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Perspectives on entrepreneurial learning in the early years of education
Mälardalen University, School of Education, Culture and Communication, Educational Sciences and Mathematics. (BUSS)ORCID iD: 0000-0001-9318-1151
Mälardalen University, School of Education, Culture and Communication, Educational Sciences and Mathematics. (BUSS)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-4091-0856
Mälardalen University, School of Education, Culture and Communication, Educational Sciences and Mathematics. (BUSS)ORCID iD: 0000-0001-9475-2497
2015 (English)Conference paper, Abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Questions regarding entrepreneurship have become a matter of great importance in Sweden as well as in the European Union at large. Since 2009, the government decided that entrepreneurial learning is to be conducted throughout the entire public school system in Sweden, from preschools to higher education. Because entrepreneurial learning is a fairly new concept to professionals in schools and preschools, our study contributes to the development of knowledge concerning how teachers perceive it and realize it in practice. Our questions are: What are the meanings that Swedish pre- and primary school teachers ascribe to the notion of ‘entrepreneurial learning’?, Within what areas do pre- and primary school teachers perceive that entrepreneurial learning happens? What are the possibilities and constraints in realizing entrepreneurial learning in schools and preschools?

To study the meaning that the Swedish pre-and primary school teachers ascribe to the notion of entrepreneurial learning, a stimulated recall method was adopted. The study was conducted in Sweden in 2014 and involved preschools and primary schools. The sample consists of three preschools with children 3-5 years old and two primary schools, one represented by a mixed group of children from preschool-class to grade 3 and the other by a preschool-class group. The results show that teachers’ understanding of entrepreneurial learning is connected to entrepreneurial learning as entrepreneurship, entrepreneurial learning as science and technology, and entrepreneurial learning as personal development.

The theoretical framework for the study is an understanding of learning and development informed by a sociocultural perspective (Vygotskij, 1978; Lave & Wenger, 1991; Rogoff, 2003). A basic point of departure is that learning and development are situated in and an inseparable aspect of social practices (Säljö, 2000). In the analysis we consider teachers’ thoughts, understandings, and expressions as socially constructed and situated in certain practices. As an analytical tool we also use the concept zone of proximal development, or ZPD (Vygotskij, 1978).

In the study, we have highlighted both possibilities and constraints for entrepreneurial learning in schools and preschools. The meanings that Swedish pre- and primary school teachers ascribe to the notion of ’entrepreneurial learning’ are situated in the different communities of practice (Lave & Wenger, 1991). Each school and preschool have had to do its own interpretations of what this concept entails and the understanding and interpretation of what the concept entails become dependent upon single individuals. One strategy that occurs is to connect entrepreneurial learning to a philosophy or way of working that is already known. At the same time, we see this as a strategy to make the preschool or the school externally visible, for parents, principals, and responsible authorities. Our study also shows that the activities associated with entrepreneurial learning make possible learning within the zone of proximal development (Vygotskij, 1978). In the category entrepreneurial learning as entrepreneurship, we can see that teachers design activities where children can collaborate with peers and communities outside the school. In the category entrepreneurial learning as science and technology, the teachers offer situations that challenge children’s everyday scientific knowledge. The activities within the category entrepreneurial learning as personal development also make it possible for children to think originally and to pursue an idea in collaboration with others.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015.
Keyword [en]
entrepreneurial learning, preschool
National Category
Humanities Educational Sciences
Research subject
Didactics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-28933OAI: oai:DiVA.org:mdh-28933DiVA: diva2:853906
Conference
Ireland International Conference on Education (IICE-2015). 20-22 april, 2015, Dublin, Ireland.
Available from: 2015-09-15 Created: 2015-09-15 Last updated: 2015-10-09Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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