Curriculum design: A gestalt approach to the pedagogy of entrepreneurship education with postgraduate student teachers in an Irish university
Full recordShow full item record
AbstractSignificant evidence exists attributing the importance of entrepreneurship education (EE) to national competitive advantage (Henry and Treanor, 2012; Porter, 2011; Porter and Kramer, 2011; Carree and Thurik, 2010). Student numbers in formal EE programs in Irish second level schools are limited to those opting for special programs. This paper sets out to identify a more appropriate pedagogical approach to forming student teachers as teachers of EE in Irish second level schools. An action research methodology was adopted to review and improve the EE module on the teacher education postgraduate diploma in business in an Irish university. By adopting a gestalt approach, the researchers aimed to foster heightened awareness in teachers, to embed innovative pedagogical practice in EE paralleling best practice elsewhere. Rigor was added to the researchers‟ analysis of their own phenomenological interpretations of the module by incorporating feedback from focus groups of students involved, and individual students. The findings suggest that time constraints constricted development of an andragogical holistic approach, organic to fostering creativity and self-agency, the very gestalt characteristics aimed at being cultivated. Students expressed satisfaction with the collaborative course components – experiential and action centered. Grounded in the gestalt philosophy of awareness, self-regulation and creativity, it challenged static, traditional, didactic understandings of EE. For some students, this proved a significant challenge. The key finding from this study is that a holistic, two-layered approach, comprising of a foundational layer (encompassing practical steps in business start ups) and a transformational layer (focusing on more dynamic concepts that are philosophical and attitudinal in nature), is the optimal pedagogical strategy for the cultivation of an effective EE programme.