Univations supports with master thesis

Analysis: Does entrepreneurship fit into the classroom?

What should children and young people learn at school in the 21st century? Everyone involved can probably still agree on reading, writing and arithmetic, but what about entrepreneurial skills? Anna Schanze addressed this question, focusing in particular on prospective teachers.

For her master's thesis at Merseburg University in the Department of Economics, she analyzed entrepreneurship education in teacher training in Saxony-Anhalt. She developed the idea as a student trainee at Univations.

"I learned about the EntreComp model through my work at Univations," says Anna Schanze. This is the European Commission's Entrepreneurship Competence Framework. An EU-wide group of experts identified 15 key competencies that enable people, among other things, to take action in a more self-determined way or to manage crises better.

Focus on teacher:in-service training in Saxony-Anhalt

Since its publication in 2016, Univations has been one of the first users of EntreComp, and numerous projects in which the company is involved are based on the reference framework. This also includes the EU projects Piete and YETI, which are already addressing the teaching of competencies in teacher training.

"The fact that entrepreneurship can be understood as a competence and that this gives the whole thing an emancipatory perspective was a totally exciting concept for me," says Anna Schanze. "I wanted to see to what extent female teachers in Saxony-Anhalt have an idea of what entrepreneurship or the entrepreneurship education approach is and whether they have also heard of the EntreComp model."

The 32-year-old's literature research showed that there are studies in Europe that refer to entrepreneurship education in schools, but only very few with findings from Germany. Nevertheless, it became clear that entrepreneurship education is not part of the curriculum at German schools. Rather, it depends on the importance teachers attach to the topic. And, the preliminary work also showed that there are reservations about business topics in schools.

Reservations about business topics at school

For her master's thesis, Anna first conducted surveys and then group discussions. One only with teachers in the preparatory service and one with the instructors. After the acquisition was difficult at the beginning, the joy of discussion and the commitment of the actual participants were all the greater.

Among other things, this confirmed that the respondents perceive entrepreneurship education positively, especially when it is not placed so strongly in a business context. When equated with self-competence or the communication of a self-concept, acceptance and understanding were significantly higher.

There was criticism of the complexity of the EntreComp model and the excessive demands. A challenge that the researcher also sees after her investigations. "Teacher:in-service training is just seen from all sides as the point at which the school system must be changed so that all educational problems can be solved. It's a shame that I seem to be adding something on top with this discussion, when entrepreneurship education has so much potential," says Anna Schanze.

Necessary: Entrepreneurial Mindset

When asked how entrepreneurship education can nevertheless be integrated into school education, the participants in the exploratory study named various approaches. "Everything was there, from private offerings outside the school system to integration into schools' policy documents or individual curricula," says the educationalist.

With regard to teacher training, the question arose as to what teachers in the preparatory service would need in order to impart entrepreneurial competencies. "They would need training in theory and didactics, but the fundamental thing is that they themselves have this entrepreneurial mindset," says Anna Schanze.

She believes that the EntreComp model is fundamentally helpful and useful in empowering students to deal with the challenges of our time. Come up with their own projects. Create plans. Learning to deal with conflicts and, above all, learning to solve them as a group - according to Anna Schanze, teaching these skills requires a completely different teaching structure.

Master thesis offers potential for more

She was able to find good answers to her questions on the topic. Regular feedback was also provided by Sandra Bier from the Univations team during the work phase. The final grade of the master's thesis: 1.2. According to Anna, the results have potential for the orientation of teacher training as well as for further training or additional research.

According to her findings, what does she wish for teachers in Saxony-Anhalt? More freedom and support to deal with their own competencies. "And to the people who are thinking about how teacher:ing education should work, I wish they would say goodbye to the previous image of school," says Anna Schanze. "School should be a living space and a learning space about approaching modern society, rather than sticking to a canon of classroom content and tradition."

Contact persons

Sandra Bier

Mail: bier@univations.de

Phone: +49 345 13 14 27 06