It's the how that matters, not tycoons in short pants

31st March 2006 at 01:00
A leading guru on enterprise education has warned teachers in Scotland against focusing on the creation of "tycoons in short pants" by concentrating on business or finance.

Paul Kearney, a main speaker at the "Let's Do It!" enterprising careers conference in Glasgow, urged his audience to take a broad perspective and include public enterprise, public service, environmental issues and the civic world.

Mr Kearney added there was strong evidence to suggest that, by taking this broader view, there were better educational results. This involved teaching in an enterprising way, the "how".

"Essentially (this) means using initiative, being resourceful and solving problems," he said. "If we require pupils to use these things when they are learning, we will get better curriculum outcomes and, almost as a byproduct, they will get enterprise skills. Enterprise is not a subject - it's how you teach."

Mr Kearney, who is writing a report for the Scottish Executive on its Determined to Succeed enterprise in education strategy, urged teachers to ask their pupils every day to take more responsibility for their own learning, to encourage experiential learning, to use co-operative learning techniques and to constantly review and reflect.

Sometimes teachers spent too much time on the activity itself and not enough on discussing with the pupils what they had learnt from it, he said.

Mr Kearney told The TES Scotland that his early impressions of enterprise education in Scottish schools were very favourable. Many activities in Scotland are being carried out on a broad front, rather than the single initiatives favoured by many Australian and New Zealand schools.

"There is a far more coherent strategy here," he said. "In terms of developing enterprising schools, Scotland has the potential to be up with the best in the world, if not the best."

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