Module 1: Engaging students through entrepreneurship education
- Entrepreneurship education prepares resourceful and motivated individuals, skilled to achieve the goals they set out for themselves.
- Evidence shows that people with entrepreneurial education are not afraid to take risks, demonstrate creativity and innovative thinking.
- Entrepreneurship can be learnt and could start from an early school age.
- Entrepreneurship can be seen as a transversal competence, which is relevant not only to employment and business but to personal development and engagement in society.
What is Entrepreneurship?
1.1 Entrepreneurial mind-set and sense of initiative
The sense of initiative and entrepreneurship is the ability to turn ideas into action through
- ability to plan and manage projects.
In other words, entrepreneurial learning, is about nurturing open- minded, creative thinkers. It’s a mind-set which would allow pupils to approach every opportunity, goal or challenges with the same curiosity and creativity, regardless of the context, subject, and situation.
1.2 Entrepreneurial education in your school/classroom
There are three ways of promoting entrepreneurship education:
- by fostering entrepreneurship education through one specific subject; second,
- by adopting entrepreneurial education as a cross-curricular and transversal competence applicable to all subjects and
- by thinking of entrepreneurial education as a method rather than an aim.
What is the state of entrepreneurial education in your country/region/school?
In Greece entrepreneurship is taught in High Schools (upper secondary level), as part of optional subjects -"school activity projects" - which rely on teachers' initiatives. As a result it is not always offered as a choice.
Most teachers (me included) feel that we lack the skills, the knowledge, the confidence or even the will to incorporate enterpreneurial education in our classroom. There is much misinformation about it: many think enterpreneurship is about setting up small "school" businesses and some even believe this has no place in schools.
1.3. Spotting opportunities
Entrepreneurship is very often associated with identifying problems, needs, and coming up with creative solutions for the benefit of others. Often, entrepreneurship minds bring the attention of others to needs and opportunities that they have not considered before by trying to look at things from various perspectives.
Sometimes we do not spot opportunities because we are not used to seeing things from a different perspective. Students should be driven to take a different perspective to things and situations; help them perceive familiar environments from a different point of view. To use creativity and imagination to join the dots, to make connections between things, to create opportunities.
Let young people take charge and make their own decisions and take responsibility for the well-being of each other, for the creation of the school culture, for the wellbeing of the whole school and the community.
Classroom activity: "What is it like to be a cat?"
1.4. Stimulating learners’ creativity and value creation
Entrepreneurial minds are restless in their will to create new or better solutions and outputs. Sometimes this means seeking and testing various ideas, and opening one’s mind to alternative ideas.
The 30 circles challenge: a short activity for fostering creativity.
Dominic Wyse, professor at UCL in the UK, explains that originality and value are undeniable features of creativity. Dominic defines creativity as “a person’s ability to create something that is regarded by appropriately qualified people as original and of value” . He considers that teachers are the “qualified people” that are asked to judge the creative outputs and processes of their students.
Creativity is thinking, the “what if?”. We consider that creative processes enable us to generate ideas, and that idea and possibility generation is central for enterprising students (and teachers).
Creative people don't have one idea that is the same idea a few times, they'll have lots of different, very, very different ideas and look at ways to solve problems in this sort of creative breath of thinking.
There has been a lot of talk about whether creative people are born or bred: You can be born to be more or less creative but you can certainly learn to become more creative.
We should ask children more questions like “why?”, “what if?”, “I wonder”. And that could promote their creative thinking.
The Reverse thinking method is a method for creative idea generation:
Instead of adopting the logical, normal manner of looking at a challenge you reverse it, and think about opposite ideas. For instance, if I want to find ways to lose weight, I might ask myself the question “how can I put on more kilos?”.
This method for generating ideas is easier and generally more fun. It lowers fear of saying the wrong thing (as you are talking about bad examples) and stimulate wider dialogue. It also allow us to look at things from a different perspective.
Creative exercise: Take a cloth hanger, or any other simple object (a newspaper or a paperclip), and ask your students:
“Can you think of as many different uses of this object as possible?”
What can't you do with a coat hanger?
Quantity is important not quality in this case.
How do I (and the school system in general) discourage the creativity of my students?
- spoon feeding them with knowledge
Module 2: Enabling students to take the future in their hands
The first set of competences in the EntreComp framework:
- Spotting opportunities
- Valuing ideas
- Ethical and sustainable thinking
WEBINAR: Lucy Griffiths, Island Friends: Engaging the Youngest Learners
The ‘Enterprise Eggs®’ are seven key elements of an enterprising mind-set that are suitable for children in their early years.
2.1 Look(ing) into the future
Innovation starts with a vision!
What teachers need to make sure, is to provoke curiosity about the future, and ask questions in order to develop students’ strategic thinking. Be sure to have always clear, and simple questions to guide your students through the process of visualising ideas. (Imagine that…How does it works? What are the steps to achieve this? What if? )
Sharing visions and looking through the eyes of others is a powerful way of broadening one’s mind and imagination. That is why visualisation techniques are suitable for activities with the whole class or in groups.
2.2 Seeing the value of ideas
Innovative minds are nurtured into appreciating the importance of an idea. They see potential and find ways to realise it. We can help our students to find the right balance between imagination and applicability of ideas by teaching them how to evaluate their ideas.
The "four coloured glasses" activity
reminds me of...
One activity which is very useful for bringing awareness to all aspects of an idea, and the various opportunities it may bring, is mind mapping (also called mental map). Mind mapping is a way of capturing your thoughts
- by presenting them in a visual form
- identifying strategies and patterns, steps in achieving a certain aim.
- allows you to consider several aspects of an idea, a project, a topic.
Mind mapping could be facilitated by many different digital tools but sometimes just using a pen and putting all ideas on paper would work just fine.
Mind mapping helps students to put ideas in context and evaluate their relevance to the world that surrounds them. Mind maps can be presented in different ways: spider's web, fish skeleton, network scheme, etc.
2.3 Ethical and sustainable thinking
Entrepreneurs are open-minded, creative and see things from various perspectives.
However, entrepreneurial minds are not just dreamers distanced from the world that surrounds them. They are able (or should be) to assess the consequences that their ideas and actions have on other people, on society, on the environment. Enterprising teachers and students should therefore work on analysing their ideas in ethical and sustainable terms, adapt ideas according to the situation or social needs, or take ethical and sustainable principles as a trigger for new ideas.
Entrepreneurs should have a profit but also the people and the planet in mind. the impact on the environment and working conditions of labourers as well as the profitable price.
Solving real –life dilemmas in class is a good way to introduce your students to ethical thinking. The topics could be inspired by situations that children and young people can closely relate to.
Example of a real-life dilemma: ‘Lea has been offered something she really wants. Unfortunately, it's terribly unfair to a lot of other people and she knows it. Should she allow herself to benefit from an unfair situation?’
Real-life dilemmas help students to see the different nuances of the meaning of acting responsibly, which is a relevant competence not only related to entrepreneurship. You can explore many other scenarios at the Daily Dilemma Archive.
What entrepreneurs should always have in mind is that what they do today will have an impact on theirs and everyone’s tomorrow. This entails thinking what consequences an action might have on the community, environment, economy and society as a whole.
Fair trade is a good example of a topic, which you can tackle in the classroom. By learning more about fair trade, students in both primary and secondary education can learn more about the relationships between farmers, businesses and consumers and how we can produce food in a sustainable way.
2.4 Ideas and opportunities
The 5 competences of the first area for the EntreComp Framework
Module 3: Making good use of resources
To develop entrepreneurial projects and the mind-set, one needs to work on the ability to obtain and manage the resources needed to make an idea or opportunity become a reality. This entails
- financial literacy and
- the ability to mobilize others and resources.
Teachmeet: It's not just about ideas. It's about making ideas happen
3.1 Self-awareness and self-efficacy