To successfully integrate Entrepreneurship Education (EE) and entrepreneurial approaches into the daily teaching lives of initial teacher educators, we need to raise awareness about the potential of EE outside of business faculties, better understand the influencing factors and barriers for integrating the EE methodologies in Initial Teacher Education (ITE) programmes in our PIETE partner countries, and facilitate closer interaction between EE and ITE educators for peer-learning. We realised that to achieve this multifaceted goal, we need to physically bring together the representatives of both academic communities and undertake “tandem” workshops in PIETE partner countries: Austria, Hungary and Poland. We are delighted to report on the first results and insights from initial tandem interventions within our consortium.
During the latest PIETE workshop in Innsbruck, Austria, experts discussed the status quo of EE in ITE and reflected about the chances to integrate it more efficiently in the future. At the university-level in Austria, initiatives in the ambit of initial teacher education are surprisingly far less numerous, compared to the initiatives existing at the secondary school level. By now, only a few initiatives target EE in ITE directly, and most are offered across different educational levels, e.g. IFTE (Initiative for Teaching Entrepreneurship) and e.e.s.i. (Entrepreneurial Education for School Innovation). During the tandem workshop, we identified main issues and challenges, that hinder the integration of EE into ITE, while also discussing potential solutions to mitigate them.
Creating mutual understanding and structured pathway to implement EE
In practice, we observed a discrepancy between educators who feel that EE is important and already integrate it (often implicitly) into their classes, and educators who have difficulties to recognize the relevance of EE in general, and regarding specific disciplines or subjects taught. Educators are often also confused as they are not sure, which EE model or framework can serve best as the point of reference (EntreComp, OECD Learning Compass, etc.) for them, and for what they want to transmit to the students. Both, educators and entrepreneurship experts perceive that a mutual understanding of EE on the ITE level is absent, which hinders the integration of EE into ITE. Indeed, EE is not self-explanatory as often assumed, but many different perceptions and standpoints exist, depending on discipline, educational level, and individual opinions.
Hence, more flexibility and freedom in teaching and curriculum design are definitely needed in the first place, to pave the way for further EE initiatives. Moreover, experts suggest accompanying them with an efficient communication strategy for awareness raising. A concrete idea, which can be realized even without greater efforts, is e.g. the establishment of a digital platform for exchange (knowledge, information, contacts, resources, expertise etc.). However, to change attitudes nothing will be more rewarding than persuasion, courage and openness. To enfold, they need to be fostered on a constant basis throughout different levels and among several stakeholders.
Supporting both educators and the students in the process
On the student side, more support in terms of coaching and mentoring is suggested. EE should involve critical thinking with out-of-the-box thinking, whereby topics such as sustainability and innovation should move to the centre of the debate, as argued by experts. Students should be granted enough freedom to be creative, to develop and realize ideas. Eventually, competence development among students should also be tracked and measured. This will serve as an important signpost for attainment and future activity direction but also is required for the establishment and introduction of appropriate tools and indicators.
On the educator side, experts suggest the training and practicing of skills by making real-life experiences with entrepreneurship that can be transferred to the classroom afterwards. The sharing of best practice examples, as well as learning and teaching materials, didactics, or other resources is regarded equally effective. Workshop participants emphasized the availability of open source material to be useful to prepare educators. Also, PIETE has recognized this need and pursues with the development of a teaching compendium (project output nr.4), which serves as source of inspiration for educators and can be downloaded free of charge. Furthermore, capable educators should have or should be able to develop a kind of entrepreneurial spirit to recognize opportunities and ideas themselves, and to properly support students in their undertakings. At the same time, institutions will also be challenged to recruit educators with EE competences. This implies a reflection on the call and selection process of ITE educators. From a structural point of view, experts plead for an explicit designation of disciplinary and interdisciplinary entrepreneurship competences in the curricula, accompanied with a transparent operationalisation and visualization.
Recognition of entrepreneurial skills and self-identification potential
Finally, the key will be to find a consensus for all parties involved on how an entrepreneurial teacher is defined and what differentiates him/her from other teachers. The same applies at the student level. We must agree on how students, who got an entrepreneurship education, differ from students without EE. If we are able to work this out, we will also be able to efficiently integrate EE into ITE in Austria in the future.
Provided by: Desiree Wieser, MCI The Entrepreneurial School ® Innsbruck, Austria
The lecturers from the Institute of Education and the Faculty of Economics and Business Administration at the University of Szeged held tandem workshops in autumn 2019 to explore the lecturers’ experience and attitude about how their sense of initiative and entrepreneurship could be integrated into the teacher training programmes. The workshop was rounded up with the assessment and finalisation of the PIETE project’s questionnaire that will later be distributed among pre-service teachers in the Hungarian language. During the workshop, we were primarily interested in the questions on how Hungarian teacher training educators perceive entrepreneurship as a competence and whether some elements of Entrepreneurship Competence Framework (EntreComp) are being practiced within Initial teacher Education curricula unnoticed.
How do Hungarian teacher educators perceive “entrepreneurship competence”?
During the first workshop, the participants learned about the EntreComp and discussed how it is reflected in the Hungarian National Core Curriculum (HNCC). The HNCC features the term “sense of initiative and entrepreneurship” as a key competence, however, the name is slightly different from what is outlined in the EU recommendation on key competences for Lifelong Learning. A possible deviation can be reasoned with the fact that there is no direct translation of the term “entrepreneurship” to Hungarian. On top, at the beginning of the 1990s – in the period of the Hungarian regime change – the lay public attributed a negative meaning to entrepreneurship: it was associated with craft and tax avoidance.
The participants of the workshop got familiar with the elements of the EntreComp wheel. They pointed out that the entrepreneurship competence and its elements are naturally present in the personality of an efficient and responsible teacher. In their daily work, teachers directly and indirectly face situations and tasks which require activation of the entrepreneurship competence. For example, it is essential to set an objective and make plans. The review of the tasks, a teacher performs in their work, shows that they prepare a syllabus and thematic schemes at the beginning of an academic year and make lesson plans throughout the year. To advance their professional skills, they collaborate with the members of the faculty and the teachers’ staff committee, students, parents and colleagues teaching in partner institutions to fully develop students’ skills and competencies. Since each student has a unique set of these skills and competencies, teachers need a high degree of flexibility and creativity to motivate students and direct their attention what is not connected to the primary meaning of entrepreneurship but rather considered as soft skills of the EntreComp.
Is “entrepreneurship competence” being developed in Hungarian Initial Teacher Training programmes?
Considering the characteristics and specificities of the Hungarian initial teacher training, the workshop participants discussed several possibilities to implement the objectives of the PIETE project. They pointed out that several elements of entrepreneurship are already present in the Hungarian initial teacher training programs. For example, teacher students learn about the characteristics of the labour market, identify the fields where teachers can work (inside and outside the education system), and entrepreneurship as a way of life. Several courses include the analysis of pedagogical situations which also set the scene to assess self-efficacy. Students have a course called Educational Planning in which they learn about the general questions of planning, management, monitoring and evaluation. The courses include a module (Teachers’ roles and teaching as a profession) which covers the psychological questions of being a teacher and focuses on self-efficacy, as well as frustration related challenges. These courses are typically not about entrepreneurship de facto, however, they develop soft skills in close relation with the EntreComp. At the same time, there is also a possible way to get teacher candidates familiarised with entrepreneurship explicitly. For educators, who have been active for several years, shorter (5-8 lessons) or longer accredited (30-lesson), CPD programmes are the most suitable to put the elements of entrepreneurship competence into practice.
An online questionnaire, as part of the project, was drawn up and examined the teachers’ (1) attitude and (2) competences related to teaching entrepreneurship, as well as (3) the barriers of integrating entrepreneurship into teacher training. The participating teachers received a Hungarian version of the questionnaire to review it from a respondent’s perspective and indicate wherever the wording was accurate enough. The workshop revealed several differences between the terms of economics and educational science, however, the participants managed to achieve a final unanimous agreement.
Provided by: Szabolcs Pronay, University of Szeged
The PIETE Tandem workshop was held at University of Bielsko-Biala on 29th October 2019. It was jointly organised by the University of Bielsko-Biala (UBB) and the University of Economics in Katowice (UEK). Total of 9 participants (4 from UB and 5 from UEK) gathered to discuss the term of entrepreneurship, EntreComp and set a foundation for future collaboration.
The term entrepreneurship was introduced and the participants were asked how they understand it and how to best translate it into Polish. Then EntreComp was briefly presented and the wheel was discussed. Some elements of the wheel were not directly associated by the participants with entrepreneurship/ entrepreneurship education. It was concluded that a discussion on the definition and role of entrepreneurship in professional life in general and especially in the teaching profession is absolutely necessary which indicates the relevance of the PIETE project.
The idea of the PIETE project was discussed and the main project-related issues were presented. The conclusion was that entrepreneurship and entrepreneurship education elements should be a part of teaching courses not only for the sake of „producing” better teachers, but for the whole society that would be affected in a positive way (more entrepreneurial in professional and private life) if taught by teachers that are entrepreneurial in the broad sense that is presented in EntreComp.
After the general idea of the PIETE project was discussed, the main part of the workshop began – the workshop participants from UBB thoroughly discussed and presented the specificity of their job to the UEK workshop participants. The qualities of a good teacher and the requirements to become a teacher in Poland were elaborated on. UBB employees explained how those requirements influence their teaching and how they prepare ITE students to become teachers. The specificity of ITE in Poland was generally discussed and compared to some other European countries. Further, recent changes in the ITE curriculum were debated. Also, the current situation of teachers (financial and social status), expectations towards teachers and attitudes towards them were presented and there was an ongoing discussion about it, especially in view of the fact that recently teachers in Poland went on strikes. Potential ways of introducing entrepreneurship education into ITE programmes and anticipated problems (e.g lack of time to implement it and potential lack of ITE educators’ motivation to do it) and solutions (e.g. some incentives for ITE educators connected with introducing entrepreneurship education elements into ITE programmes) were discussed. Everyone agreed that introducing elements of entrepreneurship education into ITE programmes would be of enormous benefit for ITE educators, students and for the whole society in general as young teachers would educate new generations how to live more entrepreneurial life.
Provided by: Anna Wieczorek, University of Bielsko-Biala