Be inspiredHF & VUC Fyn
By Lars D. Evind and Michael S. Brock, HF & VUC Fyn
As Higher preparatory single subject teachers at HF & VUC FYN, we have participated in the SIATE project, and based on our experiences from the project, we will here provide the perspectives and challenges that may be involved in thinking more about entrepreneurship in Adult education.
Entrepreneurship can be defined as: “when opportunities and good ideas are acted upon and turned into value for others. The value created can be of an economic, cultural or social nature”. In entrepreneurship education, the aim is for students to develop products and activities that potentially make a difference for others (e.g. at school or in the local community). Here are a few examples of how to work with entrepreneurship in our subjects
– In history classes, where we work with the use of history and communication, content can be created for a mini museum at the school
– To make the subject area “exercise and health” in physical education concrete, students can plan activities to promote social, mental and physical health at school or in the local community.
– In social studies, in connection with a course on individualization and late modernity, students can work with concrete initiatives aimed at promoting community and well-being among young people at school or in the local community.
Our own experience is that such projects can be resource-intensive – you need to think about scaffolding and student motivation.
And there always seems to be a significant risk that projects will not be realized. However, our participation in the SIATE project has taught us that we need to keep in mind that the criteria for success in entrepreneurship education is not necessarily the product itself. Instead, we should focus on the entrepreneurial skills developed in the process. One of the main points of entrepreneurship education is to take advantage of students’ prior knowledge and interests when developing products/activities. In particular, entrepreneurship education requires students to feel like they are contributing to the learning (rather than “receiving” education). Furthermore, entrepreneurship will often require collaboration – partly between students and partly with partners. When developing and planning activities, it may be necessary to collaborate with the school’s student council, a local association, a company or the municipality. Regardless of the outcome, the students’ relational skills will be worked on, and perhaps there will also be a greater sense of commitment to “reaching the goal” when involving others in your project. In connection with the SIATE project, we visited a school in Norway where they work with entrepreneurship.
Here, the experience was that students were mostly met with kindness and helpfulness when approaching potential partners. I wonder if such experiences in themselves can help boost self-confidence and courage to get involved in society.
When we ourselves may be reluctant to incorporate more entrepreneurship into our teaching, it is partly due to the “fear” that it takes time away from other elements of the often very ambitious curricula. Entrepreneurship education naturally encourages interdisciplinary collaboration, but even though the curricula include interaction with other subjects, in practice it can be difficult in the Higher preparatory single subject structure, where students do not belong to a class. In the end, it is therefore often up to the individual teacher to include entrepreneurship in their teaching in the form of smaller projects.
We see entrepreneurship in education at Higher preparatory single subject as a great way to prepare our students for the future. It has the potential to develop students’ “prerequisites for active participation in a democratic society and an understanding of the possibilities of individually and collectively contributing to development and change (…)”, as stated in the Higher preparatory single subject decree. We believe that entrepreneurship education can contribute to a concrete form of education that will appeal to many of the students who are the target group for the Adult Education Centre in Denmark. In this way, the Adult Education Centres will be able to contribute even more to shaping strong and active citizens.