Would you like your students to graduate with the type of mindset that makes them natural innovators, opportunity seekers, problem solvers, critical thinkers and people with the capacity to reflect and then act? Would you like them to be in demand by employers and/or to be able to start their own business on graduation? Then giving them the opportunity to acquire an entrepreneurial mindset will produce that positive result.
However, as Colin Norton and Norin Arshed said in an article: the legitimacy of entrepreneurship education is tormented by four ongoing issues:
The first two questions were answered in our earlier blogs (get the ebook here) and in this article we will cover the third question by considering how it should be taught, what are the constraints that many education institutions face and how can we overcome those to offer an entrepreneurial mindset to our students.
2. An expert’s opinion on teaching entrepreneurship
We began by asking the well-known expert on entrepreneurial education Professor David A. Kirby what he believed was the best way to teach entrepreneurship. His response was: “it all depends upon your intent, but you can teach it in three basic ways:
Taking Professor Kirby’s discussion and adding in our (Mashauri) own research and experience, we summarise the three ways of teaching and the key elements associated with them in the table below:
3. Key elements of teaching “for” entrepreneurship
Although perhaps any entrepreneurial education is better than none, clearly the most effective for really producing a positive change in the student is teaching “through” and “for” entrepreneurship where “for” will have the greatest impact. This is our focus for the rest of the article.
Building on this and considering input from various experienced entrepreneurial educators, articles and our own experience, it is useful to look at how to teach entrepreneurship from three perspectives:
Below we consider each of these in turn.
3.1 Teacher skills and expertise
The following are the requirements that teachers should strive towards if wishing to offer excellence in entrepreneurial education:
3.2 How to teach
There are some key elements that must be considered and included when thinking how to teach entrepreneurship.
3.3 Context of teaching
When thinking about what should be taught and to whom, there are a number of considerations to which attention should be given:
4. What can you do
When considering the above requirements for excellence in entrepreneurial education, it is not surprising that there is less entrepreneurial education being offered than seems to be required. Probably the most critical constraint is the lack of educators with the required experience and expertise to undertake this type of teaching. Furthermore, given the change in style and pedagogy required, it is not surprising that professors are reluctant to take up this challenge – at least not without support.
However, it is not fair to existing students for institutions to wait for the perfect moment before rolling out significant entrepreneurial programmes. Therefore, we end the article with three strategies as to how you might start a process of offering teaching “through” and “for” entrepreneurship. These are:
4.1 Do it yourself
There are some immediate steps that can be taken to get yourself on the path of becoming a good teacher of entrepreneurship
4.2 Team up
Entrepreneurship education like entrepreneurship itself is best played in teams! Proven ideas that work well here include:
4.3 Use an (OPM) Online Programme Manager to get started quickly.
Online programme managers (such as Mashauri) provide off-the-shelf or customizable entrepreneurship courses that incorporate entrepreneurial best practices. These can be offered as stand-alone programmes for students or incorporated into existing university courses. Implementing such a programme at your institution not only gives you a fast-track insight into teaching entrepreneurship but also allows you to offer existing students this valuable opportunity.
Ways you might get started here are:
Note that Mashauri also designs and delivers offline and blended programmes customised to the requirements of the students and the instructors – why not drop me a line at email@example.com and we can set up a discussion.
Few higher education institutions will question the value of offering entrepreneurial education to a broad group of students; nor will they debate the necessity for the type of cognitive skills that are developed in such a programme. This article has touched on how to go about teaching entrepreneurship and also highlighted what that means in terms of constraints.
However, we do not believe there will ever be a “perfect” moment to start such a programme when everything is neatly in place. We would therefore recommend that you (or your institution) should start acting like an entrepreneur and launch a programme early,lean and refine on the fly and build the capabilities as you go. Or as Reid Hoffman of LinkedIn is quoted as saying: “Jump off the cliff and build the aeroplane on the way down!”
For more in-depth discussion about this topic or to find out about the programmes that Mashauri offers, please contact me (Simon Gifford) at firstname.lastname@example.org
Please feel free to distribute this article to anyone else who you believe may have an interest in the topic.