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Entrepreneurial Spirit as a Lifestyle

Entrepreneurship in Primary Education to build a better society

Numerous educational experts predict that schools of the future will not have traditional classes.  Instead, teachers will guide students through their own learning processes.

Innovative methodologies such as the well-known “flipped classroom” will appear. What does this mean? In a flipped classroom, the students who “teach” the classes and give presentations, while teachers limit themselves to orientation and support. The curriculum will be tailored to the needs of each student, and personal and practical skills will be valued more than academic content.

Our society never stops changing, and we never stop learning. As a result, our educational systems are under constant pressure to incorporate new ideas and new technologies, ultimately allowing us to develop innovative ways to inspire the next generation.

Our educational system is responsible for preparing young people to build successful lives.  Young people should be prepared to face all challenges and take advantage of the opportunities that wait for them down the road, and I can’t think of a better way than by learning entrepreneurship.  Entrepreneurship is a key subject that should be integrated into the student curriculum.

Fostering entrepreneurship in children, youth, and adults is important for promoting their independence and betterment. There are many benefits to this practice, including the development of creativity, assertiveness, confidence, and positive thinking. On the other hand, it also greatly improves the ability to resolve conflicts and make decisions.

What does it mean to be a teacher? 

  • Someone who loves what they do and is capable of facing obstacles and risks to achieve what they want.
  • A person who is optimistic, who faces life with a positive attitude, and prefers to take action instead of complaining or being discouraged.
  • Someone who believes in their ideas and is capable of carrying them out and finding a way to make their dreams happen.
  • A person with a high dose of self-determination and independence.
  • Someone who learns from their mistakes, who does not freeze or give up when they make mistakes or fails, and who tries to get ahead despite the difficulties they encounter.
  • Doesn’t let fear stop them.  Fear serves as a counselor. They make friends with fear, and they keep going in spite of fear.
  • Develops the capacity to tolerate uncertainty.  They don’t wait for certainties or assurances before doing something.

Are entrepreneurs born or made?

Ten years ago, I would have answered that entrepreneurs are born.  Why?  Because all my life I thought that I lacked an entrepreneurial gene and that I would only be able to work for someone else. I never dreamed it would be possible for me to be an entrepreneur, but today, my opinion has changed.

In my opinion, it’s a little of the former and a lot of the latter. People can be born with qualities that enable and help them in the realization and creation of different ventures; nevertheless, many of the most successful entrepreneurs are those who have learned to start a business. 

I believe an entrepreneurial spirit can be exercised like a muscle, and that that that is learned along the way.

How can we stimulate the entrepreneurial spirit in children?

1) Teach them these values from childhood.

Many experts recommend five years old as the optimal age for children to begin learning about entrepreneurship, but I believe it can begin earlier, from my personal experience with my own children. Every Friday, my children’s daycare did an exercise called “Show and Tell”. They had to bring a toy or favorite food and explain to the class why they liked it.  In addition to public speaking, they developed a talent for selling.  Additionally, parents took turns going to the daycare to tell the children about their jobs.

It is important to create an innovative and creative learning environment through the use of games, activities, groups, organizations, etc. Time and space should be dedicated to free expression, so you can help them reflect, create ideas, and understand their motivations.

2) Self-esteem, dreams, and failures.

Raising self-esteem is essential. Teaching a child to believe he can achieve anything he sets his mind to if he tries is as important as knowing that making mistakes and failing are not a defeat.  You have to teach them to have a positive attitude, to create an atmosphere in which making mistakes is permitted, and to be open to constructive criticism. 

When I went to school, exam results were read in public, which invited teasing, public scorn, and lowered children’s self-esteem. I myself was a victim of this.

3) Decisions and Consequences

Letting children decide what’s important to them and letting them face the consequences is a step toward their independence. In order to foster an entrepreneurial spirit, it is important, little by little, to let them decide for themselves and to face the consequences of their decisions.

 4) Collaboration

Teaching children to communicate with their classmates will reinforce many positive traits in them (respect, confidence, security, etc.), which they will be able to apply later in their classwork. Give them more and more exercises, activities, and teamwork. Without a doubt, two minds work better than one.

5) Reinforcement and support

Helping children discover themselves is a step toward knowing what it is they do best, what they like most, and what their strengths are. If a child likes drawing, it is better to reinforce and support this activity instead of trying to instill in him something that gives him negative feelings. Avoid shattering their dreams and interests.

In short, it’s about reinforcing creativity, emotional intelligence, and self-esteem, and reaching goals is the first step toward encouraging the entrepreneurial spirit in students. The second is to teach them self-control, effort, and optimism, so they can become self-sufficient people who are able to face difficulties while keeping open and creative minds.

How to Teach Entrepreneurship in Schools

The educational system has come full circle in its methods and tools, and because students live in a world that is more dynamic, with more possibilities, this means introducing entrepreneurship in primary education.

No one has the perfect recipe or proven formula for how to teach entrepreneurship in schools. However, we can point to some ideas:

  • Entrepreneurship as a cross-subject: It shouldn’t be a subject itself, but all of the subjects children learn should be involved in the teaching of entrepreneurial skills. For example, in math class, they can acquire basic knowledge of commerce or economics, and in language class, they can learn to create brand slogans. In other words, it’s about integrated learning that encompasses diverse facets of entrepreneurship, which will allow children to create a business project from this principal.
  • Work on projects: Children should think of the classroom as if it were the real world; thus, it is important when training future entrepreneurs to work on projects to train each child to brainstorm and work as a team with other children, based on a common goal.
  • Learn to analyze and correct: Analytical skills are fundamental for an entrepreneur. If we ask a child questions, we encourage reflection and a capacity to investigate and analyze his environment and the problems that are raised.  Analyzing also implies learning and correcting mistakes.
  • It goes without saying that children learn by working on projects. They will make mistakes and they will learn to correct them, and this will help them in the future to overcome and be motivated. In this way, an entrepreneurial culture is encouraged. An entrepreneurial culture is essential in schools because, in reality, business manifests itself continually throughout our lives. At some point, we will need a creative idea or innovation to tackle a project. Sometimes we will fail and learn, and at other times, we must nurture our talents and succeed.
  • While the educational system adapts itself to the dizzying changes that come along, there are some strategies that educators can establish in order to prepare students for success.
  1. Create a culture that encourages innovation in the classroom. Words are very powerful. Introducing keywords and exposing students to words such as creativity, innovation, collaboration, and entrepreneurship will lay the foundation in students’ minds, and they will develop these abilities even before they can write the words. Start by creating posters, speaking about events at which innovation is discussed, inviting them to conferences to speak about the topic, or showing videos.

Rewarding students who demonstrate these abilities will allow many students who don’t excel at traditional subjects to be recognized for something besides grades. Invite students to participate in expressing their ideas and opinions with their classmates and teachers on subjects that tie in with what’s going on in the classrooms and in their schools.

2. Involve parents and the community to support this innovation for students. Ask parents who own businesses to share their experiences by visiting the school or sharing materials such as articles, blogs, videos, etc. Educate the parents about creativity, innovation, and business, start activities in which parents can participate too, and create forums and events at which parents, students, and teachers can interact to make a difference. Share all of the students’ innovative ideas and give them a voice via networking or the local press.

3. Practice communication, collaboration, and reflection. Students cannot learn how to be innovative without practicing. They must be taught methods of personal communication, listening attentively, making slogans, paraphrasing. Help them to identify their talents and develop the skills that need improvement. Students should learn to work as a team to create relationships based on trust. Help them to understand that teamwork helps us go farther than if we are alone. Guide them in reflecting upon themselves and the group. Helping them to form leadership values will allow them to achieve their life’s goals, not only in the pursuit of personal wealth, but also so they will have the vocation to contribute to building a more peaceful, sustainable world. It is clear that the keys to the future are innovation and entrepreneurship, and it depends on parents and educators to make sure they use these tools.

Educators and parents must give students a step forward and serve as an example of the entrepreneurial spirit in order to inspire our students, because in a future where automation and globalization are here to stay, the only way for young people can be sure of getting a job is to be able to create one.

Ultimately, the importance of entrepreneurship in primary education lies in the capacity to transmit values that will help them build a society that is more just, egalitarian, dynamic, and diverse.

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