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Entrepreneurial Traits and Skills To Nurture in 2012

The clock is ticking and here in central Oklahoma we’re about to ring in the new year. This evening my wife and I watched Cameron Herold’s outstanding TEDtalk from June 2010, “Let’s raise kids to be entrepreneurs.” As we consider new year’s resolutions and goals for 2012, Cameron’s suggestions for traits and skills we should nurture in our children to help them become more entrepreneurial resonate strongly with me.

I’ll share screenshots of Cameron’s slides from his TED Talk, but also share his ideas as text in case you’re in a location or using a browser which makes reading the text on those images difficult. First, entrepreneurial traits we need to nurture in kids:

  • attainment
  • tenacity
  • leadership
  • sales
  • introspection
  • networking
  • handling failure
  • boot strapping
  • customer service

Entrepreneurial traits to nurture in Kids

Second, entrepreneurial skills we need to explicitly teach students and kids:

  • problem solving
  • to lead others
  • to want to make money
  • public speaking
  • to ask questions
  • to learn from mistakes
  • how to sell
  • to never give up
  • to be creative
  • how to save money
  • to ask for help
  • to see solutions

Entrepreneurial skills to teach kids

I agree 100% with Cameron that we need to encourage more people (not just “kids”) to become entrepreneurs. The death of Steve Jobs this year highlighted the importance of entrepreneurial attitudes and leadership styles. More than a few people have asked, “How can we encourage the traits we celebrate and recognize in Steve Jobs’ life work in the students in our schools?” Steve Jobs: 1955 - 2011 Steve Jobs at WWDC2011

Cameron’s TED Talk is the first time I’ve heard someone identify Steve as having had bipolar disorder. Cameron is NOT encouraging people to ignore treatment recommendations for mental illnesses, but he IS encouraging people to move beyond traditional, “schooly” skills as the traits we celebrate and encourage in young people. I definitely think many of the skills I encourage students and teachers to practice in my eBook, “Playing with Media: simple ideas for powerful sharing,” fall into these categories of entrepreneurial traits and skills. When you and your students “play with media” and share your creations in digital sandboxes, you certainly can be learning:

  • problem solving
  • to ask questions
  • to learn from mistakes
  • to be creative
  • to ask for help
  • to see solutions

When students work in teams to create media projects, they can learn about leadership, networking, and tenacity. The best learning moments have relevant, memorable CONTEXTS. We’ve all sat through many, MANY lessons which were quickly forgotten later the same day. Lessons in which we CREATED things, SHARED things, and received sustained FEEDBACK about our ideas and work, on the other hand, are almost IMPOSSIBLE to forget. As you make your resolutions and goals for 2012, I encourage you to PLAY WITH MEDIA, share your work, and share the work of your students on the global stage. We DO need to nurture these entrepreneurial traits and skills in our students and our children. As a classroom teacher, you have numerous opportunities to craft learning tasks which can operationalize these goals, transforming them from an ideal into a reality.

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