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Challenging kids to be owners of their education

RedefinED host Doug Tuthill has commented here on the value of encouraging teachers to become “owners” of their craft, to empower them to become entrepreneurs in a way that harnesses their skills and their sense of enterprise that is difficult to do in the top-down bureacracy of school systems that leave too many teachers as “renters.” Now, the folks at Cooperative Catalyst are weighing whether we’ve done more to create “passive recipients” among students instead of owners:

Are you a learning entrepreneur? Does your school allow you to be a learning entrepreneur? Does the classroom you’re in encourage kids to be entrepreneurs of their own learning? Do you think of your learning as one of the most vital and important aspects of your life? Are you the “owner” of your own learning? Steve Mariotti, the founder and president of the National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE), an organization that teaches the entrepreneurial skills of business to kids who are not wealthy, and do not go to fancy schools, says the power of entrepreneurship is that it challenges kids to be “owners” instead of outsiders, risk takers and responsible, instead of passive recipients. Since a lot of conventional schools, and traditional instruction still reward passivity and compliance, and encourage kids to accept someone else’s evaluation of them, there is tremendous educational value in owning your own learning. When you own something, you are the creator of it. Instead of being outside, you are the agent, you are responsible, your rewards are commensurate with the risks you are willing to take, and the effort you are willing to make.


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BY Adam Emerson

Editor of redefinED, policy and communications guru for Florida education nonprofit