Title Retail Sector Competencies: Developing self and social competencies in vocational training for the retail sector
Project Number DE/11/LLP-LdV/TOI/147405
Product Adaption of the teaching-learning arrangements
Title Adaption of the teaching-learning arrangements
Product Type teaching material
The adjustment of the teaching-learning arrangements immediately took place after completing the analysis of the interviews with the national experts. Those have been done in the framework of working package no. 6.
This was the most creative part of the implementation of the innovation transfer project, so that a continuous exchange between all project partners was important to meet the supranational requirement.
Every teaching-learning arrangement was shortened in the introduction and the formatting was simplified to reduce the large scale and the complex use for the further course of the project. Additionally, national references were replaced by international ones.
Numerous changes arose with regard to the teaching methods, which had to be matched to sector-specific requirements.
The core of modification of the teaching-learning arrangement “criticism” was the adaption of the photo-story. “SeSoko-Fit”, the predecessor project, presented a typical situation in the industrial-technical field. This field was assessed to be unsuitable and contentual too far away from the retail sector. Consequently, it turned out that it was absolutely necessary to adapt the photo story into a typical situation in the retail sector. The updated version represents the trainee Ms. Michel and the customer Mr. Schmidt in a clothing store. It is an advantage for several reasons. On the one hand, the situation was matched to a new sector, retailing. On the other hand, it is a typical sales situation (complaint on goods), which can be found in all four EU-countries that are involved. It has been ensured that no fashion brands or other country specific letterings can be recognized, for translating-technical or trademark right reasons.
In the presented sales situation, a conflict arises during a conversation of complaint between the trainee and the customer. The (disordered) communication has been developed on the theoretical basis of the transmitter-receiver model following Watzlawick and of the communication model following Schulz v.Thun.
The production of a film sequence was renounced, since the expensive film shooting as well as the necessary synchronization in all four languages would not pay back the added value of this medium. Because of partially bad equipped schools, an unrestricted use in school lessons cannot be guaranteed. That is why an additional photo story was developed, which also took place in a fashion store for the same advantages as explained above. It presents an asymmetrical communication situation concerning the different views on training contents between the trainee Ms. Michel and the trainer Mrs. Berg. It was important to meet the proper tone, mimic and gestures both on national and on supranational level.
In the framework of the teaching-learning arrangement “time management”, the originally illustrated “Comic Marc” was completely taken out of the teaching material for several reasons. For one thing, nearly all social partners stated that the illustration would not be suitable for the age group and consequently does not address the target group. Additionally it does not represent the typical daily routine of a vocational student.
The written formulated versions of Marc's daily routine was adjusted to the new sector and the new age group. It had been consciously paid attention to illustrate the reality including educational respectively vocational dates as well as free time activities.
Slight, country-specific modifications were required for the translation into the particular language due to the fact, that school- and working times are not the same in the involved countries.
Nevertheless, all project partners confirmed the form and structure as well as the associated exercises will be maintained to ensure a later comparison.
The core of the modification of the third teaching-learning arrangement “team competency” represents the adjustment of the original working method “Building a bridge”. This method, dated back from the predecessor project “SeSoko-Fit”, was mainly experienced as very good by all social partners (Quote: “To build a bridge for another one so that he can fulfill his exercises”). Although it was denoted as a little bit too far away from the topic, the new working method should not deviate too much from the original one. In addition to that, some social partners stated that this method probably would not suit the age group.
In the adjusted teaching-learning arrangement, the class will be divided again into small groups each consisting of four people who will build a box out of paper together. This is useful in two ways: on the one hand it focuses a target-oriented team corporation and on the other hand the paper boxes present a connection to the new sector, the retail sector. In this sector goods are usually delivered in cardboard boxes (in all countries) so that a sufficient connection is given. It was chosen to allow a simple and cost-effective purchase of the materials and avoid issues with trademark rights.
Since this method could be assessed as being too simple - especially by students with higher performance - a second option was developed. In this option a case study taken from the retail sector was developed, in which the students, again in small groups of four, have to decide whether or not to take a new product and if doing so, where to place it in the assortment of goods.
On the basis of the level of the class, the teacher can individually decide which of the two methods is more suitable. The listed teaching materials were designed in a way that they can be used in both cases, either option 1, building a box or option 2, the case study. The subsequent evaluation phase should be used completely for the final decision on choosing one of the two options.
Both options have been found to be very good and appropriate for the target group by all social and project partners.
The teaching-learning arrangement “Self-evaluation of the own strengths and weaknesses” was regarded as one of the most important but also as one of the most complex arrangements by the social partners. Based on the fact that the original methods were consistently assessed to be too far away from the retail sector and not appropriate for the age group, a comparatively larger modification had to be accomplished.
On the basis of these theoretical basics (see chapter 3.1), the concrete exercises are explained in detail in chapter 3.2. These are three exercises of which one is optional. Exercise no 1 consists of a role play, in which the students take roles of characters (employee, customer, floor manager and an external person) in a fictional setting. The class room is transformed into a shop and the teacher has the possibility, depending on the class' thematic focus and interest, to choose between two everyday selling situations from the retail sector (missing of a good, an exacting customer, unexpected demand on goods, etc.). Followed by this role play, the students have to fill out a customer satisfaction questionnaire about the experienced customer service. By doing so, the reflection phase is introduced. On the one hand, it helps the students to improve their skills on criticism as well as to focus on a particular problem. On the other hand, the feedback of a fellow student can have a confirming or correcting effect on the self-perception.
Based on this, in exercise no 2, the class evaluates the characteristics an “employee of the month” should have. Each student should note them on a coloured card. All cards are tacked to a flip chart. That way a map is created that is still available to the students after the end of lesson. The young grownups can compare their own skills with those and reduce possible difficulties and mistakes in their everyday working life. In addition to that, the students create a SWOT table in terms of their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats on their work in the retail sector.
The last exercise is optional for the teachers and could also be used as homework. For this, the students get a questionnaire, which activates them to think about their own strengths and weaknesses of their work in the training company.
Area of application Creation of new teaching-learning arrangements to promote personal and social skills in the context of ‘readiness’ for vocational training of secondary school students.
Product Languages English