TES Virtual Guide: Slovakia’s point of view
Alžbeta Šrenkelová, TES National Coordinator in Slovakia
How can the TES Virtual Guide support the focus on entrepreneurship education in your country?
Entrepreneurship education is becoming more and more important not only at the European, but also at the national level. Even if national governments want to focus their interest on entrepreneurship education, support materials for teachers are still missing. If you want to support entrepreneurship education, visions and plans are not sufficient. You need to provide teachers with helping hands such as necessary documents, procedures and concrete tools and methods they can use in their classrooms. TES Virtual Guide is an accurate example of such approach. It´s a free, helpful and valuable platform from teachers to teachers who want to improve teaching and who highly appreciated mutual cooperation on the other side.
Have you had any feedback from teachers about the TES Virtual Guide?
Until now we have organised some national trainings and we can say that teachers are very interested in the TES Virtual Guide. When they want to add something special to their lessons and they don´t have time to search on Internet, TES Virtual Guide offers them the possibility to find everything in one place. They can be sure that tools and methods have been practically tested and verified. That’s why they consider TES Virtual Guide as a valuable assistant in their daily work.
What are the next steps for Slovakia regarding the TES Virtual Guide? How do you plan to reach more teachers and more users?
To keep TES Virtual Guide adjourned is one of the most important tasks from our point of view. We are now thinking of how to deal with it. Our idea is to use final works of teachers who are involved in Continuous Innovative Learning Programmes within Junior Achievement Slovakia, as most of them contain creative methods and tools to support entrepreneurial teaching. But, as first step, we need to discuss how to involve our teachers and how to manage this process in order to be as efficient as possible.
Kornelia Lohynova, Teacher, Slovakia
What is your experience with the TES Virtual Guide?
My school was invited to participate in the project from the beginning, because we offer students many programmes focused on entrepreneurship. Most of them are Junior Achievement’s programmes and they are also integrated in the curriculum. I was responsible for the project as coordinator for my school and we contributed to the Virtual Guide with tools and methods for entrepreneurial learning. We also became one of the case study schools. I took part in the launch of Virtual Guide to Entrepreneurial Learning in Brussels, which was very motivating and inspiring for me. But the most exciting time came after the launch, because I had the opportunity to test tools and methods of other schools and countries with my students.
Which tool is the one that you would suggest to your colleagues and why?
It is difficult to decide about just one tool. There are lots of tools I would suggest, but what I consider most developed for building entrepreneurial skills is the Company Programme. The idea of having students setting up a company and discover how it works in real life is the best preparation for their future working life, even if they will not start their own business. It is about taking initiative and making things happen, about positive attitude and confidence to develop a future career. It really helps develop an entrepreneurial mindset.
What feedback did you receive from students in class about the entrepreneurial tools you are using?
Using many of these tools means “learning by doing” which is the best way of studying for the students. They are connected to real life and they can easily see the relevance of their lessons to their future. This leads to better results, as they are encouraged to tackle real life challenges, they can develop many skills and raise their self-confidence. While working with entrepreneurial methods, students did not have high expectations because they learnt with pleasure. They were surprised by the fact that they were looking forward to come to school. Some of the tools we used recommend cooperation with business people, which was highly appreciated by the students. At the beginning of this experience, I asked my students to take a test to see how entrepreneurial they were. It was no surprise for me that at the end of the school year their results of the same test were rather different. But it was not only about entrepreneurial skills, but also about their attitude to learning. They learnt to learn and to be more independent and responsible.
Can you share with us an interesting story?
There are many nice moments connected with using tools of the Virtual Guide. The most interesting moment was when my students decided to be socially responsible during the Company Programme and to support a cancer institute. They donated the money they earned while making business and they also organised a charity run for students of other 15 secondary schools to collect money for research at the cancer institute. It was a big event and the participants’ response was really great. Now my students will organise this charity run every year and they have ambition to attract more and more schools to join.
Is there something that you would change or improve in TES Virtual Guide?
Some of the tools are not explained enough, or don´t offer additional materials which would be helpful to teachers.