How can Entrepreneurship Bridge Between Traditional and Progressive Education?
Paper in proceedings, 2013
Questions we care about (Objectives). In this paper we argue that the “fault line” between traditional and progressive education starts in the domain of philosophy of science, passing through general educational philosophy and its century-long battle for control over instructional design practices, and ends up in the entrepreneurial education domain. This paper then asks the question: How can entrepreneurship contribute with cognitive tools that
bridge between traditionalist and progressivist educational perspectives? Cognitive tools are defined by Egan (2008) as “the things people think with, not the things they think about”.
Approach. First we outline theory within the domains of entrepreneurship and education. We describe entrepreneurship as a method, as well as some cognitive tools that mediate learning. We then outline five main dualisms that span the entire proposed “fault line”, and create a conceptual framework around these five dualisms. Finally we discuss two possible ways in which entrepreneurship can contribute with tools that bridge and balance these dualisms, and propose some implications for research and practice.
Results. The analysis has yielded five dualisms that are described more in-depth. Attempting to bridge and balance between these dualisms we end up with five resulting questions: How can entrepreneurship contribute with cognitive tools that…
1. .…simplify a complex, multidisciplinary and holistic constructivist learning environment?
2. .…preserve the concrete and individual aspects in a social learning environment?
3. .…inject more content and linearity into an iterative learning process?
4. .…facilitate detached reflection in an emotional and action-oriented learning environment?
5. .…absorb more theoretical knowledge into an experiential learning environment?
These five resulting questions are tested on two candidates for cognitive tools that can mediate learning; value creation and entrepreneurship as a method. Both of these candidates seem to be quite constructive means to balance between traditional and progressive education.
Implications. For researchers this opens up for new opportunities to consider entrepreneurship theory and practice as pedagogical cognitive tools in general education. For practitioners this can serve as inspiration for trying out some of the vast array of tools, models
and concepts from the entrepreneurship domain in general education. Further inquiry into the entrepreneurship domain can surface more cognitive tools of potential use.
Value / originality. Research that leverages profoundly on theory from both entrepreneurship and education is scarce. This specific attempt has potential to lead to a flexible yet criteria based “third way” between the rigidity of traditional education and the vagueness of progressivism. It also holds potential to bridge the gap between advocated and applied pedagogy in the field of education, where desired pedagogical approaches often are not used in practice due to the higher cost of such approaches and their misalignment to the conventional educational systems and paradigms.