During the break, I had time to read (or reread) a number of books, and I thought I’d share one with you as it may provide some inspiration for our students in this period of lockdown. The book is World Class Learners: Educating Creative and Entrepreneurial Students and its author, Professor Yong Zhao, writes of the importance of fostering a spirit of entrepreneurship.
The World Economic Forum defines entrepreneurship as A process that results in creativity, innovation and growth. Innovative entrepreneurs come in all shapes and forms; its benefits are not limited to start-ups, innovative ventures and new jobs. Entrepreneurship refers to an individual’s ability to turn ideas into action and is therefore a key competence for all, helping young people to be more creative and self- confident in whatever they undertake. (World Economic Forum, 2009, p.9)
Over the past few years we have actively encouraged entrepreneurship in the Junior School, as we recognise that there is a great deal of rich learning to be had in the process of developing goods or services and creating a profitable venture. We have also recognised that entrepreneurs are not only those who start a business to make a profit. Our PYP curriculum, that encourages students to take action, creates many social entrepreneurs who apply entrepreneurial principles to bring about social change. We have also seen the emergence of intrapreneurs, who work to innovate and make positive change to the running of their classrooms and the Junior School. Our Head Girl and Deputy Head Girls as well as House Captains are great examples of intrapreneurs.
Professor Yong Zhao’s book was written in 2012, long before the COVID-19 global pandemic and periods of remote learning, but he does discuss the benefits of shifting responsibility to the learner and allowing children to pursue their own interests. I encourage you during lockdown and while students are learning at home, to help your children to identify and explore their passions as this will help them to stay engaged and productive. We will also encourage them via Zoom if they share their entrepreneurial journey as well as value and honour their efforts when they return to school by giving them a forum to further their work. Perhaps one day we may even look back at this difficult point in history as a time when some of our greatest and most successful entrepreneurs emerged.
Mrs Angela Whitaker
Deputy Principal (Head of Junior School and ELC)
Professor Yong Zhao is a Foundation Distinguished Professor in the School of Education at the University of Kansas and a professor in Educational Leadership at the Melbourne Graduate School of Education in Australia.