Project Work Outside the Classroom
A series of approaches taken by a Finnish secondary (high) school which enables their students to develop and apply entrepreneurial skills in a range of different contexts 'outside the classroom'. Students are involved with different partners such as Universities, local and international entrepreneurs and local residents.
Purpose and process
To give students an opportunity to see the relevance of their learning inside school to the world outside school and to extend their learning experiences beyond those that are available in the school itself.
Five examples are provided:
- Cooperation with local universities and participation in a range of annual scientific projects. In Aalto University (Aalto Design Factory), university student teams from Engineering, Business and Arts subjects solve real scientific problems set by partner companies. School students support these university teams and often come up with very different solutions to the same problems - sharing ideas in this way can really extend creativity and innovation.
- Entrepreneurial Day. The first part of this Day is based in school; students gather together to hear short, dynamic speeches given by entrepreneurs to illustrate what they do. Some students take part in a panel discussion with the entrepreneurs, after which they undertake a task in teams. The task is to create some form of business idea and then to pitch it in a presentation at the end of the morning. They have to think about the marketing in particular. In the afternoon, students visit one of up to 40 local businesses. In each company, an entrepreneur gives them an insight into their business idea.
- City orientation. Every year, students are taken on field trips to different cities, e.g. Helsinki, Berlin or even Shanghai. Students orienteer their way around the city and in each place along the route they have a task to complete. In particular, they visit businesses that operate in a different way to that in which entrepreneurs in their hometown tend to do.
- Computer science (programming). Students who choose programming at school work in teams to create an original game. At the end of their course, they have to decide how the game should be marketed and each group gives a sales speech to an invited audience.
- Civics. Before Christmas, students participate in a project in which the aim is to help bring some comfort to the older generation. Groups begin by selling to local companies the idea of distributing flowers to lonely senior citizens living in local retirement homes. Once they have gained backing, the students can buy and then deliver the flowers personally to senior citizens in time for Christmas.
- Build enterprising skills, attitudes and behaviours, especially:
- team work;
- creative thinking and problem-solving;
- risk taking;
- handling failure that sometimes occurs in teams
- Learn to appreciate other peoples' points of view
- Come to understand the difficulties in life which can affect senior citizens, especially loneliness, and see how they can do their bit for the old generation, who did theirs by building our society
- Gain from interaction with entrepreneurs and with those from different generations
- Gain first-hand knowledge and understanding about innovative business practices, products and services both in their own and in other countries
- Be inspired and motivated to plan their own career pathways
Curricular or thematic relevance
This approach can be used on a cross-disciplinary basis and does fit into the Finnish national curriculum, especially with regard to 'participatory citizenship and entrepreneurship'
How to organise:
Most of these projects involving external visits are likely to take place in suspended timetable time with preparation and follow-up activities occuring in timetabled lessons
Assessment and evaluation approaches
Inbuilt into all projects, e.g. through presentation of products, logbooks, achievement of tasks and presentation to business partners
All 5 of these activities depend entirely on partnership with external sources, both individuals and organisations
helper do TM detail body (June 6th, 1st half)
- VARIETY OF METHODS USED TO LINK STUDENTS FROM DIFFERENT BACKROUNDS
- ACTIVE INVOLVEMENT OF UNIVERSITIES AND LOCAL ENTREPRENEURS
- EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING
- ENHANCES CREATIVITY & INNOVATION BUT MOST OF ALL EXPOSURE TO REAL-LIFE SITUATIONS
The project outside the classwork is an excellent example of leadership; we can invite not only businessmen/entrepreneurs but also and parents.
It is an excellent tool for preparing students for future career. Working outside the classroom is good method for participating in regional/national community, solving real problems in their cities and meeting businessmen.
Students participating in this project are given the opportunity to come out of the protected environment of the school and experience real life situations, interact with academics and professionals and, subsequently, recognize the connection between classroom education and the real world.
They are given an all around education on what is needed in order to become a great leader. They learn to appreciate different approaches and opinions, to defend their work, to be creative, to make decisions that matter, to care for others and be compassionate ...
What an excellent way to help future leaders be on the right track!