By Luisa Silva,
NFTE Communications Intern
Teachers and professional educators have found NFTE’s curriculum to be the right program for learning the steps and best practices in aiding young adults to think like entrepreneurs. I was able to attend the last day of this week's NFTE University (NFTE U) workshop in New York City, and the program also enabled me to learn more about what the NFTE U program is about. It not only helps develop entrepreneurship teachers, but also exposes these educators to the student experience and to the importance of opportunity.
NFTEU is designed to help teachers construct a one year classroom learning experience. This is mainly for high school sophomores and juniors; young adults that are not yet busy with college applications. After this one year program, NFTE practitioners encourage these young adults to continue with the Start Up Summer program.
The teachers confessed to Kene, the instructor leading this week’s NFTE U, that throughout the training, they encountered big challenges.
One of the main challenges teachers discussed was getting students to understand the vocabulary in the NFTE curriculum. At first learning it was overwhelming because many business words were thrown at them. But through the group work and by applying the vocabulary to real life scenarios, the vocabulary became easier and a part of their own dictionary. Also, learning games such as crossword puzzles helped with their memory.
It is tough seeing that your lesson plan at first may not work, but the teachers here learned from negative results: they were able to see where to go back and fix their mistakes. This has helped them to plan, think through, and allow room for others to help.
What is intriguing is that a few of these teachers flew in from around the world for NFTE U. Two teachers were from Trinidad & Tobago and South Africa.
I was lucky to interview Nicola and Robert from both countries, respectively.
“I have launched a program for at-risk kids and found NFTE as a good tool of education for older kids, and I love the process. NFTE’s activities provide rich detailed content,” said Nicola. “NFTE helps teachers be successful and I learned how to be more empathetic with students because I am also learning.”
As for Robert’s perspective, “NFTE’s teaching methods are innovative and good for students. My takeaways from this program is that this will make learning fun and will motivate the students because they need orientation. I am excited to take what I learned here back to my classroom.”
In the end, I got to sit down with Kene and he told me that training professionals is a great way of meeting new people, engaging them in new strategies of teaching and helping their communities. Teaching is also a learning experience that shows the depth of education and the challenges.
All in all, I was able to see professionals work as students in a classroom. They worked together to learn the curriculum and solve problems. NFTE U trains teachers to become more knowledgeable so they can help their students become not only entrepreneurs but financially savvy, and aids in giving teachers the ability to positively reinforce their students dreams and aspirations.