Developing students’ entrepreneurial skills

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Teachers are increasingly expected to equip their students with a set of hard-to-teach soft skills deemed crucial in our increasingly global and competitive society. Skills deemed necessary for students to develop include creativity, initiative-taking, collaboration, innovativeness, self-efficacy, proactiveness and perseverance. Value creation pedagogy is a proven and efficient way to develop these skills in students, often termed “entrepreneurial” skills. This prepares them for life after school by making them more employable and also more successful in their work-life.

Emotional events triggering developed entrepreneurial skills

When teachers let their students try to create value for others, this triggers a variety of emotional events that in turn lead to developed entrepreneurial skills. Some key emotional events triggered by value creation pedagogy include interaction with people outside school, working in teams over extended time periods, overcoming competency gaps, getting honest feedback from people outside class and managing the uncertainty and ambiguity that real-world interaction inevitably leads to. This in turn makes students develop their entreprenurial skills. In brief, when students get to present their work to others who value it and benefit from it, the resulting feelings involve pride, increased self-efficacy and passion leading to strong motivation. If given time and opportunity to repeat this, the students increase their effort, learn more in-depth and enter a positive self-reinforcing cycle of deep learning.

A clarifying framework for entrepreneurial skills

The importance of developing people’s entrepreneurial skills has been emphasized by the European Commission for decades. To support teachers, a framework was recently developed aiming to clarify what skills are deemed “entrepreneurial”. This framework is shown in the figure below. Since it was released by European Commission in 2016, it has contributed to clarifying the intended learning outcomes for teachers around Europe and beyond. When teachers apply value creation pedagogy, they can now use this framework to assess how well they succeed in developing these skills in their students.

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