Teachers from secondary schools in the Nordland County was introduced to creative entrepreneurship in education by Engage.
By Silje Olsen and Live Eriksen Larsen
As Christmas was approaching, the market for new innovations substantially increased. Due to this occasion, Bjørg Ramskjell and Marianne Arntzen from Engage held a course for teachers from secondary schools in the Nordland County. The theme of the lecture was creative entrepreneurship in education.
At the annual career day at Nord University, hundreds of high school teachers could choose between several lectures with different topics. Engage hosted one of these lectures. The point of the presentation was to motivate teachers to introduce entrepreneurship to secondary students in an pupil active and creative way.
How to define entrepreneurial skills?
The teachers got an introduction to how you can define entrepreneurial skills, where Arntzen and Ramskjell emphasized the broad definition often used in the Engage context. In short: It’s about seeing problems as possibilities. Not only to create a new business, but just as much to make positive change in a public, private or voluntary organization.
Arntzen and Ramskjell also talked about entrepreneurial thinking as a way of seeing the world and as an ability to “sense, act and mobilize” under uncertain conditions. When talking about practical entrepreneurship and how to engage pupils, the lecturers introduced five practices of entrepreneurship in education: play, empathy, creation, experimentation and reflection.
For those who are interested in the practice of teaching of entrepreneurship and practical exercises:
- YouTube-video: How the entrepreneurial mindset can change you.
- Neck, H.M., Greene, P.G., Brush, C.S. (2014). Teaching Entrepreneurship: A Practice-Based Approach. Northampton: Edward Elgar Publishing
Heated discussions afterwards
A lot of examples were given on how the pupils could have forms of experience to bodily learn from: Observing in a shop or a nursing home to identify actual problems, improvisation exercises, interviewing stakeholders, prototyping etc. The attending teachers were also challenged in a practical thought experiment on how to attach a caramel pudding to the wall. This generated a nice discussion about the value of thinking for yourself and how to train that ability.
After the lecture the teachers had a lot of questions and input after the lecture. Many considering challenges with having an entrepreneurship class with only up to four hours a week, and the challenges of having classes with secondary students. Some were critical to how students can learn about innovation in few hours during a school week. Other teachers pointed out that if the students really are invested in the project, they will surpass the challenges of lectures. Another point was that this sort of class is mostly taught best through practical work – not on the school desk.