Teacher educators’ perceptions of entrepreneurship teaching and learning as part of teacher education

  • 0


Many countries across the globe have already included entrepreneurship teaching and learning (ETL) as part of their formal education systems. The rationale for such inclusions varies. Two of the most cited reasons are that ETL contributes to ameliorating unemployment and that it develops several 21st-century skills in learners, who are coveted by entrepreneurs and employers alike. A third reason the literature increasingly reports on is the extensive value creation associated with ETL. Value can, for example, be created in the economic, social, natural, or even cultural environment through ETL (Du Toit 2020; Schoeniger et al. 2021).

Against this background, together with unremitting and rising youth unemployment in South Africa, much criticism has been levelled against the Department of Basic Education (DBE) regarding the dearth of ETL in the National Curriculum Statements that have been used since 2011. The DBE developed a “blueprint” for expanding ETL in the school curriculum in the form of a Sector Plan (DBE 2016). The Plan unambiguously outlines three key intentions of such inclusion: (i) to develop school learners’ entrepreneurial skills; (ii) to contribute to reducing youth unemployment; and (iii) to create and contribute value to the communities in which learners reside (DBE 2016). Hence, it is seen as positive that ETL is currently being implemented and expanded as a topic of critical importance in the South African school curriculum. However, teacher education to support the effective facilitation of ETL was not fully developed or implemented before rolling out ETL in the school curriculum.

Teacher educators (i.e., lecturers) at one South African university have, therefore, been exploring ways of overcoming this challenge. Adapting university programmes is a complicated and protracted process, and deciding on a point of departure for implementing these changes was difficult. An additional profound issue emerged from initial informal discussions with teacher educators who showed an interest in contributing to the adjusted teacher education programme. Several of these teacher educators held narrow (or poorly informed) perceptions of the extensive value of ETL. In some of these participants’ view, ETL as a topic fits only into the economic and business management sciences (EMS) and its sole purpose is to inform and support business start-ups. These teacher educators were uninformed or unaware about the extended value that can be created through ETL across several subjects. Their viewpoints are deemed as barriers to the development of ETL (Schoeniger et al. 2021). Therefore, the team of lecturers responsible for developing ETL as part of the teacher education programme at our university decided to start this project by exploring teacher educators’ perceptions of the value and contribution of ETL to the teacher education programme. A better understanding of lecturers’ perceptions of and misconceptions about this issue would contribute to our insights into what ETL content we needed to include and how, across the teacher preparation programmes for several subjects (not just EMS), to prepare our teacher students for this new content in the South African school curriculum.

An exploratory case study, as part of a qualitative investigation, was used. The research was underpinned by a constructivist worldview – I acknowledge and underscore the critical roles lecturers play in designing and developing meaningful learning experiences for their students. The current investigation focused on teacher educators’ perceptions of the value of ETL as part of the teacher preparation programme. ETL facilitators’ perceptions and views are considered the underlying architecture for how the content and teaching-learning process will be approached and managed (Krueger 2017; Otache 2019; Sirelkhatim and Gangi 2015). I developed and used an online Google Forms questionnaire, consisting of mostly open-ended questions, to collect qualitative data on teacher educators’ perceptions of ETL at the Faculty of Education of our university. All teacher educators at the Faculty were invited to participate voluntarily, and 39 useable responses were received. I used Atlas.ti software (version 22) to manage and organise the thematic data analysis of their responses. Iterative concept coding was applied. All data were treated ethically and confidentially in line with the requirements of the ethics committees of the university.

The findings show that participating teacher educators’ views on ETL were mostly positive. Most participants described a clear understanding of what ELT refers to, focusing on the entrepreneurship content and its potential contribution to economic growth. Most teacher educators, however, emphasised the teaching, rather than the learner-centred learning, aspects of ETL. This finding highlights the need to reiterate the importance of a learner-centred approach to facilitating ETL, which we would have to embed in our new programmes. In addition, most participants (still) only acknowledged the economic value of ETL. This indicates that their knowledge and understanding of the extended value creation associated with ETL should be developed before they would be able to constructively facilitate similar learning in their students. A few lecturers noted the skills development potential of ETL in teacher education, mentioning skills such as problem-solving, creativity and self-directedness as positive skills that future teachers should develop in their preparation programmes and to which ETL contributes. One participant also mentioned how the inclusion of ETL in teacher education could assist future teachers in adding value to their communities when implementing these skills. This means that such teachers can become change agents to make a positive contribution to the communities in which they work. When lecturers embrace the extended value creation potential of ETL, they would also become change agents (Chavous 2018) who can, in turn, positively impact their students’ entrepreneurial mindset (Otache 2019). An adverse finding was that teacher educators did not mention edupreneurship (Darwish 2019) as one of the benefits of including ETL in teacher education programmes. This implies that most of our lecturers believed that our teacher students would teach at “standard” schools, which disregards the future-oriented innovation that has emerged repeatedly from research in other countries when teachers use ETL for novel educational purposes.

Based on the findings of this investigation, the conclusion can be drawn that, although the participants held mostly positive views of ETL, their perceptions of the extent of its value and positive contribution to developing future teachers were underdeveloped. Further research is needed to explore this issue in more depth to enable the formulation of useable recommendations that would result in optimal beneficence for teacher students from meaningful and well-constructed ETL.

Keywords: curriculum; entrepreneurship teaching and learning; meaningful learning; self-directed learning; teacher education; youth unemployment



Lees die volledige artikel in Afrikaans

Onderwysdosente se opvattings van entrepreneurskapsonderrig en -leer as deel van onderwysersopleiding

  • 0


Jou e-posadres sal nie gepubliseer word nie. Kommentaar is onderhewig aan moderering.