10 SES 08 D, Entrepreneurship, Gender and E-portfolios
Any new learning must, in some fashion, connect with what learners already know (Shulman 1999, 12–13). Learning is most powerful when it becomes public and communal. It flourishes when we take what we think we know and offer it as community property to fellow learners, allowing it to be tested, examined, challenged and improved upon before we internalise it (Pittaway & Cope 2007; Shulman 1999). In this research project, Finnish student-teachers' conceptions of the significance of entrepreneurship education are examined. The forming of their conceptions is based on their experiences -- on teacher training, working as a supply teacher, and the points that have been dealt with in different study modules, such as the pedagogic teaching solutions.
Entrepreneurship education is often discussed as learning that is problem-focused and holistic. In this paper, we see the entire learning process of entrepreneurship education as learning by doing (see Cope & Watts 2000), where the participation, interaction, decision-making and problem-solving skills of the students are developed. Decision-making is associated with actions and behaviours (Cope 2005, 373) where the student takes risks, experiments, accepts mistakes and receives feedback (Gibb 2005, 56). The teaching aims to foster participation, activity and functionality. There is a shift from an external knowledge and thought process to one that consists of knowledge the student himself has constructed.
Recent research suggests that cultural context can shape entrepreneurial attitudes and intentions (Shinnar, Giacomin & Janssen 2012; Wilson, Marlino & Kickul 2004; Wilson, Kickul, Marlino, Barbosa & Griffiths 2009). For example Packham, Jones, Miller, Pickernell and Thomas (2010) argue that gender and cultural and industrial heritage can moderate the impact of enterprise education. It is known that many people have entrepreneurial potential, but they never actually become entrepreneurs. Innovativeness, risk-taking propensity and internal locus of control are traits that can be associated with entrepreneurial potential. This potential could be very useful for example in the teacher profession. Many gender comparative studies have stated that there are more similarities than differences between male and female entrepreneurs in terms of traits, motivation and success rates. These findings may be misleading, when considering differences between men and women with respect to the potential of becoming an entrepreneur. But gender has a direct effect on entrepreneurial potential regarding culture and the level of economic development. (Mueller 2004, 200–214.) A society that stands for masculinity expects men to be assertive, tough and focused on material success. Women are supposed to be more modest, tender and concerned with the quality of life. (Hofstede 1998, 6.) Research on entrepreneurial attitudes has also suggested that men have stronger entrepreneurial intentions than women (Díaz-García & Jímenez-Moreno 2010; Gupta, Turban, Wasti & Sidkar 2009; Harris & Gibson 2008; Wilson, Kickul, Marlino, Barbosa & Griffiths 2009). Both culture and gender moderate the conceptions of the entrepreneurial intention (Shinnar, Giagomin & Janssen 2012).
Age has often been considered as a control variable in several studies, because of its influence on career decisions. The young people can be more willing to test themselves in the situations in which risks must be taken. In their thoughts the taking of the risk means that they have the nothing one destroying in it even if they are unsuccessful and they take the lesson learned as experiences. On the other hand, older people might have better allowance in terms of financial ability. (Lena & Wong 2003.)
The views that have been presented above bring up the question of this study: 1) Do the female and male student-teachers’ attitude to entrepreneurship differ and 2) Does the entrepreneurship education attitude of female and male student-teachers of various ages differ?
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