Covid-19 has hit education hard, pushing the ‘brick and mortar’ school into uncharted territory. Placing unprecedented demands on teachers to purposefully adapt to remote teaching, with efficiency, integrity, creativity, compassion and enthusiasm. Teachers are now designing learning that must also connect directly with parents and carers, to undertake curriculum-driven home-schooling in lockdown. They are experimenting with, and harnessing new technologies and resource pools, to attend to all types of pupil need and home context. Furthermore, they must frequently contact families by phone, provide individualised feedback housed in online accounts, and routinely engage in the schools left open for key worker children. This omits consideration that many also have their own home-schooling and care responsibilities to accommodate.
One would expect CPD to be placed on the back-burner, but that is not what we found. Instead, pilot participants on the EntreCompeEdu CPD programme in Wales have reported it to be an efficient and accessible source of support and development, fuelling their adaptably and agility to cope with Covid-19 instigated challenges.
Research into barriers to CPD often highlights costs, the training itself, and the need for teaching cover (Department for Education, 2018). Yet many teachers will tell you that they need and want more CPD (Li & Dervin, 2018). Whilst the crises has not freed time for teachers, it has created the conditions for an increased appetite for entrepreneurial competence development, unleashing a form of entrepreneurial persistence (Millán et al., 2014).
For one phase one participant, Paul Ranson, a PGCE student, and teacher on a higher ed outreach skills programme, EntreCompEdu engagement has already infected his teaching practice. “The EntreComp flower has become my daily go-to reflection tool, influencing my approach or response to lots of issues faced, and more so since lockdown. Working through the modules has encouraged me to dip deep into the arsenal of entrepreneurial competences. I personally have spotted so many more opportunities for my teaching practice. I find myself listening more deliberately to others. The other day whilst talking with a colleague supporting me online with my students, I was able to learn I had been presenting in monologue rather than through dialogue. A key lesson in self-awareness for me”.
Ms Singleton, Foundation Phase explains “I benefited greatly from familiarising with the 15 competences before the schools closed. Progression achieved on the modules, I believe, set me up to be more accepting of the change I would soon face in my working environment. I’ve never been comfortable or accepting of ambiguity and uncertainty. Yet as I work through the modules, at a pace I can manage, I have become more aware of, and open to adapt in different ways. I sense a mindset shift in how I now manage uncertainty, and now even make it 'work’ for me. I consider how I can also help my pupils through the activities set. I find the LoopMe feedback comments help me with processing the elements of the entrepreneurial competences. I am so inspired from reading about other teacher experiences and reflections in the open forum”.
As well as thank our teachers for their unwavering service in these tumultuous times, this is clearly a compliment on their commitment to, and passion for, their profession. There is a strong desire to continuously engage in growth, to sharpen their skills for the benefit of their pupils’ learning experiences and success. EntreCompEdu online CPD is proving to be a credible design for educators to test out their entrepreneurial ideas and competences and the challenging contexts pupils do and will face, even in times of crises. Teachers are keen to face their challenges with an entrepreneurial spirit.
Author: Felicity Healey-Benson
Department for Education (2018) ‘The School Snapshot Survey: Summer 2018, Research report September 2018’.
Li, Y. & Dervin, F. (2018) ‘ Continuing Professional Development of Teachers in Finland’, Palgrave Macmillan.
Millán, J. M., Congregado, E. & Román, C. (2014) ‘Persistence in Entrepreneurship and Its Implications for the European Entrepreneurial Promotion Policy, Journal of Policy Modeling, 36(1), pp. 83-106.
Image Credit: Covid-19 Geralt, Pixabay