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Lauriston School – Developing an enterprise culture

The development of an enterprising culture at Lauriston School has moved from a single unit of learning, where specific economic terminology was used and integrated into other areas, to become a fully integrated model.

The meaning of entrepreneurial students

In practice, we want to give our students opportunities to develop specific enterprising skills and attributes, so they can lead their learning, creating their own opportunities and ideas in authentic learning contexts, through the problem-solving stages, to achieving tangible outcomes that benefit both themselves and others.

Dianne Prendergast, Principal, Lauriston School

There is no particular moment when a student becomes entrepreneurial. It is a way of thinking and a process students go through. Students apply the enterprising attributes and their inherent processes in a variety of situations and contexts, and in doing so practise being entrepreneurial.

Just because a group of students work together and manage their resources well, assessing the risks of their venture in one context, this does not presume that those individuals will each show the same level of skill in another situation with a different group of people. It is about changing patterns of behaviour and the students’ growth in each of the areas. Students learn from their successes, and equally valuable lessons are learnt from their mistakes as well.

Dianne Prendergast, Principal, Lauriston School

Entry points for developing an enterprising school

Dianne explains that a school embarking on the development of an Education for Enterprise focus needs to display some core characteristics. There needs to be a culture of educational innovation and risk-taking within a high-trust environment. It takes courage and a willingness to step into new territory. Teachers need to be modelling the kinds of skills and attitudes they want students to develop, so that students can see teachers working as an effective team and using resources wisely. The leader’s role is to reflect the enterprising attributes themselves, to develop that shared vision with staff, supporting them as they explore new teaching practices and move from "talking the talk" to "walking the walk". The principal/school leader is an integral part of the success of an enterprising school. It has to be led from the front.

Vision for education

The kind of citizens we want our education system to "produce" are those who take responsibility for themselves and, collectively, for those they live with and the community they live within. The enterprising attributes fit well within this vision and linked to the key competencies from the New Zealand Curriculum, together they support the vision of enterprise perfectly.

Ways the school’s strategic plan supports Education for Enterprise into action

Lauriston has a vision statement of "READY for Success", with READY an acronym for Respect, Enterprise, Achievement, Determination, and You (as in, it’s your choice). Because enterprise is an integral part of what teachers and students live and breathe at Lauriston School, it is clear that the attributes are integrated into every learning area. They are talked about, acknowledged, modelled, and exemplified at every opportunity.

Having seen the motivation from students and the increased achievement and responsibility for their own learning, teachers seek more opportunities to assist students to be enterprising. Another example of enterprise involved establishing new gardens, including planting and the construction of a hen house to supply a sustainable outlet for food scraps, which in turn may generate an income from sales of eggs.

Engaging with the community

The parent community was heavily involved from the beginning, and their valuable support for the enterprise programme was an integral part of its success. They are called upon to support the students in their learning as they identify skills that can be of assistance. As students have been engaged in these projects, so too have their parents lived and breathed them at home.

The business community has also been highly supportive. They see the students’ learning as very valuable and have been astounded at their skills and talents in this field. Members of the public have been only too happy to lend their time and expertise to the students’ work. The business community can see that the learning students are doing is providing them with vital skills for their future. Whether such skills are used in business or not, contributing as a successful adult in the community requires the same set of skills.

Gathering information – assessing where you are at

Gathering information about enterprise is not the kind of thing you "sit a test" for. It is a process, and as students’ enterprise grows, you see the progress. Lauriston used a range of tools to gauge the students’ understanding of their strengths and weaknesses in this area. This included the use of self, peer, and group assessment practices, both formatively and summatively, to establish the progress made.

Careful, targeted dialogue and observations by teachers give a great deal of information about whether the students are following through. This feedback is vital to the teacher’s next steps and the development of skills. Journals recording goals, achievements, next-step plans, and learning are used by both teachers and students.

How does giving students opportunities to think and act in an enterprising way across the curriculum work in practice?

Because Lauriston students have an enterprising hat on most of the time and are encouraged to take ownership of their learning, they do challenge the teachers’ timetabled planning at times. Lesson planning must become more flexible to meet students’ needs. For example, after reading a picture book to a year 1 class, the teacher, who had planned to move on to topic work, took a response from a young boy. “I know what we could do, Mrs J, we could make a recycled thing using the resources in the shed and work in teams, just like they did in the story!”

In practice, they want to take charge! And so they should, in a carefully managed way. They are achieving great things. They are conscious about their learning, referring all the time to the attributes, and how they can improve them. We set individual learning goals for each student at the beginning of the year, and many of these include particular enterprising attributes they would like to work on developing.


Published on: 27 Mar 2015