Skip to main content

The Entrepreneurial Laboratory for teachers’ training. A Capability Approach for Entrepreneurship Education in Vocational education

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - EntreLab (The Entrepreneurial Laboratory for teachers’ training. A Capability Approach for Entrepreneurship Education in Vocational education)

Reporting period: 2015-08-01 to 2017-07-31

The problem tackled by this research has been the key competence of the sense of initiative and entrepreneurship. Key European competences for lifelong learning are needed by every citizen for their personal fulfilment, citizenship, full employment and inclusion. This research objective has been how to train teachers for a sense of initiative and entrepreneurship (which is about how to turn ideas into actions), given that teachers will teach for entrepreneurship only when they will be entrepreneurial themselves. This project has used the Change Laboratory, a workshop for change collective change and innovation of social practice, for in-service teacher training in secondary vocational education.
The first period (4 months) I have been in Helsinki to learn more the methodology of the Change Laboratory and to prepare my field research and the selection of the school.

The second period (6 months) has been devoted to the field research in Italy, in the Lombardy region. The first two months have been employed for the participant observation and the selection of the participants. After this, I delivered the Change Laboratory with 20 teachers and workshop assistant of a technical institute located in the Lombardy region. Altogether, the participants in the Change Laboratory workshops tackled the drop in students enrolments in surveying that was threatening their course. The result obtained has been a multidisciplinary project to be delivered in the technical subjects of two Grade 5 classes in surveying.

Back to Finland, I started the data analysis. The first thing has been the full transcription of the data. Secondly, I obtained a contract with Springer to publish a book in open-source that should serve as a manual for the methodology. At the same time, I have met regularly with my teachers in Italy to follow-up their work and help them develop the multidisciplinary project. I argue that the Change Laboratory workshop for teacher in-service training make teachers entrepreneurial in the process and in the product. In the product because for teachers entrepreneurship is also a matter of pedagogical renewal, and through the multidisciplinary project, they have renewed their practices (group work, project work, new evaluation practices and a new relationship between the technical teachers and the workshop assistants). In the process because through tackling a problem felt important for them (the dramatic drop in enrolments throughout the years) teachers have developed a collective sense of initiative and entrepreneurship, and from a gang, they now work as a group.

The multidisciplinary project will continue the next school year, and will be disseminated through a conference in the school where the book will also be presented. Besides the book, I also have two publications related to the project that are now under review. The first is about the entrepreneurial teacher, and finds 5 dimensions of the teacher teaching for a sense of initiative and entrepreneurship. The second article is about a course on entrepreneurship education that I taught at the University of Helsinki, and that was delivered according to the theory of constructive alignment.

During my project I have also cultivated my research skills. I have followed courses in academic writing, how to sell research ideas, project management for researchers.
Concerning my teaching skills I have followed courses in University Pedagogy (1 and 2) to learn how to deliver effective courses. I have taught three courses (one of which in entrepreneurship education) plus I taught lessons in academic writing/publishing internationally. Finally, to increase my grant writing skills, I took two courses in grant writing and I worked as evaluator of Erasmus Plus projects.
The progress beyond the state of the art lies in the use of the Change laboratory for teacher in-service training in entrepreneurship for the first time. Although we have presented projects at the Cariverona foundation to experiment the Change Laboratory (and its finding, the multidisciplinary project) in diverse settings (other courses in surveying in the region, but also lower secondary education), the Change Laboratory is a time consuming type of workshop that cannot be applied in every school. on the other hand, the five dimensions of the enterprising teachers can be used a questionnaire or interview and offer a base line for an intervention, but also presents itself as a reflective tool for the teacher.