Education Talks: Making the entrepreneurial classroom an exciting place to be

Associate Professor Kathryn Penaluna and Professor Andy Penaluna at University of Wales Trinity Saint David, talk about entrepreneurial learning and offer teachers ideas on how to transform their classroom into an exciting place with an entrepreneurial mindset!

What happens during entrepreneurial learning?

For me, it is all about the creativity and the innovation. It is all about being able to have lots of ideas, many ideas, different ways of looking at things because that is what you are going to need. You will be able to shift, change, adapt, not just respond to opportunities but to also spot opportunities.

So for me, these are some of the key, really key things. One of the myths is you need one big idea. No, you don't. You need many little developmental ideas.That is all about being creative.

How does assessing entrepreneurship change approaches to teaching and learning?

If we are looking at what we want to achieve in terms of student learning, we could look at it under two eyes. We call these, implementation and innovation. So typically, if we are going to do an examination, the educator knows the exact outcome. They know what the students are going to do and there is a reason for doing it that way.

So really, you are testing what can they remember, how well can they remember it in a time-constrained situation. However, innovation doesn't work that way. Innovation surprises, it brings something new. And we need that opportunity recognition skills for example, these creativity skills, these ideas generation are innovative sides. We need both. But with innovation, it is more about how many ideas, how different are those ideas, where can those ideas be used, how can they be tested?

So there is a range of new metrics that we are developing about assessment and EntreComp is a good example of that.

Assessment really needs to be fit for purpose. It is ensuring that you are actually measuring something that is meaningful to you as an educator but particularly so to the learner. So the assessment becomes an integral part of the learning, not a standalone aspect. So the assessment actually fits into the whole process. So one of the things that we have actually been working with our teachers is getting them to think about the competencies that they are very comfortable and would enjoy assessing. 

Because one myth as well is that one educator can actually deliver the full curriculum and the full range of competencies.

What can school education learn from businesses and industry?

We can also learn a lot about the various practices from business and have a look at how they can be transferred into education.

By way of example, if you are going to create a really entrepreneurial learning environment, we could actually move from being where you look at the educator, from being the front of all knowledge and pick up on the business practice of coaching.

Another myth is that it is all about business startup. Very often it is left with the educator involved in teaching business studies or economics to actually take responsibility for entrepreneurship education. Entrepreneurship is a lot more than just business startup. It can ultimately lead to business startup but that is not the focal point.

How can schools work with universities to support entrepreneurial learning?

What can schools learn from universities? Obviously, universities do a lot of research, they look into things, they test, they challenge. Very curious places. They are always trying to find out different ways of doing things. So schools can certainly look at the way that educators and researchers work in universities.That is a useful helping point.

And ask yourself: ‘when am I at my most creative?’ It is when I am having fun when I am playful when I am enjoying myself, so the entrepreneurial classroom is a fun exciting place to be.