Innovation and Entrepreneurship (I&E) in English Language Teaching (ENG3 Reflection x2)

While working with the theme Developing Intercultural, Cross-curricular and Innovative Media Projects, that resulted in our Teaching Sequence “Sneak Peak” about shoes, we were introduced to working entrepreneurial and innovative when teaching English. It is in the new Danish school reform that the students have to work with I&E in all subjects and that it should be part of daily practice.

I&E is described by Fonden For Entreprenørskab:

Entreprenørskab er, når der handles på muligheder og gode ideer, og disse bliver omsat til værdi for andre. Den værdi der skabes, kan være af økonomisk, kulturel eller social art.
— Fonden For Entreprenørskab


To make something innovative, we cannot as teachers use the same material that we have always used. We need to implement new ideas, trends, and materials. We need to mix our own material and other ideas to create something new and different. A good way to accommodate the new reform and keep the students engaged would be to make the innovation happen around the student's interests - how can we implement youtube, fidget spinners, sneakers etc. to keep the students interested? That is the question we have to keep asking ourselves.


Next, we need to make these new ideas entrepreneurial, hence we have to create VALUE. This can be economical, cultural or social in form. Not only should we create value for the students in the form of learning, but the students themselves have to create an output that can benefit others. As Derek Sivers says in his article How to be useful to others: “Do everything in public and for the public. The more people you reach, the more useful you are. The opposite is hiding, which is of no use to anyone. 

For this to work, we have to implement on all levels: teachers education, learners materials, the structure of management on schools, political and teaching sequences all have to focus on creating this output that creates value ALL THE TIME.


I&E Language Learning.png

Language Learning Through I&E

Finally, how does this work in an English Language Teaching context? We took the model of intercultural language teaching and learning from Liddicoat & Scarino (2013) and mixed it with the entrepreneurial model (Figure 1.1) from Teaching Entrepreneurship - a practice-based approach by Neck, Greene & Brush (2014): The Practices of Entrepreneurship Education, and put them together (see model on the left)

If you are interested in this subject, I have put together the platform, which helps to create I&E opportunities for students in all subjects. The site is backed by FFE and written by Jakob Hedegaard. The page works within the framework of 4 skills: Personal Resources, Competency to act, Creative Competencies and Understanding of the world, or put in danish: "Skab Dig, Skab Nu, Skab Nyt & Skab Værdi"

Innovation & Entrepreneurship (4 dimensions)

  • Attitude (skab dig)
    The students believe that their actions can change conditions or awareness on a local or global level.

  • Action (skab nu)
    The students are putting their knowledge and skills into use through cooperation, planning and decision-making.

  • Creativity (skab nyt)
    Creativity is seen as a mean to develop professionally, thus being able to think critically, experimenting and moving on from failure are seen as important skills to nurture through creative working methods.

  • World & environmental awareness (skab værdi)
    Knowledge of the world should be incorporated as both a resource and an arena for activities. Cultural understanding on different levels; locally, simple and complex.

Emil Alexander Holm Thorsen