Changemaker Principal Spotlight – Lennart Nilsson, Röselidsskolan
Entrepreneurial Practices and Vision
For the students at Röselidsskolan in Gråbo, Sweden every school day starts with a calm reflective morning routine. Teacher and students sit together talking about the day ahead, learnings from the day before and anything else that the students wish to discuss before starting the day. Discussion topics can include how to behave during the class when you want the word, when someone else is talking or how students wish to be instructed by teachers. These conversations give the students the opportunity to form relationships to one another and influence their own learning strategies.
The time given for reflective discussion is a good example of how principal Lennart Nilsson’s vision of a more entrepreneurial school is practiced everyday. “The school should try to find the pupils’ inner driving forces”, and then connect them to the curriculum says Lennart. Röselidsskolan has been renowned for their way of encouraging students to follow their own interests and their own ways of solving problems. The school also finds a wider purpose for the student activities by working together with the extended local community. An example of this is when a school project about the human body recently turned into an informative book for children, which then placed in the waiting room of local health centre.
In Swedish school system, entrepreneurship has been identified within the curricula as a way to stimulate creative processes, collaboration and problem solving among students. Studies have shown that, entrepreneurial approaches improve self-esteem of students as well as providing an increased understanding of their surrounding world. It has been a goal of the Swedish government since 2009 to promote these qualities, but not all school staff has an understanding of the word ‘entrepreneur’, and many schools do not actively work in this way. Lennart also points out another problem; “Many people talk about entrepreneurial skills but they are not practiced everywhere” he explains. For more schools to actively work with entrepreneurial skills as Röselidsskolan does, the whole community needs to be talking about the benefits. “We must be able to demonstrate that it provides increased knowledge results” says Lennart. He describes Ashoka as an important co-actor in reaching this goal. “Ashoka globally addresses the shift that education needs to make in terms of incorporating changemaker skills and brings it to attention of politicians and educational leaders”.
Lennart is positive to see that Ashoka Changemaker Schools network has expanded in Scandinavia with three recently elected schools in 2017, adding up to in total eight schools in the region. For Lennart, this means that there will be more like-minded educators to exchange ideas with and be inspired by, something he describes as the most rewarding aspect of being a part of Ashoka’s network. Ashoka’s diverse network allows one to learn from other people’s experiences through the stories shared by Changemaker schools and Ashoka Fellows. “It is important for me as well to have entrepreneurial skills” says Lennart. This includes to collaborate with others to make positive changes.