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Master Your High School Business Curriculum: Keep Your Classes Relevant and Engaging

August 28th, 2020 | 6 min. read

Brad Hummel

Brad Hummel

Coming from a family of educators, Brad knows both the joys and challenges of teaching well. Through his own teaching background, he’s experienced both firsthand. As a writer for iCEV, Brad’s goal is to help teachers empower their students by listening to educators’ concerns and creating content that answers their most pressing questions about career and technical education.

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High school business teachers often struggle to keep students interested in foundational business courses. Between planning, grading, and implementing your business education curriculum, it can be difficult to find and present materials that truly engage and excite your students.

Working with teachers across the country has given us considerable insight into the challenges teachers face with high school business curriculum. You need to find the right curriculum resources in order to keep your students focused and learning.

But how do you go about choosing the right high school business curriculum for your students? 

In this article, we’ll talk about why it’s important to keep these students interested in your Introduction to Business classes. Then, you will learn some tips and tricks other teachers rely on to do just that!

Why High School Business Education Courses Matter

Before students can master business course exams or take AP courses in specific business subjects, they’ll need the important basics provided in your high school business lesson plans. This foundational content will carry students into future courses in this pathway.

Whether they’re going on to entrepreneurship, accounting, or another year-long business course, they’ll need the foundation you provide in the introductory course. This foundation can not only impact their future high school courses, but also the careers they pursue.

An introductory high school business course is where a real interest in business can spark and burn into a passion for a fulfilling career. Here, students will get a taste of all sorts of career options available in this pathway and hopefully determine their next steps.

Tip 1. Start with the National Business Education Association

Teachers have often shared with us that they don’t know where to start when putting high school business curriculum together.

As curriculum developers, we suggest getting familiar with state and national standards. Following the National Business Education Association (NBEA) standards should play a key role in your high school business curriculum. The NBEA develops nationwide standards for business teachers to make sure students across the country are prepared for the business world.

Here are some ways you can stay on track with NBEA standards in your own high school business lesson plans:

1. Get to Know the NBEA Standards

The NBEA maps out guidelines of what all business students should know by the time they’ve completed their courses. The guidelines focus on performance standards and expectations about achievements.

By following these standards, you can be sure your students will leave your classroom fully understanding the way a business works and are able to use business techniques and skills to help them shape their careers.

If you’re an NBEA member, you can check out the NBEA business education standards online. You’ll have to log in with your NBEA credentials to access the standards.

2. Align Your Lessons to the NBEA Standards

Once you have reviewed your state and national standards for business education, you can start putting your lessons together. Although, this can take much more time than you have to devote to lesson planning and curriculum mapping.

The easiest way to ensure your lessons meet the standards? Find a high school business curriculum or other business education resources that are based on the standards you need to cover. There are several options available, including Business&ITCenter21, Cengage SAM, and Pearson’s MyITLab.

Tip 2. Make Your High School Business Lesson Plans More Engaging

Engaged students learn more, but sometimes it can be challenging to grab the attention of high school students, especially in an introductory course. We know that adopting proven strategies like blended learning can go a long way toward engaging students.

Here are a few more specific tips and tricks to help make your high school business lesson plans interesting and engaging:

1. Keep It Relevant

At some point or another, every teacher must hear the universal student cry of “I’ll never use this in my real life!” But you can avoid a great deal of this response by making sure your high school business curriculum incorporates relevancy to your students.

Be sure to include scenarios that students have or will likely encounter. Relating your content to your students’ lives now or at least showing a clear future connection or need to your students is a huge victory in the fight to engage students.

2. Go Digital

Because your students are so in tune with technology, why not take your business education lesson plans there? Incorporate online tools, such as quizzes and video lessons to hold their attention longer in class. An interactive format helps your students make the most of the information in front of them, and it allows for more customization and flexibility on your end.

3. Incorporate Multimedia

A key aspect of blended learning involves presenting content in a variety of ways. Using resources that include multimedia supports that end by providing audio and visual aspects that help relay information in a clear way and keep students engaged. Use graphics and other types of media whenever possible. You can combine videos, charts, and audio to create a full multimedia experience. Or go for an online digital resource that does all of that for you.

4. Meet Diverse Student Needs

Because you have a diverse student body, a challenge can arise when students need to move at a different pace. Some students need to wait on their peers if they finish their projects ahead of time, and others can struggle to keep up.

Working online often promotes independent learning which helps keep students engaged by allowing each one to move through your high school business curriculum at their own paces.

With a digital curriculum, you don’t have to worry about the pace of teaching because the students can access it anytime, anywhere to make sure they are on track. When students complete the required work, they can immediately be directed to new activities, videos, and quizzes that will help reinforce the material they just learned.

5. Curate New Teaching Ideas

The Internet offers a wealth of information about improving and growing your own high school business curriculum.

Many websites can provide you with advice, examples, and helpful resources to make your lessons more engaging for your students.

Sites like Teachers Pay Teachers are also a great place to go for new ideas and lesson plans from other high school business teachers around the country.

If you are willing to try social media, Twitter could be another great resource. Many business teachers use Twitter for professional development. An easy way to start is by following the conversation around the #busedu hashtag!

Tip 3. Never Stop Improving Your High School Business Curriculum

One last tip for your high school business curriculum is to make a point to periodically review your content for ways that you can make it better.

Most subscription-based curriculum resources will do the bulk of that work for you by monitoring standards and other changes and then updating and releasing current content as needed.

The world of business changes so rapidly and you want to make sure that you are keeping pace. Keeping aware of changes to the business world and NBEA and state standards will help your courses continue to be relevant and engaging to students.

Ready to Teach Your Business Education Course?

Your students deserve a high school business curriculum that will help them build the foundational knowledge they need for future success. Using these tips and tricks will help you be more confident in your ability to engage and inspire your students.

But even the most prepared teachers still face some of the same challenges in the classroom every day.

To learn about five of the biggest challenges business educators face in the classroom, download your free guide. You’ll read about some of the most challenging obstacles teachers face in the classroom and how you can overcome them.

Overcome Your Teaching Challenges