Encouraging entrepreneurial thinking in the classroom and exploring entrepreneurship as a career option can mean taking risks. For both educators and students, learning how to approach the concept of risk and adapting to the inherent risks in entrepreneurial ventures can be interesting areas to explore.

Learning from the source

Anne Jardine, a teacher at Wamego Middle School in Wamego, Kan., says that she has enjoyed teaching her students about entrepreneurship and thinking “outside of the box” in a classroom setting.

“I have been really working with students the last two years on entrepreneurship skills,” Jardine said. “I like trying new materials so students ‘get it.’ I also like to talk about people in our area that have started new businesses.  We have gone to some of those businesses on field trips to see what they have done.”

Learning first-hand from entrepreneurs about what they face can be an eye-opening learning experience for students. (If you can’t get out of the classroom or have someone visit, check out our short video interviews with entrepreneurs here).

An important first step in exploring entrepreneurship is making sure students understand the role of risk, as well as their comfort level with it. Kansas City education coordinator Michele Wulff says a simple questionnaire can help spur discussion on the topic. 

“To get students thinking about the characteristics of an entrepreneur, they can take our entrepreneurial self-assessment survey,” Wulff said. “Students can do this individually or teachers can utilize our accompanying lesson plan to take their entrepreneurial talents and connect them to solving business problems.”

Risk and reward

She also encouraged teachers to consider looking at the concept of risk and reward in investing, and the trade-offs with both, as another way to explore the concept.

Carol Mathias, a high school educator in Lincoln (Neb.) Public Schools, is also open to taking risks in the classroom. 

“Things are always changing, so I have to take risks to keep up,” Mathias said. “For risk-averse students, there has to be some proverbial ‘hand holding’ and finding their comfort zones.”

Joy Marts, Instructional Coach at Delaware Ridge Elementary in Kansas City, Kan., said she strives to create an environment that encourages students to have a growth mindset, where they are encouraged to step out of their comfort zone and realize that taking risks can be a good thing.

“Risk taking is a hugely important skill that students will need to be successful in life,” Marts said.

Whatever their path in life, Kansas City Fed Community Development advisor Dell Gines says entrepreneurship education is an important component as our economy changes. 

“Entrepreneurship education prepares students for the future economy,” Gines said. “It provides them with the skills to both own a company and also be the type of employee that employers say they are looking for.”

For more information

To learn more about our resources related to entrepreneurship, check out our roundup of resources

Do you have tried and true suggestions for ways you teach about entrepreneurship in your classroom? If so, share them with us via email, and we might use them in a future edition of our Teacher Talk Planner.

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