s a n d t h a t t h e n g e t s t o t h e o t h e r t e a c h e r s . A s w e l l w h e n t h e o t h e r t e a c h e r s t a l k t o m e a b o u t i t , t h e y s e e t h e e n t h u s i a s m I h a v e f o r t h e c o u r s e . W e d o t a l k a b o u t i t . M a n y o f t h e m h a v e s a i d t h e y w i s h a c o u r s e l i k e t h a t h a d b e e n t a u g h t w h e n t h e y w e n t t o s c h o o l . Q . A n y s n i d e c o m m e n t s ? A . N o , n o t a t a l l . Q . H o w s u p p o r t i v e i s t h e a d m i n i s t r a t i o n ? A . V e r y Q . A n d t h a t w o u l d m a n i f e s t i t s e l f h o w ? A . I n t e r m s o f w h o t e a c h e s i t , w h a t l e v e l i t s t a y s a t , i n t e r m s o f t h i n g s I n e e d f o r t h e c o u r s e a n d h e l p t h e y c o u l d g i v e m e i n t e r m s o f a r r a n g i n g f i e l d t r i p s a n d m o n e y . Q . Y o u s a y t h a t a t t h e e n d o f t h e y e a r , a l o t o f s t u d e n t s a r e g o n e b e c a u s e t h e y ' r e s t u d y i n g f o r e x a m s . D o e s t h a t h a p p e n w i t h a l o t o f c o u r s e s ? A . T h e l a s t w e e k p a r t i c u l a r l y . I t d e p e n d s o n h o w l o n g s c h o o l i s k e p t i n s e s s i o n . T h i s y e a r s c h o o l w a s i n s e s s i o n u n t i l F r i d a y a n d e x a m s h a d s t a r t e d o n W e d n e s d a y s o y o u c a n ' t r e a l l y e x p e c t y o u r k i d s w r i t i n g e x a m s o n T h u r s d a y a n d F r i d a y t o b e i n c l a s s . A l s o , d u r i n g t h a t w e e k t h e y w e r e s t u d y i n g . T h a t ' s t h e w e e k I ' m t a l k i n g a b o u t . 1 8 . Q . W h a t d o y o u t h i n k i s w r o n g w i t h t h e c o u r s e ? A . I d o n ' t t h i n k a n y t h i n g i s w r o n g w i t h t h e c o u r s e i n g e n e r a l o t h e r t h a n t h e r e b e i n g a b i t t o o m u c h i n f o r m a t i o n i n i t t o t e a c h i n a y e a r . T h e c o u r s e i n g e n e r a l i s a n e x c e l l e n t o n e . Q . A n y c h a n g e s y o u ' d l i k e t o s e e ? A . I d o n ' t t h i n k I ' d c h a n g e i t v e r y m u c h . I ' d p r o b a b l y k e e p i t a s i t i s . Q . W h a t w o u l d y o u l i k e t o s e e t h a t w o u l d m a k e y o u r j o b e a s i e r ? S o m e o n e m e n t i o n e d t h e y ' d l i k e t o s e e a p a m p h l e t o f a l l t h e g o v e r n m e n t h a n d o u t s . A . I f w e ' r e t a l k i n g a b o u t t h e F a s t F a c t s , s o m e o f t h e m a r e g o o d ; s o m e o f t h e m a r e v e r y p o o r . W e h a v e a r e s o u r c e b o o k n o w w e c a n f a l l b a c k o n . I u s e a b o u t 2 0 % o f i t . I t h i n k i t ' s g o o d i f y o u ' v e n e v e r t a u g h t t h e c o u r s e . I t h i n k t h o u g h y o u h a v e t o b e v e r y s e l e c t i v e . 1 7 3 1 8 . Q . H o w d o y o u f e e l a b o u t t h e i m a g e t h e c o u r s e h a s g o t ? I m p r o v i n g ? A . I t h i n k i t c o u l d s t i l l d o w i t h s o m e i m p r o v i n g . I t h i n k i n o u r s c h o o l a n d i n o u r c o m m u n i t y , i t h a s a p o s i t i v e i m a g e . W h e n t h e s t u d e n t s t a k e t h e i r n o t e b o o k s h o m e a n d t h e p a r e n t s s e e w h a t ' s i n i t , t h e y s e e t h a t i t ' s w o r t h w h i l e a n d u p - t o - d a t e . Q . I f y o u w e r e a s k e d t o t e a c h t h e c o u r s e a g a i n , h o w w o u l d y o u f e e l a b o u t t h a t ? A . I a m t e a c h i n g i t n e x t y e a r - 4 b l o c k s a n d I ' m t a k i n g s o m e A c c o u n t i n g . Q . H o w d i d t h a t c o m e a b o u t ? A . A g a i n b y c h o i c e . T h e o t h e r p e r s o n w h o ' s t e a c h i n g i t , i n m y o p i n i o n , w i l l d o a v e r y g o o d j o b . T h e o t h e r f e l l o w h a s 4 b l o c k s . H e w i l l f o l l o w m y o u t l i n e , n o t t h a t m y o u t l i n e i s t h e b e s t o u t l i n e , b u t i t g i v e s s o m e c o n s i s t e n c y . O u r d e p a r t m e n t h e a d w a n t s t h e o u t l i n e f o l l o w e d ; s h e w a n t s c o n s i s t e n c y . Q . I s C E c l a i m e d b y B u s i n e s s E d . ? A . I t ' s c l a i m e d b y B u s i n e s s E d a n d n e x t y e a r i t ' l l b e c l a i m e d b y S o c i a l s S t u d i e s a s w e l l b u t i t ' s a B u s i n e s s E d c o u r s e . F u r t h e r C o m m e n t s - O n e o f t h e c o m m e n t s h e m a d e i s t h a t o n e o f t h e p r o b l e m s w i t h t h e c o u r s e i s t h a t i f i t ' s a s s i g n e d t o f i l l u p a t e a c h e r ' s l o a d , w h a t h a p p e n s i s t h e p e o p l e d o n ' t w a n t t o t e a c h t h e c o u r s e a n d t h e y d o n ' t p r e p a r e f o r i t p r o p e r l y . T h e o t h e r t h i n g t h a t ' s a b i g p r o b l e m w i t h t h e c o u r s e i s t r y i n g t o k e e p u p t o d a t e w i t h i t . H e s a i d i f t h e y ' r e o n l y t e a c h i n g a b l o c k o r t w o , t h e y d o n ' t b o t h e r k e e p i n g u p w i t h t h e l e g i s l a t i o n ; t h e y d o n ' t b o t h e r k e e p i n g u p w i t h t h e t r e n d s . T h e r e f o r e , t h e k i d s e n d u p c h a l l e n g i n g t h e m a n d t h e k i d s d o n ' t e v e n w a n t t o b e i n t h e i r s e c t i o n . T h e o l d e r p e r s o n o n t h e s t a f f w h o i s t e a c h i n g t h e c o u r s e i s , i n f a c t , n o t t e a c h i n g t h e n e w c o u r s e b u t i s s t i l l t e a c h i n g t h e o l d G e n e r a l B u s i n e s s a n d C o n s u m e r F u n d a m e n t a l s c o u r s e u n d e r t h e g u i s e o f C o n s u m e r E d . H e s a i d p e r h a p s s o m e s o r t o f d i s t r i c t - w i d e e x a m m i g h t b r i n g s o m e o f t h o s e t h i n g s t o l i g h t . H e f e e l s t h e r e a r e s o m e p a r e n t s t o o w h o d o n o t f a v o u r t h i s c o u r s e b e c a u s e t h e y f e e l s c h o o l s s h o u l d n ' t b e o f f e r i n g a n y c o u r s e s t h a t a r e n ' t t r u e a c a d e m i c c o u r s e s . 1 7 4 APPENDIX C: TEACHERS' UNIT PLANS CONSUMER EDUCATION 9/10 COURSE OUTLINE TEXT: LOOKING AT THE CONSUMER (B.C. E d i t i o n ) , John C. Wood (other reference materials w i l l also be used) OBJECTIVES: This course w i l l help students to: - gain an a b i l i t y to estimate, evaluate, and make consumer decisions based on individual goals and values - understand law as i t relates to the consumer - manage t h e i r resources to provide s a t i s f a c t i o n - apply knowledge of shopping s k i l l s in the marketplace - define and apply terms used in the marketplace GENERAL OUTLINE: 1. Needs and Wants 2. Decision-making 3. Getting a Job: - job hunt - resume, cover l e t t e r - application forms - interview 4. Entrepreneurship / Jobs in Industry - owning your own business - working for others - unions/management - forms of business organization - marketing systems - supply and demand 5. Money and Banking - personal budgets - personal financial accounts - completing forms - c r e d i t : - establishing a credit rating - types of consumer cr e d i t - sources of credit - the cost of credit 6. Dealing with the Marketplace - law of contract - rights and r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s o^ the consumer - consumer legislation - advertising 175 7. Stock Market - history - types of transactions - types of investments 8. Food - labels, shopping, additives, food needs 9. Clothing - inventory - fibre, fabric finish and care (labels) 10. Housing choices - obligations, rights and responsibilities of tenants and landlords - housing choices - insurance 11. Transportation - choices - insurance - maintenance costs PROJECTS OUTLINE Term 1: CREDIT REPORT - Interview, 3-page report, chart and presentation Term 2: BUDGETING PROJECT - keeping family budget for a period of time Term 3: COMPARISON SHOPPING ASSIGNMENT - Using Consumer Reports - sports equipment - personal care products - automobiles Suggested products: - appliances - Home care supplies - insurance - food Each term: COURSE EVALUATION Major Assignments 25% Exams, quizzes, assignments 70% Class participation 5% PROJECT BUSINESS: A consultant will be with us for part of the term to share his/her experiences in the business world. CONSUMER EDUCATION 9/10 COURSE OUTLINE I . THE DECISION-MAKING PROCESS (OR L e t ' s make a d e c i s i o n h e r e ! ) An i n t r o d u c t o r y u n i t , y o u w i l l l e a r n t o a p p l y a f o r m a l s t r u c t u r e t o y o u r d e c i s i o n s , a s t r u c t u r e w h i c h w i l l h e l p y o u , as c o n s u m e r s , t o make i n c r e a s i n g l y complex d e c i s i o n s . The 5 - s t e p d e c i s i o n - m a k i n g mode l w i l l p r o v i d e a common t h r e a d t h r o u g h o u t t h e c o u r s e . I I . CONSUMER NEEDS (OR L e t ' s go s h o p p i n g ! ) What a r e y o u r needs a n d w a n t s ? In t h i s u n i t , we w i l l t a k e an i n - d e p t h l o o k a t i t e m s o f most i n t e r e s t t o s t u d e n t s as c o n s u m e r s ; we w i l l t r y t o p r o v i d e t h e g u i d e l i n e s f o r p l a n n i n g , s e l e c t i n g , p u r c h a s i n g , and u t i l i z i n g e f f e c t i v e l y s u c h i t e m s o r s e r v i c e s a s : A . c l o t h i n g B . f o o d C . t r a n s p o r t a t i o n D. r e c r e a t i o n E . a c c o m m o d a t i o n I I I . MANAGING MONEY (OR L e t ' s p a y f o r i t ! ) What a r e y o u r f i n a n c i a l o p t i o n s , as a t e e n a g e c o n s u m e r ? In t h i s u n i t , y o u w i l l be i n t r o d u c e d t o a s y s t e m o f k e e p i n g t r a c k o f y o u r money, o f b u d g e t i n g , and o f p l a n n i n g f o r t h e f u t u r e ; y o u w i l l become f a m i l i a r w i t h t h e v a r i o u s f i n a n c i a l i n s t i t u t i o n s a n d t h e i r s e r v i c e s and w i t h t h e p r i n c i p l e s o f c r e d i t . A . P e r s o n a l Money Management B . F i n a n c i a l I n s t i t u t i o n s C . C r e d i t I V . THE MARKETPLACE (OR L e t ' s be aware ! ) Knowing what y o u r n e e d s and wants a r e and what y o u r f i n a n c e s a r e , y o u w i l l t h e n n e e d t o be p r e p a r e d t o f a c e t h e m a r k e t - p l a c e where y o u w i l l be bombarded by a d v e r t i s i n g and by s a l e s p r o g r a m s d e s i g n e d t o p a r t y o u w i t h y o u r money. A . E c o n o m i c and E n v i r o n m e n t a l C o n s i d e r a t i o n s o f t h e M a r k e t p l a c e B . O r g a n i z a t i o n o f t h e M a r k e t p l a c e C . Consumer D e c i s i o n s D. S o u r c e o f Consumer I n f o r m a t i o n and A s s i s t a n c e V . GOVERNMENT SERVICES AND TAXES (OR L e t ' s s h a r e t h e w e a l t h ! ) F i n a l l y , as c o n s u m e r s , y o u have r i g h t s and r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s ; y o u must l i v e w i t h i n g o v e r n m e n t g u i d e l i n e s , s u p p o r t government s e r v i c e s d i r e c t l y t h r o u g h t a x a t i o n , and y o u w i l l somet imes have t o t u r n t o t h a t same government t o p r o v i d e a s s i s t a n c e and s e r v i c e s . 177 C E . 12 COURSE OUTLINE A person's behavior as a consumer in the marketplace may be governed by l e g a l r i g h t s and r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s as we l l as personal and s o c i a l expectat ions . The purpose of C . E . 12 is to a s s i s t students with t h e i r continued growth toward a t t a i n i n g consumer competence and conf idence . I n d i v i d u a l s v o l u n t a r i l y assume o b l i g a t i o n s and C . E . 12 should develop i n students the a b i l i t y to recognize the inf luences on t h e i r d e c i s i o n s and to respond a p p r o p r i a t e l y . You w i l l be evaluated on i n - c l a s s assignments, homework assignments, o r a l presenta t ions , q u i z z e s , and p a r t i c i p a t i o n in c l a s s d i s c u s s i o n s . Your notebook w i l l be a va luab le study and reference guide now and hopefu l ly l a t e r . You w i l l be using supplementary books, pamphlets, and handouts. We w i l l be spending anywhere from 6-12 per iods d i s c u s s i n g each of the f o l l o w i n g topics dur ing the semester: Our Legal System The Consumer and the Economy You, the Consumer Money Management Taxat ion Savings and Investment Cred i t Family Law Transpor ta t ion Accommodation Employer and Employee Rights and O b l i g a t i o n s T r a v e l GRADING Term i & 2 Term 3 A 86-100? same B 73-85 same C p 67-72 same C N 60-66 same Term 1 & 2 C M 50-59 D 3 5 - 4 9 E 0 -31 F i n a l Pas s F a i l F a i l I n - c l a s s assignments, homework assignments, and o r a l s Quizzes 35? 65? This i s a rough guide as to the way marks w i l l be a l l o c a t e d , 178 CONSUMER COURSE OUTLINE: 1. Personal Money Management Decision-making process Credit Savings Budgeting 2. Employment Labour Law Enforcement of Labour Law B.C. Labour Acts Union/errployer relations Workers' compensation Unemployment Insurance 3. Car Ownership Motor Vehicle Acts Car costs Car insurance Buying a used car 4. Real Estate Renting vs. owning Mortgages Landlord/tenant relationship 5. Employment Resumes Interviews 6. Income Tax History Individual Tax Returns 7 . Marriage Legal Requirements Ceremony and Party. 12 8. Contract Law - formation discharge. breach chattels conditional sales 9. Insurance - life property 10. Starting a Business Business structures Market Research 11. Economics Product Analysis Supply and Demand 12 Marketing Product strategy Advertising 13. Company Analysis Annual Reports Ratios 14. Rights and Responsibilities Criminal Tort Court Procedures CONSUMER EDUCATION - COURSE OUTLINE A person ' s behavior as a consumer i n the marketplace i s governed by l e g a l r i g h t s and r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s as w e l l as personal and s o c i a l e x p e c t a t i o n s . As the marketplace i s c o n s t a n t l y changing, consumers are faced w i t h a m u l t i t u d e o f a l t e r n a t i v e s w i th respec t to purchas ing , job o p p o r t u n i t i e s and l i f e s t y l e s . A c i t i z e n who makes educated choices and f u l f i l l s p e r s o n a l , f a m i l y and f i n a n c i a l o b l i g a t i o n s i s a p o s i t i v e force i n s o c i e t y . A l s o , consumers need to r e c o g n i z e t h e i r important r o l e as c i t i z e n s i n the economic system. T h i s course focuses on p r o v i d i n g YOU, the consumer, wi th the s k i l l s necessary to p a r t i c i p a t e e f f e c t i v e l y as c i t i z e n s and on ach iev ing a grea ter awareness of YOUR l ega l r i g h t s and r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s . COURSE CONTENT T h i s course i s based on an 8 x 5 t imetable w i t h 95 hours of i n s t r u c t i o n (105 - 10 w i t h c o u n s e l l o r s ) . 1. D e c i s i o n making Chapter 2 4 hours 2. Economics and Environment Chapter 1 5 hours 3. Money Management Chapter 5 Budget ing 4 hours F i n a n c i a l Serv ices 9 hours 4. Savings and I n v e s t i n g Chapter 6 -8 hours ( C o u n s e l l o r s 5 hours) 5. C r e d i t Chapter 7 -11 hours 6. Consumer Law Chapter 3 -8 hours 7'. A d v e r t i s i n g Chapter 4 5 hours 8. Comparison Shopping Chapter 8 5 hours 9. Taxes Chapter 11 12 hours ( C o u n s e l l o r s 5 hours) 10. Employee Rights and O b l i g a t i o n s Chapter 12 - 4 hours 11. T r a n s p o r t a t i o n Chapter 9 7 hours 12. Accommodation .. Chapter 10 8 hours 13. Family Law Chapter 13 6 hours As we w i l l be moving at a f a i r pace i n t h i s c l a s s , i t i s your r e s p o n s i b i l i t y to keep up. I f you miss a c l a s s f o r any reason, i t i s your r e s p o n s i b i l i t y to f i n d out what m a t e r i a l was covered . EVALUATION Grading w i l l be based on assignments, q u i z z e s , chapter t e s t s , p r o j e c t s and c l a s s p a r t i c i p a t i o n . Quizzes and t e s t s 40Z A l l other work 60Z Students who f a i l to achieve a C+ s tanding w i l l be r e q u i r e d to w r i t e a f i n a l exam. The f i n a l exam, i f w r i t t e n , w i l l account for 20Z of the f i n a l grade . 180 C O N S U M E R E D U C A T I O N 12 OUTLINE - BLOCKS H - A - B A. FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT 1. F i n a n c i a l i n s t i t u t i o n s 2. Types of accounts 3. Cheques and chequing accounts 4. R e c o n c i l i a t i o n statement 5. C a l c u l a t i o n of i n t e r e s t 6. Budgeting process 7. Net worth B . SAVINGS AND INVESTMENTS 1 . Investment terms 2 . E q u i t y Investments - r e a l e s t a t e , c o l l e c t i n g , commodit ies , s tocks 3. Stock market ( V . S . E . ) 4. Debt investments - sav ings accounts , term d e p o s i t s , bonds, debentures , insurance p o l i c i e s , mutual funds, mortgages , T - b i l l s 5 . Comparing v a r i o u s investments 6. Reg i s t ered Ret irement Savings Plans C . CONSUMER LAW 1. Our l e g a l system 2 . Consumer r i g h t s and r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s 3. The complaint process 4. Sa l e o f Goods A c t 5. Smal l C la im Court 6. Elements o f a c o n t r a c t 7. Door - to -door c o n t r a c t s D. CREDIT 1. Advantages and disadvantages 2. Types of c r e d i t 3. C r e d i t cards 4. The C o n d i t i o n a l Sa l e c o n t r a c t -- B . C . Sa l e o f Goods on C o n d i t i o n A c t 5. Consumer loans - c o - s i g n i n g or guarantee ing a loan 6. Apply ing for c r e d i t 7. C r e d i t Report ing Act 8. C r e d i t bureaus 9. Sources of c r e d i t 10. C r e d i t c o u n s e l l i n g E . TRANSPORTATION 1. A l t e r n a t i v e s +o the car 2. F i n a n c i a l costs of an automobile 3. Buying a new car 4. Motor v e h i c l e purchase agreement 5. Buying a used car 6 . Motor Dealer Act and Trade P r a c t i c e Act 7. Automobile r e p a i r s 8. Automobile insurance - ICBC TAXATION 1. Types of taxes 2. Taxpayer o b l i g a t i o n s 3. Tax forms - TD1, T4, T5 4. T l General and the Tax Guide 5. Completing a T l General ACCOMMODATION 1. Types of accommodation 2. Types of occupancy 3. Accommodation choice 4. Renting - R e s i d e n t i a l T t n i f t c y Act 5. Real e s t a t e agents 6. Financing the purchase of one's accommodation 7. Mechanics of a purchase FAMILY LAW 1. Marriage - Marriage Act 2. Divorce - Divorce Act 3. W i l l s - W i l l s Act 4. L i f e Insurance EMPLOYER AND EMPLOYEE RIGHTS AND OBLIGATIONS 1. Employment cont r a c t 2. Employment Standards Act 3. I n d u s t r i a l R e l a t i o n s Act and Unions 4. Unemployment Insurance 5. Workers' Compensation 6. Canada Pension Plan CAREER PLANNING 1. Present and future demands f o r occupations 2. Researching the job market 3. The resume 4. S t a r t i n g your own business 182 I . COURSE CONTENT Consumer E d u c a t i o n 9/10 o f f e r s s t u d e n t s a c o n c e n t r a t e d l o o k a t t h e i r economic e n v i r o n m e n t . I t I s d e s i g n e d t o a s s i s t s t u d e n t s to e x p l o r e the v a r i o u s f a c t o r s t h a t have an impact on the economy and to h e l p them g a i n an u n d e r s t a n d i n g o f how t h e i r d e c i s i o n s a f f e c t s o c i e t y and the e n v i r o n m e n t . The c o u r s e 6hould a l s o d e v e l o p i n s t u d e n t s an awareness t h a t w i l l e n a b l e them t o f u n c t i o n e f f e c t i v e l y as a c t i v e and r e s p o n s i b l e c i t i z e n s i n our m a r k e t p l a c e . I I . OUTLINE The course c o n t e n t c o n s i s t s o f the f o l l o s r i n g : T . IN THE MARKETPLACE A . D e a l i n g w i t h the m a r k e t p l a c e B . The m a r k e t p l a c e - f o r you and a g a i n s t you I T . FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT A . Manag ing y o u r money B . S a v l n g 6 and Inves tments C . Consumer C r e d i t D . Government S e r v i c e s and Taxes I I I . CONSUMER NEEDS A . Food B . C l o t h i n g C . T r a n s p o r t a t i o n D. Accommodation E . R e c r e a t i o n ' JV~. EMPLOYMENT A . C a r e e r P l a n n i n g B . E m p l o y e r / E m p l o y e e R i g h t s and O b l i g a t i o n s C . Labour/Management O r g a n i z a t i o n s I I I . EVALUATION L e t t e r grades f o r each o f the t h r e e r e p o r t s a r e d e t e r m i n e d by the t o t a l o f marks r e c e i v e d on the f o l l o w i n g : a) Exams, t e s t s , q u i z z e s , p a r a g r a p h s , p r o j e c t s , and v a r i o u s o t h e r a s s i g n m e n t s . b) Your notebook w i l l be c h e c k e d p e r i o d i c a l l y and graded on n e a t n e s s and c o m p l e t e n e s s . A l l clas6 m a t e r i a l s s h o u l d go i n the notebook i n the p r o p e r o r d e r . A l l t i t l e s must be u n d e r l i n e d . 183 c) Homework w i l l be c h e c k e d and marked on a r e g u l a r b a s i s and w i l l be i n c l u d e d i n d e t e r m i n i n g a s t u d e n t ' s mark f o r each t e r m . I t i s y o u r r e s p o n s i b i l i t y t o have homework ass ignments comple ted on t i m e . d) E f f o r t and R e s p o n s i b i l i t y u s u a l l y out o f 25 marks f o r each t e r m . This /" mark i s based on g e n e r a l e f f o r t and o r a l p a r t i c i p a t i o n . In a d d i t i o n , ^ marks w i l l be d e d u c t e d f o r the ' DOTS • you accumulate f o r t h e f o l l o w i n g 2 d o t s - l a t e t o c l a s s , equipment not brought t o c l a s s . 3 d o t s - homework not comple ted ( i f you have a l e g i t i m a t e excuse 6ee y o u r t e a c h e r at the s t a r t o f c l a s s ) 5 d o t s - f o r j^gcjL, unexcused absence ( a note i s r e q u i r e d f o r each absence) f ) I t i s y o u r r e s p o n s i b i l i t y to hand i n a l l a s s ignments on t i m e . 25% w i l l be d e d u c t e d from y o u r mark i f the ass ignment i 6 l a t e . ' A ^ f u r t h e r 25% w i l l be d e d u c t e d i f handed i n a f t e r the marked a s s i g n m e n t s have been r e t u r n e d to s t u d e n t s . T V . MTSC^T,T,AN?orrS a) S t u d e n t s a r e r e s p o n s i b l e f o r any and a l l work missed e s p e c i a l l y d u r i n g an a b s e n c e . I t i s t h e r e f o r e YOUR R^SPONSTBTT.TTY to ge t the work v missed from the t e a c h e r and complete i t . MAKE USE OF y RT.OCK. b) G e n e r a l l y , r e s u l t s on t e s t s are l e s s r e l i a b l e when w r i t t e n at a d i f f e r e n t t ime t h a n the r e s t o f the c l a s s . T h e r e f o r e , i f you a r e absent f o r a t e s t , you s h o u l d expect a d e d u c t i o n o f 25% f rom y o u r t e s t s c o r e . c) I f you have been a b s e n t , are c o n f u s e d o r d ismayed d o n ' t be a f r a i d t o ask f o r a s s i s t a n c e , f o r a d d i t i o n a l h e l p i s a v a i l a b l e a f t e r s c h o o l and d u r i n g X b l o c k . d) A t t e n d a n c e i s v e r y i m p o r t a n t i n t h i s c o u r s e . I f you a r e a b s e n t f o r 15 o r more c l a s s e s d u r i n g the y e a r you w i l l have to w r i t e t h e f i n a l exam. 20 o r more c l a s s e s you w i l l f a l l the c o u r s e u n l e s s the t ime i s made up d u r i n g X b l o c k . ftLSO - a s k i p p e d c l a s s a t any t ime d u r i n g the y e a r c o u l d mean t h a t you must w r i t e the f i n a l exam. e) F i n a l Exam - y o u ^ o j j j ^ be r e q u i r e d to w r i t e the f i n a l exam i f i . you have one o r more D o r E l e t t e r g r a d e s i i . you pass terms one and two but f a i l term t h r e e r Consumer E d u c a t i o n 9/10 can be an i n t e r e s t i n g , e n j o y a b l e and most w o r t h w h i l e c o u r s e d e p e n d i n g on how much work you are w i l l i n g to do and how much e f f o r t you make i n c l a s s . T h e r e f o r e the v a l u e to y o u , as a s o o n - t o - b e C a n a d i a n a d u l t and consumer, o f t h i s c o u r s e can be most w o r t h w h i l e . B a s i c a l l y i t i s up to you! I hope you w i l l have a s u c c e s s f u l y e a r . 184

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