Recommendations on Teacher Training()
Developing a positive attitude toward entrepreneurship and encouraging teachers to make their teaching practices more entrepreneurial requires a cultural change. A common understanding of entrepreneurship education and entrepreneurial learning as well as a clear commitment from the school management is key to achieve this goal (e.g. entrepreneurship education part of the plans of the school, strong support from the head of the school, etc.).
The benefits of being an entrepreneurial teacher need to be properly communicated and explained. This has an impact on students’ preparation for life but it can also have positive effects on teachers’ practices. School curricula are often overloaded. We expect teachers to do many things and being entrepreneurial may help them to better manage all the tasks they have to fulfill.
Entrepreneurial methods and entrepreneurship education should be covered in the initial teacher training and it is important to offer regular and advanced trainings on the topic as part of teachers’ continuing professional development (CDP). The content and format of the training sessions play a crucial factor. Learning by doing experiences and practical examples of methods and tools need to be introduced to the teachers. Even the title of the training may be key to engage and motivate teachers to participate (e.g. Lighten up your classroom).
To make entrepreneurship a daily practice and a natural part of the school curriculum teachers need to have access to high quality tools and methods as well as to instruments for evaluation.
Entrepreneurial teachers need to cooperate, network with others and consider their classroom as an open environment. Teacher using these skills and approaches need to be recognised and their experience needs to be promoted and used to engage others.
Often teachers working on entrepreneurship define themselves as “lonely souls”. For this reason, as soon as a teacher moves into entrepreneurial methods and entrepreneurship education, the possibility to network, to share best practices and to get advice from others comes of high value and makes the effort sustainable.
Implementing entrepreneurship education and making it a daily practice in schools takes time but it pays back. Everything starts with the teachers and, behind them, with the heads of the schools. As the schools that participated in the 2015 edition of the Entrepreneurial School Awards* highlighted, the suggestion for new schools moving into this field is to start small and then grow by having entrepreneurial teachers training the others, by recognising the good practices and by working on the motivation of school stakeholders. “Political decisions are important to open doors and increase awareness but then each school has to find its DNA and recipe for success” .
* The Entrepreneurial School Awards is a national and European recognition of the best schools championing entrepreneurship education. The first edition of the award took place in Brussels in October 2015 in the framework of The Entrepreneurial School (TES) project. More information available HERE