ParENTrepreneurs is a role model for teacher competences

Although ParENTrepreneurs is still work in progress, the Competence Framework has been chosen by the European Education Policy Network on Teachers and School Leaders (EEPN) as a case study to inspire teacher entrepreneurship and competence development.

Currently, EEPN is working on research and subsequent policy recommendations on new roles and competences for teachers and school leaders in the digital age. In a new desk research paper, ParENTrepreneurs was chosen as one of the four case studies supporting this in the field of entrepreneurship. The research highlights that

  • the EntreComp – this project is using as a starting point – provides a good basis for framing entrepreneurial skills and competences of educators,
  • educators outside of school, in this case parents, can inspire teachers and school leaders in their entrepreneurship competence development, and
  • all educators need similar entrepreneurial skills and competences, and they need to collaborate for role model education approach.

Research also confirms that entrepreneurial competences are necessary for teachers and school leaders, and it is especially true when it comes to transforming education to fit realities of the digital age – a period that has been a global reality for decades now, but largely escaped formal education until the Covid-19 school closures. One of the main challenges is that the future of education largely depends on the ability of less entrepreneurially skilled persons to act in an entrepreneurial way. This is an area where parents can enter the scene as support.

It was established that there is ample research and a high number of projects on teachers of entrepreneurship, so the authors were looking into two aspects:

  • School leaders’ and teachers’ competences, with the EntreComp at its core and specified for school leaders and teacher roles.
  • Potential impact of teacher and school leader entrepreneurship on the wider sense of entrepreneurial education: personal development, creativity, self-efficacy, resilience, taking initiative, action orientation, i.e. becoming entrepreneurial.

Research quoted in the paper clearly shows that professional educators tend to be less entrepreneurial than people in other professions and are known to be risk averse It has also been proven by research done in the framework of the case studies provided that the EntreComp is a suitable tool for defining and further refining teacher and school leader entrepreneurial competences. It can be used as a basis for developing a new competence model specifically for teachers and school leaders.

Another clear conclusion is that a holistic and comprehensive open schooling approach is the best for fostering these competences. Successful practices identified during this research all have a collaborative element: collaboration with the business sector, universities, families and youth organisations have proven to be effective for better performance. Our analysis also shows that future teachers and school leaders need competence development in this field from the pre-service stage.

Case study analysis within this paper shows that given the necessary orientation, support and tools, teachers take on new roles enterprising with curricula, introduce the development of entrepreneurial spirit in all levels and areas of education. Supporting them with tools raising the entrepreneurial spirit has also shown better results in specially challenging contexts such as rural or disadvantaged schools. The importance of networks – both that of peer professionals and those consisting of various other stakeholders – has also been proven by research and practice. It has also been clearly shown that awareness raising is the most important pre-requisite in creating an open discussion about the topic. Based on these findings, the authors have come up with specific research-based recommendations in the field of policy support for teacher and school leader entrepreneurship as follows:

  1. Policy should aim for defining and promoting entrepreneurial roles and related competences of teachers and school leaders, using the EntreComp as a starting point.
  1. Awareness raising among in-service professionals as well as those planning to choose a teaching professional pathway about the importance, breadth and impact of entrepreneurial competences of teachers and school leaders should be a priority.
  1. Programmes that engage other stakeholders, especially businesses, universities, families and youth organisations in the spirit of open schooling, considering the school as a learning organisation are key.
  1. There is a need to invest in research as well as practice in teacher and school leader entrepreneurship. In the case of practice measuring impact, upscaling, mainstreaming and localising are of a large importance.
  1. Incentives and methods need to be introduced to attract people with entrepreneurial mindsets to the teaching professions, including incentives for alternative pathways to teacher and school leader careers for those wishing to change from the world of non-profit or for-profit enterprises to education.
  1. Initial training as well as in-service training needs to embed teacher and school leader entrepreneurship, and this needs to be reflected in related policies.

We can add a 7th recommendation: learn from and partner with parents.