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We can have entrepreneurship as an option in schools

“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a frog by its ability to climb a tree it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” Albert Einstein

When Albert Einstein said these words, he must have been observing our educational system.  A system that has not changed since the 19th century.  A system that allows students to graduate if they conform like those before them; accomplished in sitting still, and regurgitating facts and formulas.

The fact that one does not excel in academics does not rule out their abilities in other areas. To bring out the best of all students, a good education system is one that allows children freedom in learning.  It begins by nurturing things that interest and excite every child because it is beneficial to the society and the individual.

“Human communities depend upon a diversity of talent, not a singular conception of ability”. Sir Ken Robinson

This freedom will allow schools to harness every child’s intrinsic motivation to participate in things that add up for him or her.  When a student has a motivation to learn, the fundamentals will be mined instead of being imposed on them.  After all, if they are true essentials, they cannot be avoided.

Zhao, the author of “World Class Learners: Educating Creative and Entrepreneurial Students” says that freedom in learning is not enough.  The underlying setting should be built on flexibility, diversity and agency.  Even more important, to learn on the successes of entrepreneurship – discipline and creativity, learners need practice and product.  Such environment will allow the students to develop their strengths instead of spending too much time and efforts trying to look like everybody else.

Instead of parenting or educating in a way that looks for ‘good’ behavior vs. ‘bad’ behavior, if we condition ourselves to see behavior and understand its motivation, we can begin to understand the individual.  We can begin to see the talent within each student and cultivate those abilities.

Currently most public and private schools do not operate in this way.  Richelle Futch, founder of The Student Entrepreneur Project is a clinical social worker with experience counseling troubled youth in the corrections system.  She has found that a majority of the students she works with were told at some point in their school career, that they needed to apply themselves more, were a distraction to class, or needed to be referred for ADD/ADHD services.  Parents and Teaches write these students off as being a behavioral problem and push them aside.  This program is a place where successful students and struggling students work together in a level playing field because it is individualized.  The Student Entrepreneur Project is one answer for parents and educators who want to offer their students an opportunity to flourish and find not only their talents, but to pursue learning by focusing on those interests.

Want to participate or volunteer with the Student Entrepreneur Project? Follow the link 

Looking for information on finding your element? I highly recommend checking out Finding your Element with Sir Ken Robinson  now streaming on Netflix

 

Learning Entrepreneur Skills Empowers Teen Girls

Best Journals published an article in 2014 titled “Life skills for women empowerment” where they discussed four dimensions of empowerment.

  1. Power Within
  2. Power to
  3. Power Over
  4. Power With

Power within is described as individual changes in confidence and consciousness. Psychology today  says this about Adolescence:

“Adolescence can be a time of both disorientation and discovery. The transitional period can bring up issues of independence and self-identity; many adolescents and their peers face tough choices regarding schoolwork, sexuality, drugs, alcohol, and social life. Peer groups, romantic interests, and external appearance tend to naturally increase in importance for some time during a teen’s journey toward adulthood.”

Empowering young women in a way that creates certainty within themselves is a crucial step in securing their future self-identity.  Entrepreneur skills require an individual to gain personal skills in self awareness, knowledge of rights, values, and attitudes. To be successful in business will also require decision making, assertiveness, negotiation, and refusal skills.

Power to refers to access.  Access to increasing skills, education, earning income and other markets.  Despite progress in recent years, women still face barriers and disadvantages throughout the education system throughout their lifetimes.  Unicef.org states

“Girls’ education is essential to the achievement of quality learning relevant to the 21st century, including girls’ transition to and performance in secondary school and beyond. Adolescent girls that attend school delay marriage and childbearing, and acquire information and skills that lead to increased earning power. Evidence shows that the return to a year of secondary education for girls correlates to a 25 per cent increase in wages later in life.”

Entrepreneur skills teaches teenage girls the ability to seek out opportunities instead of passively relying on others (family, guidance counselor, peers) to offer suggestions that will inevitably limit her based on their experience.  Entrepreneurs know how to research markets, seek out resources, and create plans to reach their goals.  

Power over refers to overcoming and change.  One change is in power relations in households and communities. Loveisrespect.org lists statistics on youth dating violence, including the following:

Girls and young women between the ages of 16 and 24 experience the highest rate of intimate partner violence — almost triple the national average.
Among female victims of intimate partner violence, 94% of those age 16-19 and 70% of those age 20-24 were victimized by a current or former boyfriend or girlfriend.

Entrepreneurship teaches interpersonal skills like communication, expressing of feelings, networking, and advocacy.  Girls who have a strong network are less likely to isolate and hide when a situation is abusive or remain silent when one of their peers is in an unhealthy situation.

Power With refers to organization and community.  It includes the advocacy for others who are powerless. A society that does not encourage women to contribute to all sectors of life to the fullest extent of their abilities is limiting itself as women make up half of the society.  Communities work better when all members participate equally. Greater gender equality can enhance economic productivity, improve development outcomes for the next generation, and make institutions and policies more representative.

Entrepreneurs understand the value of giving back.  When a young woman is seen as a resource she feels valued.  Having self value is the key to believing in oneself. When a girl believes in herself she has the ability to envision more for her future.  She lifts the invisible limitations and can soar through any glass ceiling.