he Italian EntreCompEdu teacher training pilot is more than a means to test the programme we developed. It is the foundation for a fundamental shift in the Italian education system. Matera Hub’s Raffaele Vitulli tells us how:
What’s the future of education in this changing world? What’s the meaning of entrepreneurship for teachers, educators and students? What’s the value of an entrepreneurial education in your school and organization? How is Europe dealing with this? And what about Italy?
These were the questions that teachers and educators have been asked in the very beginning of the Italian pilot training provided by Matera Hub as part of the EntreCompEdu project. The best way to answer these questions is with help from the collective intelligence of a broad European community of people who care about education from Governments, Universities, Schools, Companies, NGOs, you name it!
Although the framework EntreComp has been defined and published in 2016, Italy is still working at a national level to fully adopt it and integrate it effectively in its education system. Though it is expected that teachers act entrepreneurially to be entrepreneurial educators, so using EntreComp on their own, change to the education system are still needed for them to be effective in this. As a result, while few general guidelines have been given, Italy, still needs to define its own way to put EntreComp into action.
Therefore, the Italian EntreCompEdu programme was not only a training programme for educators, but an action research pilot to serve as support for the institutional interventions necessary at a national level to change the Italian education system. Matera Hub gathered a group of 20 bold and visionary educators from primary and secondary schools, to non-formal and adult education. This rich diversity of participants guaranteed a variety of views and an effective pollution of strategies to put ‘EntreComp into action’ ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ the school.
Training participants design teaching materials together to showcase how an entrepreneurial education fits the Italian curriculum
Following the general approach of EntreCompEdu, the Italian training programme was built on the EntreCompEdu professional skills framework. In this pilot, the 5 modules were delivered through an analysis of real case studies by the participants. The group was then guided in 5 co-design meetings to build a detailed structure of 3 teaching formats, one for each EntreComp competence area, i.e. ‘Ideas and Opportunities’, ‘Resources’ and ‘Into Action’.
During the co-design experience, the participants started from the very general guidelines about entrepreneurial education in Italy and selected together 3 case studies to be further explored and deigned as the 3 teaching formats. In doing this they always had in mind a feasibility checklist, in order to take into account at any stage of the design process, the barriers (in terms of organizational process, available resources, evaluation system) of the ‘real world’ of the Italian educational environments and schools. As also stated above, the participants’ diversity guaranteed that the materials that were developed are adaptable to a wide range of students and beneficiaries both in terms of age and in terms of specific education topics.
This co-creation approach thus produced practical guidelines that will soon be used by the participants in their professional environments in a ‘deliberate practice’ approach to continuously test and fine-tune the formats. These 3 formats will be also available to the whole educational community in Italy and will be used to showcase to policy makers who an entrepreneurial educational can happen. This is an ongoing activity that Matera Hub is carrying out to finally disseminate the EntreComp framework and spark adoption in the Italian education system.
Delivering the EntreCompEdu teacher training amid COVID19: an opportunity to think about creating value for our communities
A last point deserves to be stressed: the context in which the EntreCompEdu training programme took place. During the very first face-to-face meeting of the programme we received the news of the official suspension of all activities in schools and universities in Italy, as an emergency measure to counter the spreading of COVID19. The very next day, a lockdown of Italy followed.
The atmosphere of emergency and crisis highlighted one core aspect of the EntreCompEdu training programme: the meetings, forced to be held on-line, became an unconventional open space and time for personal reflection and emotional sharing for the teachers and educators. The crisis often impacted group discussions positively. It allowed the group to reflect on the profound meaning of education, work and to some extent of human relationships in general. The EntreComp framework offered a number of insights on how to transform a moment of crisis into an opportunity to create value for our communities. Moreover, as the participants shared during the co-design sessions, the meaning of school itself can be re-examined and re-designed as one of the most powerful social tools to contribute to the greater good right now, in response to an unprecedented time of crisis, through a new set of entrepreneurial and life skills.