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John Dewey and Entrepreneurship in School: a Swedish Case
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education.
2016 (English)In: Journal of Education and Training, ISSN 2330-9709, Vol. 3, no 1, 139-157 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Progressive education, with its purpose of educating young people to become democratic citizens, has influenced the Swedish educational system for many years. Critical voices have been raised, claiming that progressive education has diminished Swedish pupils’ results. Since 2011, when entrepreneurship as a concept and as a pedagogical approach was instituted in Swedish curricula, the debate has emerged again. In this case, however, the problem was with the pedagogical ideas of the entrepreneurship in school. Critical voices claim that entrepreneurship is a part of the neoliberal agenda and that the language of progressive education has been appropriated and misused in order to create productive citizens who will maintain the capitalist state. This article is written from the perspective of pupils in an upper secondary school, illuminating and problematizing the sense in which the entrepreneurship in school can be said to be progressive in the spirit of John Dewey. The result shows that the entrepreneurship in school contains many similarities with the ideas of progressive education, especially in the way that pupils work and take part in activities. However, the lack of pupils who talk about learning to improve future society or to develop democracy is obvious. Thus, even if working methods seem to be equal, the overall educational goals are different. The goal of entrepreneurship in school is to educate young people to become independent, innovative individuals but in that education mission, there is a risk that democratic values are neglected.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Macrothink Institute , 2016. Vol. 3, no 1, 139-157 p.
Keyword [en]
Entrepreneurship in school, progressivism, democracy fostering, pupils’ voice
National Category
Pedagogy
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-113911DOI: 10.5296/jet.v3il.8809OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-113911DiVA: diva2:891122
Available from: 2016-01-05 Created: 2016-01-05 Last updated: 2016-11-16Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Hur ska du bli när du blir stor?: en studie i svensk gymnasieskola när entreprenörskap i skolan är i fokus
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Hur ska du bli när du blir stor?: en studie i svensk gymnasieskola när entreprenörskap i skolan är i fokus
2016 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The general aim of this thesis is to examine and explain how education fosters future citizens when Swedish upper secondary schools work actively with entrepreneurship in school. Toward this aim, two research questions are asked: How are students governed and how do students govern when focus is on entrepreneurship in school? How do teachers relate to entrepreneurship in school? The study took place in a school development program with a focus on teachers developing their abilities and working with entrepreneurship in schools. Four studies presented in four articles form the cornerstones of the thesis. The empirical data was collected during 2013– 2014 in three of the participating schools. Different methods were used. The first step was reading and analysing policy documents, followed by observations in the classrooms, interviews with the teachers with the help of performance maps, and interviews with the students in gendered focus groups. In total, 14 teachers and 90 students were involved in the study. The schools were geographically spread and represented both public and independent schools. For this study an abductive approach was used, which means that the empirical data were collected and first studied unbiased. Various theoretical models were chosen to find answers to the specific research questions; thus, a connection between the theory and the empirical data was made.

The first article examines whether a citizen with entrepreneurial abilities is fostered in school when the concept of entrepreneurship has a place in the curriculum. This article also analyses the curriculum (Gy11) and more specifically what can be read under the heading The Task of the School. The main result from this study shows that students are emphasising entrepreneurial abilities over other abilities. The second article draws a comparison between John Dewey’s ideas of progressive education from the early 1900s and the teaching methods that have come to be advocated for developing student ́s entrepreneurial abilities. The main purpose of progressive education is to foster a democratic citizen; here I could observe that techniques for teaching entrepreneurship are comparable to progressive education, but the purpose is not the same. The purpose of entrepreneurship in school is primarily to foster individuals who are active and responsible for their own future.

Michael Foucault's concept of governmentality is the focus of article three, which explores how students are governed and shaped when entrepreneurship in school is emphasised, and it explores whether boys and girls are governed in different ways. The analysis of the result indicated that the students were governed in three different ways in the three school contexts, and girls and boys were governed in different ways both among the schools and within the schools.

The fourth article addresses how the teachers relate to entrepreneurship in schools in light of new reforms, marketization, more regulation and the demands of being an entrepreneurial teacher. The result shows three narratives: the cool teacher, the stressed teacher, and the frustrated teacher, each handling entrepreneurship in school in different ways.

This thesis shows that the entrepreneur has come to be presented as a hero and entrepreneurship as a solution to cope with challenges—to the global economy, but also for coping with ourselves and our own lives. It also shows that fostering a democratic citizen is subordinate to fostering citizens with entrepreneurial abilities, as the regime of truth is to become the entrepreneur. The students are both governed and governing toward that direction. And even if teachers have different ways of approaching entrepreneurship in schools, the will to be the entrepreneurial teacher and to foster entrepreneurial citizens is clear. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå universitet, 2016. 76 p.
Series
Akademiska avhandlingar vid Pedagogiska institutionen, Umeå universitet, ISSN 0281-6768 ; 125
Keyword
Citizenship, Entrepreneurship in school, Upper secondary school, Governmentality
National Category
Pedagogy
Research subject
Education
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-127563 (URN)978-91-7601-577-3 (ISBN)
Public defence
2016-12-08, Beteendevetarhuset Hörsal 1031, Umeå, 10:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2016-11-17 Created: 2016-11-15 Last updated: 2016-12-14Bibliographically approved

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