On Friday students in my Spanish 5 class went to the language lab to work on their business proposals that are due on Monday. Below is a short version of the conversation that ensued:
Grace (from logistics group): Hey guys, we need to bring it in as a class… no really, can we have a business meeting? We need to decide if we want costumers in Chile to buy our shoes from the internet and send the products directly to their houses or if we want to sell our shoes through department stores in Chile.
Alex (from ‘other company’ group): Well, one problem Nike has to consider when sending shoes to department stores is that using a middle man raises prices. If we raise prices, we may hurt our demand for the product and not sell as many shoes. If we go directly to their houses then we will take more of the profit and perhaps reach more clients. That said, I don’t know what kind of internet access folks in Chile might have so perhaps department stores is the best way to go.
Claire (from politics group): Do we know where department stores are and how much access there is to them? If there are lots of people living in very rural areas perhaps department stores wouldn’t offer enough access as internet might be able to.
Kyra (Culture group): We found on the CIA’s world demographics website that 85% of the population is in Chile. If the department stores are in the cities than we would have a good chance at hitting the majority of the market in Chile.
Andrea (Marketing group): And don’t you worry about the demand. We’re blitzing social media, radio, newspapers and we’ll have posters all over town. Not to mention we have a celebrity endorser who is the most popular soccer player in the country now.
Sean (Culture group): Soccer is definitely the most popular sport.
Darren (‘other company’ group): Nike has had success with celebrity endorses from popular soccer teams in Chile.
Julia (professionalism group): Also, if we just mail the shoes directly to the customers we might lose out on some face to face sales and relationship making. We’ve learned that a business can benefit a lot from having good personal relationships with folks working for them in other countries and also from face to face sales.
Grace (logistics group): Great, so we want to use department stores? Done. This was great! I wish we could have recorded this conversation! We just got input from all departments to make a good decision! Cool!
As I stood quietly in the back of the language lab I couldn’t stop smiling. In terms of all the theory we have talked about in regards to project-based learning, these students showed they could work collaboratively to critically think about research they had completed. The students also came up with creative solutions related to our central question. Ultimately, this discussion needs to be in our target language (only parts of it was in Spanish), but this type of thinking seems to be a great start. The class definitely got a taste for the power of this kind of learning. Next week this information will be written in Spanish in a report and presented in Spanish using a Glog as a visual aid. Although there have been some bumps in the road, Friday really brought together many things for our class. What a great day. I hope it continues through the end of this project and into the next!