Entrepreneurial learning: key points for schools

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Entrepreneurial learning: key points for schools

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Many Australian schools are already adapting approaches to education to ensure all young people have the knowledge, skills and capabilities they need to thrive in complex education and employment settings. The 'what' and 'how' to change are the missing pieces that Mitchell Institute, the Victorian Association of State Secondary Principals and the New South Wales Secondary Principals' Council stepped in to answer through this initiative.

Entrepreneurial-minded learners are curious and seek out and identify or solve problems, creating value for others.

Twenty-one government secondary schools from a variety of socio-economic and geographical contexts committed to create or extend the conditions to develop more entrepreneurial-minded young people, by applying Yong Zhao's three principles of entrepreneurial learning.

What the schools did

Students and teachers worked together in school action teams to identify issues or opportunities and come up responses. Some examples were tackling a lack of school spirit, addressing an unmet need in the local community and redesigning work experience. The teams set in motion different actions to research and develop innovative solutions for their chosen issues.

What teachers and principals said

“We actually have to change our school and we have to get our kids connected to learning. We lose too many kids. This, to me, was a really good opportunity to do something different. Because what we were doing didn’t work … it wasn't about learning. It was about you just come to this place. …This gave us an opportunity to investigate that and to find out what a different kind of learning might look like.” Principal, Vic.

“… it was easier to let go and then you take on a different role where you became their mentor, where they [students] approach you, when they need help.” Teacher, NSW.

"…It really requires a different skill set, you need to get to know the kids a lot better and be more in a mentor role. Also you’ve got to wait for your moments to teach I think and that’s the hardest part because I think you can kill the kids’ creativity really quickly if you overdo it and if you mistime those moments, but if you get opportunities to teach it can be the most engaging learning they go through …” Teacher, NSW.

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