2020. The time has come to ditch broken paradigms, and unleash the power of 21st century ‘EntreComp’ skilled change agents.
As global citizens, we live with constant change and challenge. Issues seeded from an era of unrestrained greed and competition, and an over-zealous drive for growth. All against the backdrop of rising populations, depleting resources, environmental degradation, and threats to privacy and democracy (Rothkopf, 2020). If we are to have any chance of success in tackling the very urgent, wicked problems of this new decade and beyond, we clearly need a new approach, a new order even. One based on empathy, connection, creativity and resilience.
But maybe, just maybe, we can actually take some inspiration from the past, and draw from some of the successful change agents that have gone before us. Ones who have role-modelled vision, values-based decision-making, agility and resilience, with the verve and ability to address the complicated, the uncomfortable and the unjust. Reap from the passages of powerful and interesting stories that can help stir the masses, sharpen the vision, and ultimately help build a ‘dynamic, responsive force, in and around the systems that we have got that are letting us down, [at] the speed we need, to create the change that is required’ (Conniff, 2018).
Pirates in Education
‘Pirates?’ You mean ACTUAL pirates? Surely, they’re too rebellious and anti-establishment for digestion here?…
Stay with me, a few minutes longer…, but first, try something for me.
Let go of all the clichés and prejudices you may have gathered consciously or otherwise, on pirates to date! Yes, that includes Captain Hook and Johnny Depp’s Captain Jack. Open your mind to new possibilities and perspectives…
and instead embrace the very real ‘rock star’ pirates as celebrated by the 2018 ‘Be More Pirate’ author, Sam Conniff Allende.
Social Entrepreneur, Innovator and Disruptor, Sam, in his globally successful book, brought the world’s attention to the magnificent endeavours of the ‘Golden Age pirates’, specifically from 1690-1725. Men and women, ‘who set the world alight with audacious rebelliousness, and a clear commitment to ideas of justice and equality’ (De Marco, 2015). Not enemies of humanity, but progressive people drawn from esteemed institutions such as the Merchant, the Royal Navy and even royalty. Not blood-thirsty rouges, but bright and brave reformers and suffragettes, shapers and influencers of democracies, and challengers of the status quo. Agents for change that fought for fairness, diversity, inclusion and voice. Pirate wins of their time, explains Sam, encompassed fair pay ratios, non-hierarchical structures, dual governance, universal suffrage and workplace compensation.
Underpinning the pirates’ strong values and principles, lay a breadth of competence, and an appetite for innovation, applied imagination, creative strategy and motivation for success.
If only, if only, we could have bottled this, captured this, in a flexible reference framework that could be adapted to facilitate the development of 21st century changes agents, fit for any context. One that would help learners of today transform ideas into action. A framework that would be wise enough to accommodate space for ethical and sustainable thinking, the promotion of self-awareness and self-efficacy, and nurture the ability to cope with ambiguity, uncertainty and risk. A framework that would sit comfortably across all disciplines, actively promoting their integration.
Step up ‘EntreComp’
Today, ‘Entrepreneurial Education’ stands before us, ready for action, distinctive in its focus to help learners of all walks of life, generate ideas, products and services that have value for others. Whilst this can still include economic or commercial purpose, value is recognized and encouraged to also take cultural and social form.
To be ‘entrepreneurial’ can mean taking an interest in regenerating communities, putting ideas into action to address social inequalities, or combating environmental degradation (Lackéus, 2015). Developed by the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre, the entrepreneurial competence framework (EntreComp) identifies the competences that make someone entrepreneurial, so that these can be promoted in organisations, companies, the education sector and among citizens.
Entrecomp comfortably subsumes into all contexts and subjects, from art and design, to science and the humanities; already becoming embedded in multi-disciplinary teaching training across the globe. An experiential and action-based learning approach that helps facilitate entrepreneurial skills such as critical thinking, problem-solving, communication, risk-taking and teamwork, not just for the narrow context of setting up and running businesses for economic health, but to provide pathways for people to improve their skills, employability and life chances. Whilst also supporting wider economic and social development.
Ideal in fact to support Pirate-like values, in the context of positive disruption. A fresh and fun appeal to the disillusioned or apathetic. To help strengthen and make more confident voices, stimulate critical thinking, and even strengthen student and educator self-advocacy. High potential indeed to help attain redistributed power, be an enemy of exploitation, and fight for a fairer, more harmonious and sustainable 21st century world.
‘Golden-Age Pirates were dubbed ‘enemies of humanity…because their commitment to self-determination, and collective action smelt like rebellion‘ writes Sam (Conniff, 2018, p.61). Yet in today’s context, Pirates in Education, underpinned by an entrepreneurial learning framework, offers a pathway to professionally-underpinned, learner and citizen-centred positive disruption. And just might, if you have the imagination, support outcomes of a progressive, fit-for-purpose 21st-century education. One that can challenge outmoded paradigms, and unleash creative and innovative talent onto society’s toughest challenges, across the sustainability, social and economic agendas. A means to develop resilience and grit in the face of adversity and uncertainty.
“You must be the change you want to see in the world” — Gandhi.
Interested in finding out more about ‘Pirates in Education’ or the EntreComp framework? contact me here at firstname.lastname@example.org
*VUCA – Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous – see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MqQh9t-VLIY
Earlier posts on this theme:
Lifeworld and lifelong development: the transformative power of entrepreneurial learning
Conniff Allende, S. (2018) ‘Be More Pirate: Or How to Take On the World and Win’, Penguin: UK.
Conniff Allende, S. (2018) ‘5 Steps On How To Be More Pirate’, YouTube, 2nd May 2018 . Available: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TkLDttD9mSs [Accessed 17th January 2020].
De Marco, G. A. (2015) ‘Foreword’ to Phillip Gosse’s ‘The Pirate Who’s Who’: Giving Particulars of the Lives and Deaths of the Pirates and Buccaneers’ expanded edn, Warped Mind Press.
Rothkopf, D. (2019) ‘Global Challenges to Prepare for in 2020’, Brink News, 20th December 2020 [blog]. Available: https://www.brinknews.com/global-challenges-to-prepare-for-in-2020/ [Accessed 18th January 2020].
Pirateship Photo by Cezary Kukowka