Creating Soul and Spirit in a Business Classroom: Examining Design Assumptions about Learning

By Ellen West.

Published by The Design Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

“The Power of Soul and Spirit in Business,” an elective in the management curriculum in a business school, has been offered with increasing popularity for several years. More than 280 students have enrolled in this class, and the design of the course continues to be influenced by basic assumptions regarding the best techniques for adult learning. The class focuses on several learning outcomes related to understanding the positive influences that soul (heart) and spirit (passion and enthusiasm) can exert within an organization and how these forces can contribute to creating a healthy work environment.

A variety of assumptions about learning guide the design of the class including: creating an atmosphere that helps students feel safe, capable and confident; growing a culture of community within the classroom; providing a variety of opportunities for hands-on learning by means of active learning strategies; and creating opportunities for students to learn from each other as well as celebrating the differences and unique gifts of all classroom members.

Student reactions to the class will be discussed in addition to follow-up interviews with several alumni who continue to see evidence of the impact of their learning in both their professional and personal lives.

Keywords: Adult Learning, Active Learning, Andragogy, Instructional Design, Soul and Spirit

Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal, Volume 3, Issue 5, pp.293-302. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.174MB).

Dr. Ellen West

Associate Professor of Business Administration, Management Department, School of Business Administration, Portland State University, Portland, Oregon, USA

Dr. Ellen West, Associate Professor of Business Administration, teaches in the areas of creativity, organizational change, and developing soul and spirit in business. She has consulted with a variety of organizations with regard to change management and spent an earlier sabbatical working at Mentor Graphics, a technology firm. She has published in several journals including The Journal of Management Education, the Organization Development Journal, and the Journal of Learning in Higher Education. To fulfill her commitment to developing her own spirit,she has undertaken a variety of change challenges including running marathons, publishing fiction, teaching in India, studying theater arts and improvisation, and appearing in a local theater production.


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