Fostering Entrepreneurial Learning in Teacher Education

Abstract

The paper focuses on presenting entrepreneurial education as a possibility of today educational systems to address the challenges of the postmodern, post-industrial, the knowledge society. It is emphasized the necessity for education to develop awareness of entrepreneurship from an early age by revising the school curriculum to explicitly include entrepreneurship as an educational objective and to support teachers in incorporating entrepreneurial activities in their daily practices with students. The paper is also underlying the importance of the recently-redefined entrepreneurial competence by the European Commission and its conceptual framework that must be used in the development of curricula and learning activities. It is presented a new way of designing the educational activities and curriculum that fosters the entrepreneurial learning that will make the development of entrepreneurship competence possible. There are emphasized several approaches of designing innovative teaching and learning methods correlated with a new approach on curricular policies that should be implemented.

Keywords: Entrepreneurial educationentrepreneurship competenceentrepreneurial learning

1.Introduction

Entrepreneurial education must be considered nowadays an important instrument to address the

challenges of the 21st Century. Defining entrepreneurship as an individual’s ability to turn ideas into

action , to be innovative, take the initiative, take risks, plan and manage projects with a view to achieving

objectives, the European Commission is focusing on promoting the learning about entrepreneurship from

primary school through to university and considers that the success of the European Union in meeting the

challenges of competitiveness and economic growth to depend on dynamic entrepreneurship . In this

respect, education should develop awareness of entrepreneurship from an early age. Introducing young

people to entrepreneurship develops their initiative and helps them to be more creative and self-confident

in whatever they undertake and to act in a socially responsible way (EU, 2004).

Thus, the Commission recommendations include the necessity for Member States to develop more

systematic strategies to promote entrepreneurship training through: a) a coherent framework; b) support

for schools; c) fostering entrepreneurship in higher education; d) support for teachers; e) participation by

external actors and businesses; f) practical experience.

Based on these recommendations, it is necessary to revise the curriculum to explicitly include

entrepreneurship as an educational objective, to support teachers in incorporating entrepreneurial

activities in curriculum, design new teaching materials, implement projects, partner with businesses on

entrepreneurial training of teachers or setting up and running mini-companies.

Also, in 2006, and reinforced in 2012 in its Rethinking EducationCommunication , the European

Commission included entrepreneurship as one of eight key-competences for lifelong learning in a modern

knowledge-based society. It became an important objective at national level being included in the

educational strategy of all Member States. The entrepreneurship key-competence is defined as a sense of

initiative and entrepreneurship , being the ability to turn ideas into action through creativity, innovation

and risk taking as well as ability to plan and manage projects (EU, 2006).

2.From Entrepreneurship Education to Entrepreneurial Learning

Based on this educational aim, in 2016, the EU developed the EntreComp framework that

proposes a shared definition of entrepreneurship as a competence, with the aim to raise consensus among

all stakeholders and to establish a bridge between the educational institutions and workplace. It is set to

become a reference de facto for any initiative aiming to foster entrepreneurial capacity of European

citizens. It consists of 3 interrelated and interconnected competence areas: Ideas and opportunities ,

Resources and Into action . Each of the areas is made up of 5 competences, which, together, constitute the

building blocks of entrepreneurship as a competence. The framework develops the 15 competences along

an 8-level progression model and proposes a comprehensive list of 442 learning outcomes.

It defines entrepreneurship as a transversal competence , which applies to all spheres of life: from

nurturing personal development, to actively participating in society, to (re)entering the job market as an

employee or as a self-employed person, and also to starting up ventures (cultural, social or commercial).

The framework can be used as a basis for the development of curricula and learning activities

fostering entrepreneurship as a competence. Also, it can be used for the definition of parameters to assess

learners’ and citizens’ entrepreneurial competences (Bacigalupo et all., 2016).

Defining the entrepreneurship competence as the capacity to capitalize the opportunities and ideas

to create shared and added value for others, we can made the shift form entrepreneurship education, that

aims at developing individuals competence to start new businesses and initiatives, to entrepreneurial

education, as the new approach of education and instruction that sets a new way of designing the

educational activities and curriculum to foster a new generation of learning activities (e.g. entrepreneurial

learning ) that will make entrepreneurship competence possible throughout the entire curriculum.

We can hardly reduce entrepreneurial learning to fixed pre-specified statements of learning

outcomes since it deals with the creation of value that does not exist, prior to the entrepreneurial learning

process and cannot be foreseen in abstraction, but the framework of learning outcomes statements is

important to be developed as a reference point for the formal education and training sector, for curricula

design, for the non-formal learning context and to guide the definition of tailored pedagogies, assessment

methods, and learning environments that foster effective entrepreneurial learning (Bacigalupo et all. ,

2016, p.17).

In this context, the entrepreneurial education can be defined as an innovative way of designing,

organizing and developing - into interdependence - the formal-non-formal-informal curriculum. It

restructures the school curriculum, presenting itself as a new paradigm of education (Soare, 2008). This

perspective overcomes the narrow approach of entrepreneurship education that is linked with developing

the competences to start a new business, the entrepreneur being the results of such education (Soare,

2008, 11-15). It focusses on developing the key-competence of entrepreneurship in teacher education by

restructuring the curriculum for pre-service and in-service teacher education programmes with effects on

future teachers’ development of competence profile.

It will foster the development of essential skills and attitudes like creativity, initiative, tenacity,

teamwork, understanding of risks and opportunities, and thus, developing the sense of responsibility as a

key competence mind-set that will help students transform their ideas into action and later, significantly

increases their employability.

This means a new way of looking at teachers’ competence profile by including the development of

entrepreneurial competence, resulting in a new type of teacher – the entrepreneurial teacher . It is the

teacher that approaches teaching and learning form an entrepreneurial perspective, innovating, being

creative, and developing educational projects in order to meet the professional and social challenges. This

attitude towards teaching will determine a new focus on developing students’ entrepreneurial approach of

the activity e.g. the entrepreneurial learning .

3.Entrepreneurial Competence Framework

Furthermore, there is established the long-term framework when The Entrepreneurship 2020

Action Plan was promoted in 2013. It identified three areas for immediate intervention: a) entrepreneurial

education and training to support growth and business creation; b) removing existing administrative

barriers and supporting entrepreneurs in crucial phases of the business lifecycle; c) reigniting the culture

of entrepreneurship in Europe and nurturing the new generation of entrepreneurs (EU, 2013).

So, the policy context is set for implementing in teacher education new approaches on teaching

and learning. Promoting entrepreneurship in teacher education programmes seeks to enable teachers and

teacher students to develop the necessary skills and knowledge to meet the personal, professional and

social challenges they face by putting their ideas, initiatives, creativity into practice. This is the way

entrepreneurial learning is making its way into curriculum field.

As Langa (2015) demonstrates in his study, the transversal competences acquired by students for

the didactic profession is of a great importance. This aspect is all the more important so as persons with

the same level and the same register of competences obtain different results in the activity, on the whole.

The factors explaining such differences are related to the general elements of transversal competences,

among which: personal development, lifelong learning, autonomy and responsibility, critical thinking and

reflexive practice, cooperation, observance of professional deontology principles, communication and

social interaction.

In order to develop this competence, teachers can choose for the use of certain methods and

teaching aids, and for certain forms of organization of student work, aiming at stimulating different

intelligences in students, and taking into account the students' intelligence profile (Petruța, 2016).

It becomes clear that teachers need to become more entrepreneurial in their approach of teaching

and learning and that will be possible by rethinking teacher education programmes to include more

relevant activities and training towards the development of teachers entrepreneurial competence. It should

starts by setting relevant criteria for their selection and professional development, a more attention to

linking theory with practice, guiding future teachers for the development of the specific professional

competences and a more focus on reflection on their academic practice and behavior and that can

contribute to the forging of the professional identity of teacher educators.

As foreseen by the European Commission (2013b, p. 13), there are several key steps that can be

taken to put the profession of teacher educator onto a firmer footing: a) finding ways to achieve shared

definitions of professional competences – reflecting agreement on the multi-faceted knowledge,

experiences, skills and attitudes required for teacher educators to be effective in different contexts; b)

improving provision of professional learning and development; c) promoting investigation and research

about teacher educators; d) promoting active, committed professional communities and associations; and

e) clarifying roles and responsibilities.

4.Teaching and Learning Methods

The methods that can be used in developing the entrepreneurship competence can be grouped into

the following levels (EACEA, 2013): a) micro level – methods that can be introduced easily and

immediately; b) meso level – methods that may need wider agreement/resources; c) macro level –

methods that require changes to the curriculum.

The micro level refers to relevant initiatives that can take place in a classroom. It can include the

use of the following teaching & learning methods: blending ICT with entrepreneurship (digital story-

telling, blogging), real practice examples, group puzzles, action learning and self-oriented learning.

The meso level might require the involvement of the whole school, support from stakeholders or

other additional resources. They refer to: debate clubs, exercising marketing and selling, interviews with

entrepreneurs, creative idea generation and development, plan games, running of opinion surveys to

develop students’ ownership about their learning, use of simulation methods and the promotion of

voluntary work.

The macro level represents the curricular policy implemented at local/regional/national level. They

might include: practice firms in schools, mini/junior companies, outdoor training, whole school projects,

project learning or introducing a learning office at school level to coordinate entrepreneurial activities.

Following Keramat (2015) conclusions, we can identify the following methods that can be used in

entrepreneurial education: direct teaching-learning methods (inviting guest entrepreneurs, mentoring,

official speech-seminars, video watching and recording, training in extracurricular activities, training in

specialized lessons, small businesses mentoring, entrepreneurship tutoring), interactive teaching-learning

methods (process-oriented learning, learning from mistakes, interviewing entrepreneurs, bilateral

learning, group discussion, networking, problem-oriented learning, active learning), practical-operational

teaching-learning methods (role-playing, training workshops, site visiting, class practice, research

projects, internship, business planning, starting business, studying nature, investment projects, practical

experience).

5.Conclusions

Developing a common conceptual approach on teacher educator profession and promoting an

entrepreneurial ecosystem in educational institutions will create a reference point for any initiative

intending to foster entrepreneurial learning. A more focus on practical experiential learning experiences

will be needed in the teachers training programs. Designing learning contexts by involving real-life

entrepreneurs will make entrepreneurial learning more productive and efficient.

This can be possible only by developing a reference framework with learning outcome descriptors

explicitly defined and mandatory throughout the curriculum from primary, secondary, vocational to

higher and adult education contexts. Focusing curriculum on developing the entrepreneurship competence

and specific levels of proficiency will be possible by implement entrepreneurial teaching and learning

methods in the classrooms. Only by connecting entrepreneurship education policies with teachers practice

we will promote the development of entrepreneurial learning as a pathway towards entrepreneurial

competence of teachers and students in the educational context.

References

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Publisher

Future Academy

First Online

18.12.2019

Doi

10.15405/epsbs.2017.05.02.24

Online ISSN

2357-1330