Offering our students opportunities to broaden their horizons in international settings, getting to know nice colleagues from different countries, co-innovating something exciting and even travelling to new cities . . . There are plenty of good reasons for working in international collaboration projects, aren’t there?
Reality, however, can be somewhat gloomier reported the participants of the “Entrepreneurial teachership” workshop which was held in connection with the HHBIC2020 conference. Cultural misunderstandings, poor project management, differing goals and stubborn colleagues were distinguished as sources of sometimes chaotic project experiences.
The aim of the “Entrepreneurial teachership” workshop was to discuss entrepreneurial competences that are needed in international collaboration projects. Our own interest in the theme had originated in o in IOT Rapid Labs project where we attempt to organize multidisciplinary online learning for students in three European countries. We believe that entrepreneurial competence as a concept can be applied to any context when innovation, risk-taking, creativity and leadership are needed.
The workshop participants came up with excellent insights on what kind of competence is in international collaboration projects. Based on the discussion we list nine recommendations on how to act as an entrepreneurial teacher in international projects.
- Although you have a lot to say, instead of polishing your own arguments, ask questions, concentrate on listening and continue asking further questions.
- Yes, there are deadlines and zillion tasks, but your top priority is to create mutual understanding.
- Cultural understanding and prior international experience will help, but what you need is an acknowledgement that people are different and behave in diverse ways.
- Be ready to learn from others and soon you will notice that you have co-developed shared capabilities.
- Don’t be afraid of jumping into the unknown. Mistakes and surprises will happen and create new opportunities.
- Interact actively and build relationships with others. That creates trust and open atmosphere.
- Be patient and do not to take everything personally.
- It is important to reflect your behaviour. However, do not to blame yourself continuously. That will be emotionally hard in the long run.
- Do not be a besserwisser. Others will enjoy your company and appreciate for who you are more if you will let go of your Ego.
In international projects we should be capable of communicating, listening, solving problems, taking responsibility, being flexible and most importantly – taking action. These are the same basic competences that we want our students to learn to survive in the world of work. As role models, it is important for us as teachers to reflect our behaviour and develop these entrepreneurial competences as well. In other words, we should practice what we preach.