In Australia, enterprise education is often associated with General Capabilities and 21st Century skills such as critical and creative thinking, communication and collaboration, but it also helps to develop non-cognitive skills like self-confidence and teamwork.
Enterprise education is an emerging influence on school curriculum with the potential to frame learning through attitudes, creativity, relationships and personal organisational skills.
Teacher is excited to be the media partner for a novel research project working to understand and learn from Australian teachers' perspectives about enterprise education in schools, and what's happening in classrooms across the country.
The project is a collaboration between the Australian Centre for Entrepreneurship Research (ACE) at Queensland University of Technology (QUT), and the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER). By taking part in this national enterprise education survey, launched today, you'll help ACER and QUT to understand the different ways in which teachers are engaging students with enterprise and entrepreneurial education, from K-12 and across government, independent, and Catholic school systems.
Understanding what's happening in schools
Highlighting the importance of teacher involvement in the development of enterprising and entrepreneurial skills in young people, Professor Martin Obschonka, Director of ACE at QUT, says: ‘We have solid research evidence suggesting that K-12 represents a particularly influential and sensitive phase for entrepreneurial learning as this prepares our kids and youth for a future world of work that increasingly requires entrepreneurial learning and acting to successfully navigate through one's career, also outside of the business world.'
Chad Renando is a Research Fellow at ACE and CEO of the not-for-profit Startup Status. Explaining the aim of the mapping survey, he says: ‘We need to understand first, from the practitioners on the ground, what their perspective is in their schools so that we can ensure that whatever interventions we do put in place – “we” collectively being teachers, leaders, universities and industries, and programs and providers, curriculum systems and government, and everyone else – we know that it's hitting the mark.
‘The survey will give us an understanding on how enterprise education (and entrepreneur education, as it is also referred to) is happening across the primary and secondary school systems. So, we want to hear about both internally and externally developed programs, within curriculum, extracurricular opportunities, how it's embedded across teacher capability and competencies. We're really trying to find out what all the different approaches are, the quality of it, the nature of it, and how effective it is.'
What is enterprise education?
The research team describes enterprise education as ‘the process of developing students to enhance their capacity for generating ideas, and their behaviours, attributes, and competencies to make ideas happen'.
One discussion arising from your survey responses will be current perspectives of enterprise education in different school contexts. The program you or your colleagues are delivering may be called ‘entrepreneur education' or a different term altogether. You may be teaching some aspects of enterprise education in the form of 21st Century skills or the Australian Curriculum's General Capabilities.
Renando says there are lots of exciting things already happening in Australian schools – including accelerators, hackathons and the use of externally developed youth entrepreneurship programs – but the challenge is to share that information, highlight the educators and program providers, ensure opportunities are available for everyone and not just the select few, and create practical tools for practitioners to build capacity in schools.
How to get involved
The survey is open to all Australian K-12 school educators, whatever your role or location. Click on the link to take part.
Stay tuned: Over the coming weeks we'll be updating you on the survey findings, sharing the perspectives of school leaders, teachers, subject specialists and support staff, highlighting school-based programs and external providers, and finding out what's working (and what isn't) from educators, researchers and experts in the field.