TES Virtual Guide: UK’s point of view
Malcolm Hoare, TES National Coordinator in UK
How can the TES Virtual Guide support the focus on entrepreneurship education in your country?
The TES Virtual Guide provides a great opportunity for teachers to understand how other entrepreneurship education practitioners are dealing with the challenges of delivering high quality provision in their institutions. The international dimension is of particular interest to many of our teachers. Our aim would be to see provision developed in all schools from 4 – 18 as a progressive entitlement embedded across the curriculum.
Have you had any feedback from teachers about the TES Virtual Guide?
Teachers have responded positively to the launch of the Virtual Guide. They appreciate the ease of use of the search facility and the logical structuring of the resources, allowing them to locate relevant materials quickly .Many teachers are keen to find out how they can contribute to the guide by sharing their expertise and resources online. There is also huge interest in exploring opportunities for international school links and exchanges, both for students and as a professional development opportunity for staff.
What are the next steps regarding the TES Virtual Guide? How do you plan to reach more teachers and more users?
The aim now is to disseminated the resource as widely as possible and to as diverse a practitioner audience as possible. During the training phase, we have been targeting a wide range of teachers and lecturers, including those working in Early Years and Special Education. We have also operated in partnership with Higher Education to raise awareness of the Virtual Guide with students undergoing teacher teaching. We are encouraging the teachers that we train to consider ways in which they can ‘pass it on’ to other staff in their schools. We will also continue to work with entrepreneurship education providers and practitioner networks to raise awareness and increase levels of engagement with the Entrepreneurial School.
Alex Wirth, Teacher from Anston Greenlands, UK
What is your experience with the TES Virtual Guide?
We work with Ready Unlimited, a UK organisation which supports teachers to develop enterprising learning in primary schools. They keep teachers in touch with new developments, and they informed our network about The Entrepreneurial School website. When I logged on I was pleased to see a good number of primary resources and the mix of resources, from short activities and ideas, to more involved projects. Time is a huge issue for teachers, so the guide is a great idea, as it brings together lots of resources in one place that can be freely accessed. It’s good that there’s an element a peer review too.
Which tool is the one that you would suggest to colleagues and why?
I would suggest having a proper read of The Big 13 resource. It’s an enterprise skills framework, with a progression chart and lots of teacher developed ideas about how to introduce skills and capabilities to younger children. It helps you think about what enterprise skills you want children to be developing through any particular activity, and how to go about familiarising children with the language and concepts of enterprise. I’ve developed enterprise across two different schools and found children, and teachers, respond well to the language and concepts. For children from aged four there are six skills identified – The Foundation Six – which are represented by characters, and older children learn about all of The Big 13.
What feedback did you receive from students in class about the entrepreneurial tools you are using?
Children really enjoy learning about the skills they are developing because it gives them different ideas about what kind of person they are, effectively a new way to view themselves. Labels like quiet and loud can be re-imagined as problem solver and confident. Most importantly, reflecting on the fluidity of skills – how you perform differently, in different situations, even on different days, gives them an idea that their personalities aren’t fixed, but rather that they can work on different aspects of themselves and that by reflecting on their strengths and weaknesses they can grow as young people.
Can you share any interesting stories?
The enterprising approach asks children to constantly work outside, and then revaluate, their comfort zones. I find that this promotes outstanding progress both across the curriculum and in terms of personal skills. It also throws up plenty of rewarding situations for us as teachers! I remember one particular occasion when a boy in my year 5 class summed up the enterprising approach perfectly. He was working in a business team to create a fair-trade Indian café, and at the height of the production process he said to me: "It's great this. We're not doing it 'cause we have to... we're doing it 'cause we have to!" To some this may have sounded nonsensical, but I knew exactly what he meant. There was a purpose to his learning, and what's more, there was an element of risk - and he was thriving on it.
Is there something you would change or improve in the TES Virtual Guide?
The star rating is a good idea, but picking up on my previous point about teachers not having much time, it might mean that reviews are based on the lowest common denominator – is it quick and easy. Ok, five stars. When the reality I have found after working to develop enterprise across two schools is that some things take time, investment and thinking, and creating enterprising teachers and enterprising learners is about a lot more than easy to integrate activities (though they can be a good starting point!).