10 SES 11 C, Teacher Efficacy, the Change Laboratory and Online Learning
In Europe, entrepreneurship education in compulsory education is understood as a key competence for lifelong learning (European Commission, EACEA, & Eurydice, 2016). A sense of initiative and entrepreneurship is defined as the ability to turn ideas into actions (European Commission, 2007). Within the A New Skills Agenda, the European Commission (2016) launched a revision of key competences with a special focus on to the promotion of entrepreneurial and innovation-oriented mindset.
Penaluna, Penaluna, Usei, and Griffiths (2015) suggest that teachers educate for a sense of initiative and entrepreneurship only when they will be entrepreneurial themselves. Considering the paucity of research in teacher training in entrepreneurial education (Peltonen, 2015; Ruskovaara & Pihkala, 2015; Sagar, 2015), the research question leading this study concerns how to make teaching staff entrepreneurial in school through in-service training. Within the Cultural Historical Activity Theory theoretical framework, the answer lies in expansive learning. This is a learning theory accounting for innovation and change of practices (Engeström & Sannino, 2010). The unit of analysis is a collective activity system mediated by artefacts, and oriented to the object. The activity system is studies in the network with the other activity systems. When the contradictions of an activity system become aggravated, some members start questioning and diverging from the established norms. They engage in a collective and purposeful effort to innovate and change, and achieve an expansive transformation when they succeed in reconceptualising the motive and the object of their activity (Engeström, 2015).
Expansive learning is triggered by formative interventions, which differ substantially from regular training courses called ‘linear’ (Engeström, 2011; Engeström, Sannino, & Virkkunen, 2014). In linear interventions the structure and objective of the course are known ahead, whereas in formative interventions the participants deal with a contradictory problem that seems to have no solution. While in linear interventions the researcher aims to gain control over the variables and the situation, in formative interventions he or she aims to provoke and sustain an expansive learning process of transformation which is guided and owned by the participants. The Change Laboratory is a type of formative intervention useful to trigger expansive learning.
The hypothesis of this research is that the Change Laboratory, a type of formative intervention for teacher in service training in entrepreneurial education, is ideal to endow the teachers with a sense of initiative and entrepreneurship. That is to say that the teaching staff will educate for a sense of initiative and entrepreneurship by engaging themselves in an entrepreneurial change effort. The results of a Change Laboratory can be evaluated in the light of the development and implementation of new concepts, and the participants’ development of agency (Sannino & Engeström, 2017).
This study explores the extent with which the Change Laboratory makes teachers more entrepreneurial by generating new ideas or concepts and putting them into action, thus creating value for their school and community. The first research question is:
“To what extent can a Change Laboratory help the teaching staff turn ideas into actions?” (RQ1).
The expression “to turn ideas into action” represents the definition of a sense of initiative and entrepreneurship as from the European Commission (2007). It is maintained that by showing a sense of initiative and entrepreneurship in the school, the teaching staff will act as role model for the students.Furthermore, Peltonen (2015) inspected the pedagogical side of entrepreneurship, and argued that teachers also see entrepreneurial education as pedagogical renewal and professional development. The second research question is then:
“To what extent can a Change Laboratory lead to a pedagogical renewal and professional development in a school?” (RQ2)
The Change Laboratory is a type of workshop for intensive redesign of the practices developed since the 1990s at the University of Helsinki. In it roughly 10-20 practitioners meet in the shop floor for intensive 2 hours’ long weekly workshops for 8-10 weeks, plus follow-up. It is characterised by a highly mediated setting with writing surfaces used according to different levels of abstraction and to an historical perspective (Engeström, Virkkunen, Helle, Pihlaja, & Poikela, 1996). Other features include a dialectical movement between distanced intellectual analysis and close emotional involvement, and the mirrors, video-taped materials gathered on the field useful to trigger discussion (Virkkunen & Newnham, 2013). It is based on two principles, ‘double stimulation’ and ‘ascending from the abstract to the concrete’ (Sannino, Engeström, & Lemos, 2016). A Change Laboratory intervention was organized in an Italian secondary vocational school; it was carried out at the beginning of 2016 with 7 workshops and 5 follow up. A course in surveying was chosen for investigation during the Change Laboratory as it faced a major challenge that threatened its existence: since 2007 it had suffered from a dramatic loss of enrolments (from 130 to 25). The Change laboratory was offered as possible medium to study collectively and discuss how to revitalize the course. The participants were 14 teachers (one of them being the vice-director) and workshop assistants. During the first workshop the participants started questioning the present practices, and wondered how they had come to the point where only one class of surveyors was left. During the second and third workshops the participants made an historical and an empirical analysis of the surveying course. In the fourth meeting the representatives of the industry came, to explain the participants how the role of the professional surveyor had changed since 2007. The fifth meeting identified the main contradiction affecting the activity system of surveying: the teaching staff had not fully understood the changes in surveying that took place with the school reform of 2007 and the impact of the real estate market crisis of 2008. The idea collectively developed in the sixth and seventh workshops was that in the two Grade 5 classes, six teachers (three for each class) teach around a common multidisciplinary project. This teaching units are designed around traditional technical topics, allowing students to make connections and summarize, and is basic enough to be manageable for students such as the construction of a canteen in an unoccupied area close to the school.
Concerning RQ1, this research suggests that the Change Laboratory has a double impact in developing the teachers’ sense of initiative and entrepreneurship, in the outcome and in the process. The outcome of a Change Laboratory can be designing a new objective and which organises their collective activity (Engeström & Sannino, 2010). In this study the case study has been a multidisciplinary project, leading to a pedagogical renewal of their teaching practices: competence-based approaches with structured group work and assessment forms, with a new centrality of the workshop assistants. Concerning the process, the Change Laboratory promotes the emergence and expression of collective transformative agency. Throughout the workshops, the participants shifted from criticizing the circumstances they were in and blaming the others, to committing to teach a coordinated multidisciplinary project. This behaviour shows that they moved from having individual to collective initiatives: although to a different extent, every technical teacher and workshop assistant contributed to the delivery of the multidisciplinary project. The Change Laboratory helps understand how teachers learn in cooperative learning settings and adopt an entrepreneurial approach to teaching. To rephrase the definition of a sense of initiative and entrepreneurship, with the CL for teachers in service training on entrepreneurship education, new ideas of pedagogical practices are transformed into collective action and value. For RQ2, Peltonen (2015) suggests that for teachers entrepreneurship education is a matter of pedagogical renewal and professional development. In this study, the pedagogical renewal has been caused by the implementation of a multidisciplinary project. Rather than being recipients of linear interventions or policy recommendations (Peltonen, 2015), the Change Laboratory allowed the teaching staff to collectively rethink their teaching methods and programs. This collective approach facilitated the participants’ discussion the problems and allowed their effort to be more coordinated. In doing so, they constructed their meaning of a sense of initiative and entrepreneurship
Engeström, Y. (2011). From design experiments to formative interventions. Theory & Psychology, 21(5), 598-628. Engeström, Y. (2015). Learning by expanding: origins, applications, and challenges. In Learning by expanding: Cambridge University Press. Engeström, Y., & Sannino, A. (2010). Studies of expansive learning: Foundations, findings and future challenges. Educational Research Review, 5(1), 1-24. Engeström, Y., Sannino, A., & Virkkunen, J. (2014). On the methodological demands of formative interventions. Mind, Culture & Activity, 21(2), 118. Engeström, Y., Virkkunen, J., Helle, M., Pihlaja, J., & Poikela, R. (1996). The change laboratory as a tool for transforming work. Lifelong Learning in Europe, 1(2), 10-17. European Commission. (2007). European competences for lifelong learning. Luxembourg: Publication Office of the European Union. European Commission. (2016). A new skills agenda for Europe. Retrieved from http://ec.europa.eu/social/main.jsp?catId=1223. European Commission, EACEA, & Eurydice. (2016). Entrepreneurship education at school in Europe. Eurydice report. Luxembourg: Publication Office of the European Union. Peltonen, K. (2015). How can teachers’ entrepreneurial competences be developed? A collaborative learning perspective. Education+ Training, 57(5), 492-511. Penaluna, K., Penaluna, A., Usei, C., & Griffiths, D. (2015). Enterprise education needs enterprising educators: A case study on teacher training provision. Education + Training, 57(8/9), 948-963. Ruskovaara, E., & Pihkala, T. (2015). Entrepreneurship education in schools: empirical evidence on the teacher's role. The Journal of Educational Research, 108(3), 236-249. Sagar, H. (2015). Thematic paper on entrepreneurial schools. Part 2. Entrepreneurial learning environments and a changed role for teachers. Retrieved from http://www.oecd.org/cfe/leed/Entrepreneurial-School-pt2.pdf Sannino, A., & Engeström, Y. (2017). Co-generation of societally impactful knowledge in Change Laboratories. Management Learning, 48(1), 80-96. Sannino, A., Engeström, Y., & Lemos, M. (2016). Formative interventions for expansive learning and transformative agency. Journal of the Learning Sciences, 25(4), 599-633. Virkkunen, J., & Newnham, D. S. (2013). The Change Laboratory. A tool for collaborative development of work and education. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.
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