Social Entrepreneurship should start in school

I have been asked to write about how we work with Social Entrepreneurship in my school. How does one put words to relationships, bravery, civil courage, expectations and failure? I realized that the best answers lies with my pupils. They are masterful at explaining complex processes in a simple way. So I bombarded them with questions. How do we work with Social Entrepreneurship? What does Social Entrepreneurship mean for you? What skills do you think a Social Entrepreneur need? Before I reveal my pupils smart answers, let me tell you a little story from my classroom.

One year ago I taught my class on nationalism. One pupil raised his hand and told us about his experience of the racism he and his friends get on a daily basis. The sense of alienation, ignorance and disappointment. The classroom was dead silent, everyone listening eagerly. A few nodded their heads in agreement, and we were quite a few with tears in our eyes. How do we move forward from this, I asked myself with a burning sensation of powerlessness. "What can you do about it?" I asked. "What can we do together about it?" Eventually, we created a short film, where the pupils themselves express their experience of racism and their feelings of abandonment when society looks away.

As I write this, the film has been seen by thousands and I am convinced that this is the beginning of the pupils Social Entrepreneurship journey. One youth that gets heard and encouraged by their surroundings dares to stick to their beliefs and turn that into action. The sense of having impact creates an appetite to do more.

The pupils replies to my bombardment of questions about how we work with Social Entrepreneurship can be summarized with a combination of awareness of the issue and its social context, and having the skills to take action. It seems simple right? I told you, my pupils are masterful at explaining complex processes in a simple manner.

My advice as a teacher for you who want to engage on Social Entrepreneurship in schools is to ask as many questions as you can think of to your pupils. What interest you? What do you think is just? What makes you happy? What makes you angry? What gaps do you see in society? What would you like to change? Your questions can assist the pupils to navigate and understand what's important for them. Teach them about society and drill them in rhetorics and communication, and I promise, the results will come.

Schools have a great possibility to develop the pupils ability to become Social Entrepreneurs if we dare to ask questions, show interest and support the pupils once they understand what change they want to create. A potential Social Entrepreneur needs experience, and that can only be gained by testing their ideas. Our responsibility is to provide support and a safe platform, where they can learn from their achievements and failures.

Through questions, showing interest and engagement we can get more pupils to show initiative and become innovative Social Entrepreneurs who spots possibilities where others see problems. Together, we can make a difference. Together, we can change the world!

Boel Franzén Kabner, Senior High School Teacher (Gymnasielärare), YBC Nacka

Want to engage? Visit Changemakers Backyard!

It's a tool (in Swedish) developed by Raoul Wallenberg Academy and Ashoka enabling you as an adult to support youth that want to engage in Social Entrepreneurship.