The Rise of The Educator Entrepreneur

03 The rise of the educator-entrepreneur

Education is a tough business to work in. That holds true if you are a tutor, trainer, an educator of some kind, or a business owner. Or all of the above like me.

I think a lot about what I need to do to survive and thrive in the rapidly changing educational landscape.

The answer, or at least, the answer for me, is thinking like an entrepreneur in education. I do have my own business but I don’t think that is a prerequisite.

There is still a certain kind of entrepreneurial thinking that anyone can apply to their work in education, teaching or otherwise, that can help you create, innovate, and manage the disruptions, the challenges, and anything that your boss, a funding agency, or anyone else can throw at you.

Author: Graeme Smith

Education, technology, design. Also making cool stuff...

6 thoughts

  1. Write more of these. I want more.

    One thing I realise that I personally need to do in regard to thinking like an entrepreneur is to clearly articulate a compelling vision for literacy and numeracy. I’m working on this all the time, but it still needs work. L&N has been hamstrung by a ‘remedial’ focus for too long – rather than an ‘advantage’ focus. We need to excite non-educational people about the power literacy and numeracy can offer them and their children.

    1. Thanks for the vote of confidence… Yes more to follow as I’m planning on turning this theme into a short ebook. Self imposed deadline is 1 March. Probably nothing much different to what I normally go on about but hopefully some pockets of inspiration + practical things that work for me that might benefit others.

    2. What’s your opinion on the difference between “Literacy and Numeracy” versus “learning to learn”? I’m thinking of the shift from remedial to advantage.

      1. Hhmm that’s a great/tough question. Just spit balling here.

        Easier to describe ‘learning to learn’ I think. Something like, the ability to identify learning objectives, set goals and standards for success, enact a collection of learning strategies, and monitor their effectiveness against standards for success. And, the ability to make adaptions to the plan until the outcomes equal the expectation… or something.

        L&N; the ability to identify implicit and explicit messages (both literacy and numeracy), their origins, purposes and actual and intended interpretations. The ability to manage information, including creating, adapting and sourcing new information. The ability to identify and pursue information for ones own self-directed purpose…

        This may be complete rubbish. How do you distinguish between the two?

      2. This is a great discussion… I’m a bit fuzzy on it all. Learning to learn as you’ve described it pretty much sums up what our NCALNE candidates do through their project work. It also sums up the innovation cycle in manufacturing, as well as much of the Lean Business Startup literature that I’ve read. I don’t really understand much about how neural networks work in some of the new super computers that are able to “learn: new stuff but it’s probably a similar cyclical process of tweaking and refining goals.

        When I did my MA study there was a whole literature on “learning to learn” in the field of ESOL and second lang acquisition.

        It’s been a few years, but all the work around using strategies to improve reading comprehension, writing comp, L & Sp etc… well it’s all pretty similar stuff about messages sent and received, interpreted, metacognition and so on.

        The goal of the communicative language teacher included developing learner autonomy, i.e. learners needed to learn how to learn so that they could be self directed, take responsibility, apply strategies self consciously but engage in deeper acquisition over longer term etc.

        Perhaps it’s something like this:
        1. “Learning to learn” (perhaps there is a better term) is a mode of operating that can be taught and employed in different contexts. Developing agency fits in here for me as it applies to more than just numeracy development, but other aspects of personal, professional, or other development. So Learning to learn in the fullest sense might be like an operating system that needs to be installed in all learners, perhaps in organisations too. Developing “life long learners” probably fits in here as well as many of the other broad goals of general adult education.

        2. Perhaps LN provides a context for “learning to learn” as does ESOL or new business development.

        3. This probably seems reductionist, but… it seems to me that our explicit approach to teaching communicative ESOL, embedded LN, fostering innovation in industry, teaching machines to learn, developing new lean technology start up business, etc all use a kind of broad operating system that we’re applying to different contexts.

        4. I’m not sure where I’m supposed to be going with this but it’s a long way round to justifying a shift from seeing explicit LN instruction as remedial and deficit focused versus ESOL “learning to learn”, innovation, and lean business as advantage focused.

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