Entrepreneurial Education: Reflexive Approaches to Entrepreneurial Learning in Practice

David Higgins, Kelly Smith, Mohammed Mirza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

28 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Eventhough entrepreneurial education is quite a new phenomenon in higher education, as a field of inquiry it is one of the most rapidly growing areas of research. However, there is a widespread consensus that traditional pedagogical methods of learning alone are insufficient to adequately develop entrepreneurs to deal with the complexities of running and creating innovating business opportunities. There is a consensus that traditional pedagogical 'instructional methods' alone are insufficient to adequately develop entrepreneurs to deal with the complexities of running and creating business opportunities. As a consequence there is a growing need to cultivate innovative ways of thinking and new modes of pedagogy to fully enhance and develop entrepreneurial approaches to education and learning. It is argued that traditional approaches to entrepreneurial education tend to ignore, and not address, the ambiguities and uncertainties which surround the entrepreneurial process. The historical preoccupation with an individualistic approach to entrepreneurial learning has continued to marginalise and de-value the broader social context in which the entrepreneur functions. Current writing on entrepreneurial learning has shifted attention towards 'learning for' as opposed to 'learning about' entrepreneurship. The authors adopt a social constructionist perspective which draws recognition to the importance of inter-subjective knowledge exchange as a means of developing entrepreneurial learning. While there are numerous approaches to a social constructionist paradigm, the critical features of the perspective provide the manner by which 'we' come to experience the social world. The approach suggests developing a pedagogical approach which explores the social processes that constitute entrepreneurial undertakings and thus shifts the focus away from the traditional positivist approaches to entrepreneurial learning. The article seeks to contribute to a growing need to cultivate innovative ways of thinking, diverse skills and new modes of behaviour to fully enhance and develop entrepreneurial approaches to education. The article sets out to address this problem by examining the role reflexivity can play in entrepreneurial education, as a method of critiquing what it means to practice as an entrepreneur.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)135-160
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Entrepreneurship
Volume22
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2013

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