The Entrepreneurial Learning Initiative
Issue 8 | August 2021


"Does the future of schooling look like Candy Land?"

As the pandemic continues to complicate education at all levels, many schools are rising to the challenge. They are innovating, getting creative, and in some cases, are actually improving upon issues that have impacted education long before the outbreak of COVID-19.

One big way schools are meeting the needs of students, virtually or otherwise, is through a concept called competency-based education (CBE). Advocates of CBE argue that "challenging students to demonstrate competency on critical concepts only after they are prepared is a better and more motivating way to measure learning, and allows educators to address gaps before they grow over time."

This more personalized form of education offers students more autonomy while also meeting learning standards set by the districts and states. But, while the idea is catching on, it isn't without its challenges. It requires a shift in how schools operate and more involvement from parents. However, once the system is adopted, some schools are finding that parents are ready to collaborate. 

How can initiatives like competency-based education be adopted as we continue to navigate the complications of the pandemic? Is the current unrest we are experiencing an invitation to act?

What do you think?



"The $5 Challenge: What would you do with $5 and 2 hours?"

When we think about giving students autonomy, many different things come to mind. One influential model that educators at Stanford have been using seems to spark some of the most creative opportunities you could imagine in the classroom. 

Tina Seelig, Ph.D., offers her students $5 and two hours to make as much money as the team can. With as much time to plan as they needed, student groups that made the most money ignored the $5 and focused on what value they could provide others. Some of the ideas were truly inspired. They provided the students with an invaluable lesson regardless of if they made money or not. 

By seeing that money was not necessary to act on opportunity, the students began to see problems worth solving in places many of us would not look. If we're looking for personalized instruction ideas, $5 challenges like this one seem a great way to build a set of crucial competencies, namely resourcefulness, and self-efficacy.

Try it out



"Facilitating Group Discussions"

Using more learning from Stanford educators, we turn to a fantastic resource for facilitators. This document outlines how to create effective learning environments regardless of the subject that both create the psychological safety necessary for students to engage fully while also providing the space for robust and diverse discussion.

As opposed to traditional lecturing, facilitation offers a more collaborative and engaging learning environment conducive to a wider variety of learning styles. It also provides an example of more effective communication to students than traditional lecturing. 

This resource also offers some very impactful guidelines for addressing our own tendencies to dominate a conversation, as well as how to avoid bias and promote dynamic discussion that includes everyone in the room.

These are skills that we need to promote to embrace the most innovative learning possible.

Get the resource

"Sailboat Metaphor"

When thinking about establishing a new paradigm in the classroom, the topic of individual needs invariably comes up. Many of us have heard of Abraham Maslow's hierarchy of needs, and it has almost shown as a pyramid. 

But, the issue is, Maslow never designed this hierarchy as a pyramid. "Maslow emphasized that we are always in a state of becoming and that one’s 'inner core' consists merely of 'potentialities, not final actualizations[.]'" This state of flux, constant growth and regression, is essential to understand. Not only because it shifts our perspective when developing others but also because it reframes how we meet our needs as facilitators. 

So, Scott Barry Kaufman, Ph.D., offers us a new way to think of human needs, like a sailboat

"With holes in your boat, you can’t go anywhere. All of your energy and focus is directed toward increasing the stability of the boat. The human needs that comprise the boat are safety, connection, and self-esteem — security needs that, under good conditions, work together toward greater stability."

Continue reading his updated metaphor to understand better how humans adapt to their situations. And, learn how changes in their situation affect the needs they are trying to meet.

Explore more


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