In this article it is delineated how the Primary Years Programme (PYP) philosophy of engaging learning activities, effective assessment and meaningful actions represents an ideal framework to assist students developing their sense of entrepreneurship, one of the key competences for lifelong learning.
One of the eight key competences for lifelong learning includes the sense of entrepreneurship (UNESCO, 1996) and our IB school in Bogotá, Colombia supports students to develop this competence. A group of second grade students found different alternatives to solve simple problems at their school and began to explore entrepreneurship thanks to the nature of PYP inquiry, action and reflection.
Inspired by the transdisciplinary theme “how we organize ourselves”, a provocation activity helped students see the value of organizations on society. They watched a bee movie at home (flipped classroom strategy) and at school they linked honey bees colonies’ work with the key and related concepts (function, responsibility, organization, cooperation) and provided insights about what teamwork evokes.
The students then experienced workshops run by our school’s human resources manager who highlighted the value of organization charts and how these work at school, a parent who explained mission and vision as fundamental aspects for every organization, and a field trip to visit a public library and understand how it works as an educational organization.
These meaningful experiences resulted in several student actions: one student provided diverse companies’ organization charts; another student showed how his father’s organization utilized robots; a third student presented her mother’s workplace role in an organization chart; and a fourth student developed a mini-cupcake company with all his classmates.
After this, the students inquired into solvable problems at their school or in their neighbourhood. Learners identified different needs to be met such as keeping the school clean, planning healthier snacks for students, reusing materials, using water wisely and growing vegetables at school.
The students were challenged to come up with achievable and creative solutions according to their age and abilities. The homeroom, visual art and ICT teachers contributed to demonstrate the impact of logos, slogans and colour psychology when creating organizations, and the use of free web sites builder or PowerPoint presentation program to present initiatives.
Our students enthusiastically proposed their own organizations with a name, logo, slogan, mission, vision and an organization chart with staff functions. Their targets included organizations to raise awareness about environment care, the creation of ornaments out of plastic cups and friendly messages to promote an ideal student co-existence.
This challenge mirrored our students’ passion and commitment to start their businesses and to see the value of teamwork, cooperation and responsibility. Some parents asserted: “We are very proud of his autonomy to create his company, logo, service, slogan and functions” (…) similarly, he was very enthusiastic about his website”. Another parent said: “This inquiry allowed my child to recognize how tasks are not done individually but by a team coordinated with clear and differentiated functions”. Additionally, a parent affirmed: “My daughter knows that for an organization to be successful, it depends on cooperation and teamwork”.
Taking these opinions and learning experiences into account, our students have learned key skills for lifelong learning such as organization, responsibility, teamwork and moreover, the passion for making their school, and their society a better world.
UNESCO. (1996). Learning: The treasure within. In Leal Filho, W., Mifsud, M., & Pace, P. (2017). Handbook of Lifelong Learning for Sustainable Development.
Linda Camelo Gámez holds a master degree in bilingual education from Universidad de La Rioja (España), as well as a Licensure in TEFL from Universidad Distrital Francisco José de Caldas in Bogotá (Colombia). Her inquirer spirit has opened to her the doors to accomplish valuable experiences as the publication of an article on an education and learning research journal (GiST), and a cross-cultural job in India as an English teacher. Linda is currently a self-contained teacher at Gimnasio del Norte School in Bogotá.