How to Introduce Holistic Entrepreneurial Education in 4 Simple Steps
Entrepreneurial education is one of the most trendy and talked about approaches but at the same time one of the most misinterpreted ones. Majority of educators and teachers agree that it is extremely important to support students in developing entrepreneurial attitudes which seem indispensable in the modern world. The entrepreneurial skills seem to be equally important both for those intending to pursue their professional careers while working for somebody else and for those who are planning to begin their own ventures. When understood correctly and introduced properly the entrepreneurial education is undoubtedly one of the most powerful educational approaches that can be successfully implemented even on the early years levels.
Misconceptions about Entrepreneurial Education
It’s important to be aware of the misconceptions about entrepreneurial education as it is very easy to mistake the approach for what it is not and take it all wrong. Following the wrong path might negatively affect your teaching, parenting, learning facilitation and bring undesirable effects for your students and children.
Entrepreneurial education is NOT at all about the knowledge of business environment but unfortunately too many educators understand it this way and use it as just another opportunity to smuggle some business theories, facts and knowledge about the economy, marketing or banking.
What is an Entrepreneurial Education?
Entrepreneurial Education is all about helping students developing the right attitudes and skills. What attitudes and skills are we talking about?
There a few fundamental attitudes that characterise the approach and the most important ones definitely are:
- the “can-do” spirit
- the creativity and open-mindedness
- self-confidence related to being aware of one’s talents
Equipped with this set of attitudes children are more likely to succeed on their chosen path, ready to take risks, manage their talents and make decisions that will help them fulfill their potential.
As you can see the distinction between the Entrepreneurial Education and its misinterpreted counterpart are substantial and therefore it is relatively easy to judge which approach educators are following. Additionally, Entrepreneurial Education requires completely different set of pedagogical and methodological tools to be used to achieve the intended goals.
Steps to Introducing Entrepreneurial Education in formal education and home schooling:
Introducing Entrepreneurial Education into your classroom, early years provision and home education/parenting requires thorough understanding of its principles and actually believing in them. Then, the rest comes easily and naturally. Here are the things you should be doing on daily basis to support your students/children develop their entrepreneurial spirit.
1.Support “Can-do” spirit
Your students need to believe in their skills and talents. Actually, they need to believe in themselves which requires positive self-esteem and knowing your own assets. You can support this by planning varieties of activities that will appeal to various interests and which could be enjoyed by all the children the way they feel best. This requires observing your students to learn about their individual talents, personalities, passions and areas of interest and planning your activities accordingly. The main focus should be on the process rather than outcome as this supports development of skills and helps gradually build self-confidence. This is especially important for activities which children would like to try but do not feel particularly confident about. No matter the result the child should be offered positive feedback for trying, taking one step further to stretching their skills. Organising challenges which seem manageable in children’s eyes helps them believe in themselves and brings sense of achievement. They need both to be ready to pursue their professional career in the future.
Providing enough opportunities for discovering and stretching skills in different forms helps children learn more about themselves and in particular become aware and confident of their skills and interests. This is particularly important for them to be able to manage their talents later and in the future. Having enough experience with certain contexts and activities children find it easier to decide which of them they feel the most confident and excited about. Being able to choose from different things children develop decision making skills. They rely on their previous experiences with certain toys, equipment, activities and contexts and are able to judge confidently which to participate in and which to avoid. This will help them volunteer their skills, talents and attitudes for projects where their special skills are most desirable. Considering this, educators/parents should make sure they provide enabling environments where children can decide about the nature of their experiences and participate in shaping them.
Respecting children’s as individuals means promoting relationships based on partnerships. This means offering them choice, including them in planning and shaping their experiences, considering their voice and allowing them to express their views. All these will contribute to children’s developing strong communication skills, awareness of who they are as individuals and what they expect from others and also positive self-confidence. They will need this all on their journey towards entrepreneurship and developing such skills and attitudes should begin in their foundation years. As children grow they will gain more confidence, their skills and talents will develop and supporting their entrepreneurial spirit by promoting partnerships will help them realise their full potential in the future.
By creativity I mean open mindedness, ability to respond spontaneously to the experience that arises and using one’s own talents to come up with creative, innovative and effective solutions. Creativity can and should be stimulated in all areas of child development and should not be considered as arts and crafts only. Children play creatively from their very early days and they manifest their creativity in the way they use their bodies, make sounds, use toys, equipment and everyday objects. Creativity supports entrepreneurial spirit as it helps you think out of the box, come up with ideas that can be used effectively to solve problems and find solutions. This is one of the most desirable skills for an entrepreneur. Organise activities that help children manipulate their environment in a creative way, use their talents and reasoning to come up with solutions, and new approaches. Focus on the process rather than the goal especially when working with younger children. Typical activities that promote creativity are: construction, role-play, arts and crafts, music making, story telling, multi-sensory play, dance, design, drama, physical activities etc.
Entrepreneurial Education approach does not require you to plan separate sessions or activities. As it is more pedagogical approach that a tool it should be embedded in your everyday planning and can inform your observations. With early years students the focus will be to help them develop their attitudes and skills while with school children to support their further growth and help them manage their skills and talents.
Further Resources to help you:
Part of our life mission is to promote Nurturing Children’s Natural Leadership among educators and parents as the educational approaches of the future. We do it by offering free courses, books, training and speaking at international conferences where you can meet us and collaborate with us.
The upcoming conference in Jakarta – GESS Indonesia is a special event where we will be participating as Honorary Speakers at GESS Principals Forum in September, 2019. We hope to see you there!
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