Teacher’s Role in Entrepreneurship Education
This article aims to highlight the crucial and challenging role that teachers have in entrepreneurship education. We will introduce a piece of data gathered during a project “Measurement Tool for Entrepreneurship Education”. A group of teachers (n 29) in 2008 were asked to describe their aims and results concerning entrepreneurship education.
The results indicate teachers were familiar with entrepreneurship education, but, there is a remarkable lack of cohesion in definitions of basic concepts and, most of all, in between the aims and results. Moreover, when describing the aims of entrepreneurship education teachers “out source” themselves but describe the aims for the pupils / students. We argue, since the learner centred education has been in focus during the last decades, teachers’ role in education might have been neglected and hence we could “rediscover” teachers’ role again.
In order to develop this point of view in research and in implications for practice we would like to stress 1) the development of teachers’ learning in terms of their reflection, 2) developing practical tools for their self reflection, 3) realizing changes of education, like curricula reforms, from the point of view of teachers’ learning and 4) realizing the links between aims and results in the context of entrepreneurship education. Key words: entrepreneurship education, teacher’s learning, teacher’s reflection INTRODUCTION
The strategy of the European Union highlights the importance of the development of entrepreneurial culture by fostering the right mindset, entrepreneurship skills and awareness of career opportunities (Commission of the European Communities 2006). Finland in particular has extensively promoted entrepreneurship education mainstreaming at all education levels. This process has been supported administratively. For example, The Ministry of Education 1 announced an initiative entitled The Clarification and the Action Program of Entrepreneurship Education in 2004. The cross-curricular themes represent
central emphasis of the educational and teaching work and the educational challenges of the time are met through them (The Finnish National Board of Education 2004). In line, In Finland entrepreneurship education has long been included in the national core curriculum and the latest curricula reforms at all education levels point out the development of entrepreneurship education. The entrepreneurship education theme is called “Participatory citizenship and entrepreneurship”. The National Core Curriculum is the basis which the local and regional education providers follow but they may put own emphasis in their curricula.
(Finnish National Board of Education 2004) However, there is a long distance from the international and national policy making level to the future realization of outcome of entrepreneurship. A journey consisting two different processes: first, from the goal setting in education system, starting from the EU strategies and national curricula, to the altered daily teaching work of all teachers, and secondly, from the teaching to the altered behaviour of the students in the years to come. These processes are illustrated in the following picture. Aims of
entrepreneurship education European Union National education systems Schools Teachers Aims Students Teaching Learning Outcomes Increased entrepreneurial activity Time Picture 1: Teacher executing the aims of entrepreneurship education. Nevertheless, teachers have at times had difficulties in identifying contents and means by which to respond to challenges posed by entrepreneurship education 2 (Seikkula-Leino 2006; 2007, Fiet 2000a; 2000b). We propose a view that teachers are in a crossroads of several transformation processes embedded in entrepreneurial education.
Teachers are living through the overall aims of entrepreneurship education into increased future entrepreneurial activities in the society as they are transforming the aims of entrepreneurship education into teaching activities and into learning outcomes. Along with teachers having “hands on” connection to entrepreneurship education, they are also having the best position in evaluating the aims, the actions and the outcomes of entrepreneurship education. Teachers receive always the newest and most accurate feedback about entrepreneurship education.
As setting targets into entrepreneurship education contains the idea of guiding the education into desired direction, learning from previous actions is crucial in that process. Therefore we propose that teachers are in a central role in operationalizing entrepreneurship education, and more accurately in finding the best practices. In this paper we will introduce a piece of data gathered during a project “Measurement Tool for Entrepreneurship Education”. A group of teachers were asked to describe their aims and results concerning entrepreneurship education.
The teachers were familiar with entrepreneurship education, but, as the results indicate, there is a remarkable lack of cohesion in definitions of basic concepts and, most of all, in between the aims and the results. This analysis seems to suggest that there is a definite need for a more systematic data gathering and discussion around entrepreneurship education. Studying this phenomenon is warranted, as entrepreneurship education is in central focus concerning the development of social end economical well being. Since teachers are the key factors in promoting it we therefore stress their point of view as promoters.
However, there is a lack of relevant studies in this context. Moreover, there is a lack of tools which could enhance teachers’ development as entrepreneurship educators. Entrepreneurship education research is also mainly conducted on adult education and not at basic, upper secondary education and basic vocational training as is the case in the present study. Therefore, this article presents how rather untraditional fields of education can be developed at these levels of education by teachers and what kind of challenges exist in this road.
Furthermore, the article presents first steps how to develop practical tools which could empower teachers’ development. 3 CONCEPTS AND THEORETICAL BACKGROUND Entrepreneurship and entrepreneurship education The understanding of the concept of entrepreneurship is fundamental for defining entrepreneurship education. So far there is no agreement of any single theory of entrepreneurship (e. g. Shane – Venkataraman 2000; Davidsson – Low – Wright, 2001) and many notions of many different approaches to conduct research on the subject (e.
g. Grebel et al; Grant – Perren 2002). Hunting the Heffalump as theorizing entrepreneurship was launched by Kilby (1971) and after that more seriously pushed forward e. g. by Bygrave and Hofer (1991) as they introduced potential theoretical bases for entrepreneurship. Shane and Venkataraman (2000) reviewed previous writings and defined entrepreneurship as study of sources of opportunities, the processes of discovery, evaluation and exploitation of opportunities and those individuals who discover, evaluate and exploit them.
Sarason, Dean and Dillard (2006) continued from that and stated, that, despite entrepreneurship is treated as nexus of individual and opportunity, entrepreneurship is a social undertaking and must therefore be studied within a context of social system. The proposition is that the entrepreneur and social systems co-evolve (Sarason et al. 2006). The contemporary views on entrepreneurship emphasize alternative approaches such as narrative (Hytti 2003; Fletcher 2006) and prosaic (Steyaert 2004) entrepreneurship which carry the idea of entrepreneur as a socially constructed, creative human being.
Whereas managerial processes are processes mainly of control, normality, and standardisation, the entrepreneurial is about play, anomaly, and movement (Hjorth 2003, 260). According to Johannisson (1997, 113) entrepreneurship is represented by individuals (inter)acting as complete human beings with their own ambitions in the (inter)organizational setting. Entrepreneurship may be defined as the visualization and realization of new ideas by insightful individuals, who are able to use information and mobilize resources to implement their visions. The emphasis is not on the idea generation but more on the promotion and implementation of change.
(Nystrom 1995, 67) Seeing the everydayness of entrepreneurship, means to us that it is constantly present in the actions and talk. Entrepreneurs personify “action” in its intrinsic sense (that is, intentional conduct), and engage in genuine interaction (that is, in voluntary exchange for mutual benefit and learning) (Johannisson 1997, 113). As Johannisson, Landstrom and Rosenberg (1998) define it, “entrepreneuring is thinking and acting differently, moving things”, which suggests the action dimension to be inherent to entrepreneuring. It is not merely analysing but also being intuitive and then putting things on the move.
4 To define entrepreneurship education we may consider terms such as enterprising and entrepreneurial. The only major distinction between these two is that entrepreneurial traditionally refers to business activity, whereas enterprising can be used in any context (e. g. Gibb 2005). In order to avoid confusion and to be exact, this article uses both concepts explicitly: entrepreneurial (referring to the business context) and enterprising (referring to general education and learning processes). Teaching younger students’ entrepreneurship education is more about enterprise education.
The purpose is for students to take more responsibility for themselves and their learning, to try to achieve their goals, be creative, discover existing opportunities and in general to cope in our complicated society. Moreover, the aim is for them to take an active role in job markets and consider entrepreneurship as a natural career choice. This education involves developing behaviours, skills and attributes applied individually and/or collectively to help individuals and organizations of all kinds to create, cope with and enjoy change and innovation.
This involves higher levels of uncertainty and complexity as a means of achieving personal fulfilment and organizational effectiveness. Enterprising education is the process by which such behaviour is practised and supported. These skills, behaviours, and attributes are exhibited in organizations of all kinds ranging from within the family to the wider community context. It may embody elements of learning for the pursuit of some task. Moreover, it involves learning through a particular pedagogy and learning about, which then refers to cognitive learning (e.
g. Gibb 2006). According to Kyro (1997), entrepreneurship education deals with three main components: 1) self-oriented, 2) internal and 3) external entrepreneurship. Selforientated entrepreneurship refers to an individual’s self-oriented behaviour. Selforiented entrepreneurship is the basis for developing internal and external entrepreneurship (Remes 2004: 84). Internal entrepreneurship deals with entrepreneurial and enterprising behaviour. External entrepreneurship is about doing business (Ristimaki 2003: 6).
Even though self-orientated and internal entrepreneurship resemble each other, the difference between them is in the collectivistic sense which emerges in internal entrepreneurship development and which could be developed in organizations (Remes 2001). If an organization possesses internal entrepreneurship, it realizes its opportunities, makes use of them and demonstrates self-trust (Heinonen 2001). Self-orientated entrepreneurship is basically only about an individual’s development. Kyro (2005: 89) argues concerning self-orientated entrepreneurship: ?
In general, entrepreneurial and enterprising behaviour involves the idea that the human being, looking around him and combining different elements, creates holistic realities, which have their consequences in action. Even when the environment is full of paradoxes and events, the entrepreneur chooses what is suitable for him and his ideas. He does not select his elements from a single environment; on the contrary, his ideas can spring from anywhere and this combines different elements and this enhances the creation of something new. ` 5 As in basic education, self-orientated entrepreneurship should be emphasized (Remes 2001).
As a consequence, the focus is not only on developing factors related to motivation, self-awareness and creativity (e. g. Menzies and Paradi 2003), and responsibility for learning (Heinonen 2004), but also on co-operation and interaction, which refer to internal entrepreneurship development. In comparison, in the school context, external entrepreneurship education is about developing innovation (see also Gibb 2005: 48), and business ideas as well as strengthening co-operation between schools and work life, including such activities as work experience and study tours.
Through these processes we have a chance to develop an enterprising society, which means entrepreneurship and the development of an enterprising mindset in societies. In traditional teaching, the teaching is structured so that one content is studied at one time. The learning situations are controlled and students do not feel insecure during the learning processes (e. g. Gibb 2005). The following working methods could be considered for activating students’ interactive learning and reflections: co-operative learning, problem-based learning, group and peer work, project work, team work, learning by doing, pedagogical drama and learning diaries.
This is different from traditional teaching where the teacher gives for example lectures and aims at transmitting his knowledge, the pieces of information that he masters, to students. As Gibb (2005) argues, the pedagogy of entrepreneurship education is focused on students’ activity in learning, and this approach could be considered as a non-traditional teaching method. The learning situations are flexible, interactive and based on multidimensional knowledge development. Knowledge is built together and mistakes are regarded as a part of the learning process.
Therefore we may assume that the pedagogy of entrepreneurship education is based on socioconstructivism. Learning communities have a major role in these processes (e. g. Blenker et al. 2006: 99, Jack and Anderson 1999), and experiences are crucial in learning. Therefore in entrepreneurship education and its pedagogical discussion we could rely on Kolb’s (1984) experimental learning theory. As a summary of definitions entrepreneurship education is seen here through three aims that are learn to understand entrepreneurship, learn to become entrepreneurial and learn to become an entrepreneur (e.
g. Hytti 2002). Like Gibb (2001, 2005) has stated, entrepreneurship education is about learning for entrepreneurship, learning about entrepreneurship and learning through entrepreneurship. Therefore entrepreneurship education should be considered both as a method of learning as well as a content of learning (see Remes 2003). Teachers’ development and learning processes The success of education and desired implementation is centrally focused on teachers’ learning and reflection processes. Shulman & Shulman (2004) have 6 created a model for teachers’ development and learning processes.
They say an accomplished teacher should be a member of a professional community and be ready, willing, and able to teach and to learn from his or her teaching experiences. The model then consists of attributes like Ready, Willing, Able, Reflective and Communal. First, we here concentrate on presenting attributes mentioned before and then combine it with the teachers’ development and learning processes and the case here. Teachers in order to become able to develop learning and then produce meaningful teaching all the mentioned attributes should be existed.
According to Shulman & Shulman (2004) teacher must be ready to teach. That means she or he is dissatisfied with the status quo and is thinking teaching as a process other than telling, and of learning as a process other than repeating or restating. The aim there is a teacher who is ready to develop one’s own teaching and has set goals and visions for that. One can develop new visions of teaching based on different practises. They might work with some groups, but not with others and when it’s time to make changes, she or he can be unwilling and unmotivated to do so.
The change is a risk and willingness for changes might depend on where, inside or outside, the pressure for changes came from. An accomplished teacher must understand what must be taught, as well as how to teach it. That means she or he must be able to understand the subject matter of the curriculum and assess the variations in students learning, interaction and development results. Teacher should be, not only ready, willing and able, but also capable of reflecting. Critical examination of how well students have learned and critical analysis of practises used – that is leaning and teaching processes – is essential to reflect.
It is crucial to consider teachers both as individuals and as members of one or more groups that influence on their practices and beliefs. Teachers’ community might supply a shared vision, community commitments, shared knowledge base, established rituals and community practices, so it’s important to create an environment that supports and sustains understanding, performances, motivations and reflections of all its members. Those kinds of aims need resources to become fulfilled. Shulman & Shulman (2004) mention resources like venture capital, curricular capital, cultural capital, moral capital and technical capital.
Like mentioned before, the elements of the theory of Shulman & Shulman (2004) are Ready, Able, Reflective and Communal, but they expanded the frame by adding the existence of the Vision to readiness and willing with having a Motivation. They say an accomplished teacher should become ready to pursue a vision of classroom or school that forms a “learning community” where teachers understand and have motivation to further develop the forms of pedagogical and organizational practices needed transforming their visions, motives and understandings into a functioning, pragmatic reality.
When teachers are forming 7 learning communities and are working as members of such communities they are capable of learning from their own and others’ experiences through active reflection. As an extrapolation of these features, Vision, Motivation, Understandings, Practice, Reflection and Community, Shulman & Shulman (2004) created a model of teachers’ development and learning processes (picture 2). Vision Individual reflection Motivation Understanding Practice Picture 2. Features of teacher development and learning process (Shulman & Shulman 2004).
In the picture (picture 2) of teachers’ learning and reflection processes is essential to notice the double arrows and reflection in the centre. Shulman & Shulman (2004) summarize that an accomplished teacher smoothly integrates vision, motivation, understanding and practice into the teaching, and learns to improve that teaching through active reflection. They believe that reflection is the key to teacher learning and development. In fact Seikkula-Leino (2007) points out this same aspect in her study concerning entrepreneurship education development through curriculum reform.
According to her results teachers’ reflection does not have the scope for developing visions and even though there are minor elements for enhancing motivation for realizing entrepreneurship education the lack of understanding entrepreneurship education and undeveloped implementation practices restrict the development of teachers’ reflection and as a consequence the development of entrepreneurship education. 8 Other curricula research points out this aspect of teachers’ role and reflection (see e. g. Shulman & Shulman 2004; Schwartz 2006; Westbury et al. 2005; van der Akker 2003).
In fact, Schwartz (2006) stresses that educational change, like curriculum reform, is more about educating teachers than students. Thus, we may assume, realizing entrepreneurship education is based on the idea of teachers’ learning and their reflection. Therefore, this paper aims at finding out about teachers’ development as entrepreneurship educators. The authors present next a project which focuses on teachers’ development as entrepreneurship educators. The aim of the project is to develop teachers’ reflection skills and their acting as entrepreneurship educators. To fulfill these aims a large scale of research is needed.
Research and results found there will lead the way towards the practical measurement tool. A measurement tool project – a frame for the data gathering The project Measurement Tool for Entrepreneurship Education is a three-year (2008-2011) development project during which a measurement tool and a related manual will be prepared for entrepreneurship education. The tool is made for teachers at basic and upper secondary education and basic vocational training. The tool will be built to support the work of teachers, principals and decisionmakers, and to guide entrepreneurship education.
As is frequently the case, “you get what you measure”, and that is a challenge we are aiming to answer with the project presented here. The project is coordinated by Lappeenranta University of Technology and implemented in part by Kerhokeskus – koulutyon tuki ry (Centre for School Clubs). It is a European Social Fund (ESF) project funded by the Finnish National Board of Education, and private funding has been granted by Yksityisyrittajain Saatio (foundation for entrepreneurship). In addition, partners in the project include a number of municipalities and educational organisations from all around Finland.
The tool will be made with teachers, for teachers and it will measure teaching, the content of teaching and the methods used. At the beginning of the project, approximately thirty teachers recruited from basic and upper secondary education and basic vocational training. Their mission is to comment on, further develop and pilot the tool at different stages. This helps to ensure that the final measurement tool turn out reliable and wide-ranging. In the final stages of the project, new teachers will be recruited to the group to confirm the intelligibility and transferability of the indicators.
The outcome of the project will be a measurement tool for entrepreneurship education and a related manual, which will unfold the concept of entrepreneurship education and support the implementation of the tool. The tool 9 will explain in specific terms the teacher’s work as an entrepreneurship educator, provide guidelines for teaching and its organisation and it’s a tool for school quality management and its development. The set of tested and research-based tool may also be employed by decision-makers as they assess the state of entrepreneurship education (grade, region, and later also international comparison).
The tool aims to steer development in the long run, manifest in understanding of entrepreneurship, and the presence of entrepreneurship education as a content and method in education. The measurement tool will serve to establish the role and importance of entrepreneurship education. This project will support the incorporation of entrepreneurship education into the contents of teacher education and the continuing education of teachers. The tool will be implemented during the course of the project through teachers in the trial group. In the trial stage, the tool will be applied by the trial group and their organisations.
At the end of the project, the tool and manual will be published for use at the national level. Data gathering The preliminary data was collected in the beginning of the project from twentynine (29) teachers. The teachers represent different levels of education, sixteen (16) of them worked at basic education level (elementary and upper level of comprehensive school), six (6) at upper secondary education and seven (7) at basic vocational training level. Teachers represent ten (10) different municipalities and educational organisation and came from different parts of Finland. Seventeen (17) of the teachers were woman and twelve (12) men.
Their average age was forty (40) years and on average they had 10 – 15 years of teaching background. First they were asked to asses how long they have worked as an entrepreneurship educator. Eleven (11) of them informed 1-5 years, three (3) 610 years and ten (10) said they had being in that field more than ten (10) years. After the teachers were named by their organisations they received an e-mail with six (6) questions. Out of these six the following two are dealt with in this paper: 1. What kind of aims do you have for entrepreneurship education? 2. What kind of results have you achieved in entrepreneurship education?
The teachers had four (4) weeks time (September 2008) to answer the questions and they all did. 10 This enquiry was the first assignment for the group of teachers. During the threeyear project they will comment on, further develop and pilot the measurement tool. The aim of the first assignment was to discover how entrepreneurship education is described by the teachers and to find its status and practices used as well as orientate the teachers to forthcoming development work. Lower level of comprehensive school (basic education level, elementary school) A1&2 Aims: My aim is to invoke the enterprising spirit of the
students: to make the student: Independent, homing, self-esteeming, committing, adaptable, cooperative, persistent and studious All should master basic skills and capabilities. Students are not taught to be entrepreneurs but given capabilities to get along with working life either as entrepreneurs or workers. Students should also become active citizens. Enterprising means one self’s focused developing as a student. Results: As all education, entrepreneurship education takes time, and the measurement of results is difficult; but as you get to know the students, you will notice the progress.
Notably in team working and in responsible behaviour. The more students can influence on their task, the more motivated they are. A3 Aims: I try to create an enterprising spirit into teaching and into all activities in school. Results: All the teachers have a similar idea about the content of entrepreneurship education. We are ready to try new things and have projects with certain level of risk. This attitude has created several projects aiming to develop technological issues and international cooperation. Our committee for the parents has had numerous projects with significant results. A4
Aims: I would like the students to learn to be initiative and learn that one can make out by doing one’s best. It also important to value the work of others. Results: Evaluating the results is really difficult, because, as I believe, the results will be visible after the years to come. But I have noticed, that the kids have “moved closer” each other and team work and such are easier. 11 A5 Aims: By entrepreneurship education I try to teach my students of managed future, turning points and crises. It is about the capabilities and, most of all, about the attitude to act proactively, to create
own targets, to rise to the targets, and to act entrepreneurially as individual and as an active citizen, and feeling the responsibility about yourself and others. It is also about the ability to make decisions, and to communicate in global environment. Results: I am very happy with the results. Our school is much more entrepreneurial. People are more initiative and ability to solve problems is clearly better and the joy of learning is bigger. Also the measurement of well-being shows better results, and most of all, there is a zero level in bullying in our school. I believe that the sense of direction in
entrepreneurship education has affected the results. Upper level of comprehensive school Y1 Aims: To help the students to be initiative to have responsibility of their own working. Results: Some of the students are more initiative, some are not. Y2 Aims: An entrepreneurial school. Active networking, knowing one’s capabilities and thoughtful allocation of resources. An entrepreneurial school produces entrepreneurial students. Results: Several good results. Ethically responsible entrepreneurship should be supported. The “average students” should be considered. The best ones are naturally on the move. Y4 Aims:
In short: to teach more active, brave, selfexpressive, responsible, active and focused young people It is more about enterprising than entrepreneurial, but also, if needed, about having a firm. Results: When the teacher can invests energy, there will be results. Comprehensive school (including lower and upper level) P1 Aims. The first basic is about entrepreneurship, I see that responsibility about one’s own behaviour, team working, and trust on one’s own abilities. Results: I think, that these actions have positive results. If there is a shared goal, the kids are very determined. Seeing the result is very rewarding.
12 Upper secondary school L2 Aims: Supporting entrepreneurial activities in school work and in different kind of projects. Results: Difficult to say, but entrepreneurship helps toward good learning results. L3 Aims: Supporting academic entrepreneurship and seeing entrepreneurship as one possible career. Entrepreneurship in all actions. Results: Good team work and project learning. Improved understanding about learning. Courage to take further steps. Some actual start ups. Some students heading to further education in entrepreneurship. L4 Aims: Entrepreneurship education from kindergarten to university.
Results: Entrepreneurship has been integrated as an area of interaction into new upper secondary school curricula in 2003. Moreover, starting from the first of August 2008 this theme has been integrated into all subject courses in our school L5 Aims: Creating a picture of entrepreneurship as a larger entity. It is activity, responsibility, innovativeness, and knowing one? s resources and using them. Not only starting up a new firm, but also taking an active role what ever one is doing. That I would also like the teachers to understand and life with. Results: The course on entrepreneurship this year did not
fill its goals. Teachers have adopted entrepreneurship rather well. Good projects and successful events, e. g. selling postcard on the evening of traditions. L6 Aims: Entrepreneurship. Results: Several ways of measurement: number of student studying entrepreneurship successful projects increased importance of entrepreneurship in our school future entrepreneurs My development as teacher and as a human being 13 Upper level of comprehensive school and upper secondary education YL1 Aims: Understanding about business and entrepreneurial activities (e. g. risk and surplus) and what does is demand.
What entrepreneur need to know and plan. Giving a positive attitude towards entrepreneurship. The educationally justifiable attitudes are: responsibility, hard working and innovativeness. Autonomy individuals, self-directing and responsible actors are there important. Results: Results are difficult to measure, as in education in general. Students get their first experiences about entrepreneurship and business. Generally the students are motivated when they can learn thing by doing, by setting the space of learning and acting. I would also think that they had good time, and they have learned that entrepreneurs are
independent. Comments are positive and students like the cooperation with real firms. I feel, that the knowledge and interest on entrepreneurship of our student towards entrepreneurship is increased. It is difficult to say anything about attitudes towards entrepreneurship. The result will be visible during the next years, when the choices by the people shape the world. So I think that measuring results on short time perspective will not give good results. Attitudes alter slowly and students learn about entrepreneurship also outside schools. In short: Knowledge about entrepreneurship and b