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Student entrepreneurs solving problems to fix education

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Research by the Mitchell Institute reveals how 21 schools across NSW and Victoria are ‘shifting the education paradigm’ by enhancing capabilities and promoting entrepreneurial thinking. Increased confidence, greater resilience, stronger collaboration skills and improved empathy are benefits reported by students taking part.

Mitchell researchers worked with a diverse mix of schools to explore how to tailor learning to grow individual talents and better prepare young people for future success.

Institute Director, Megan O’Connell said the initiative has uncovered some ideas that could help Australian schools step out of the industrial age and bring education in line with the needs of our modern, global society.

“We have been very excited to see students and teachers from a mix of schools in two states go on a journey together to improve learning and engagement,” O’Connell said.

“The findings from this approach are resoundingly positive – students said they gained more knowledge, developed new skills and had better relationships with teachers after participating in the initiative.”

 The year-long trial used entrepreneurial learning principles from internationally renowned education expert, Professor Yong Zhao. These were developing more personalised education experiences, engaging in product-oriented learning to benefit communities, and designing new processes and products.

The research found that students became more flexible, creative, and resourceful after participating in the initiative. They also reported better connections within classrooms, schools and communities as a result of working in networks of schools pursuing similar objectives.

Ms O’Connell said that while the findings are promising, there is still work to be done to ensure schools get the right support to deliver appropriate learning for their unique students.

“The fact that many schools are eager to try different learning approaches shows that we need change. But to be successful, educators need guidance and access to evidence that will help them apply promising methods, and our system needs to become more flexible to accommodate continuous growth and change,” she said.

The Paradigm Shifters: entrepreneurial leaning in schools research report is available online at the Mitchell Institute website.


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