How do you teach entrepreneurship? How do you teach an art form?
My best guess is you must experience it.
I don’t have the answer but I do know it’s not the traditional way of textbooks, quiz’s, sitting in desks and writing tests. Memorization is not a quality we need in the world of 2015 and beyond, so why do we keep putting so much emphasis on the standardized test?
The immediate argument is, “well Jeph, we can’t just have a class without testing students, how are we going to mark them? How will they be graded? How will they be judged?” Are we that naive to think there is no better way to assess students on how well they understand a topic than to put them in a room for three hours and test how good they are at memorizing?
Down with the bloody Standardized Test!
Up with experiments in learning! Jordan McFarlen and the Campbell Business program have been growing young entrepreneurs in a major way for the past 5 years. The class has increased in size, they’ve added another teacher, and kids have a couple different options as to what “business club” they want to be a part of, extra-curricular isn’t just limited to sports and drama anymore, Business is the next big thing in learning.
Experiments in the classroom lead to experiential learning
In Mr. McFarlen’s Entrepreneurship class the students would start a company, sell something, and well learn how to do things companies do. Rarely do things go as well as you plan for, so student learn to rebound after failure, spontaneously come up with ideas refining the product or sales process. It’s the best way to learn, to experience.
The first time I saw it I was amazed! And kind of jealous, I wish I took Mr. McFarlen’s class, I would have worked my ass off!!
The one year his class started a company selling iPhone and Android phone cases. The students were shipping in the cases from Shenzhen, China and selling them at a markup. It was amazing to see, not even 18 years old and they were dealing with distributors in China, how amazing is that?!
Education needs to change, faster
Everyone by now has seen that Ted talk from Sir Ken Robinson on why School is broken and why we need to fix it. His argument starts with just the basic concept of “school” hasn’t changed or evolved in 100 years. We’re still having one teacher dictate from the front while everyone sits in rows and listens. This doesn’t work anymore.
It’s time for a change.
Can we start assuming students are a lot smarter than they are?
If we assume they are much smarter than we think we wouldn’t need a curriculum to focus on theory that outlines EVERYTHING they need to learn. Instead, it would be a several outcomes the students need to come to. The less you try to teach, the more the students learn.
My experiment in learning
At Sask Polytech, I’m teaching Admin 224 (Intro to entrepreneurship), I put whatever I’m using in class on that page and at the end of the year it’ll be a good resource on every thing that is entrepreneurship. The best part about this entrepreneurship class is that we’re actually starting a company. The students decided on “UpliftingTShirts.ca”, a social enterprise experiment.
Goal: Raise $1,000 for Carmichael Outreach.
We have roughly 5 weeks to do it. I think we can pull it off, the class is pretty awesome. Be sure to check back here in a couple months to find out what happened with the t-shirt experiment!
“Inspire your students to learn more than they think is possible.”