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Tricia Yandell

Loxton High School (SA)

In Empowering Educators, inspiring Aussie teachers share how they build and nurture entrepreneurial mindsets in their classrooms. Here we ask Tricia Yandell, Business Innovation teacher at Loxton High School about her inspiration and how she creates creating authentic and connected learning experiences.

Q1. Can you give us three words that describe your life as an educator? 

Passionate, risk taker, innovator (I know that is technically 4!)

Q2: What’s one of the best learning experiences you’ve ever delivered?

 Tough question – I reckon I am still continuing to improve every time I facilitate learning. I think one thing that is really important for teachers first is to shift their mindset from teaching to facilitating.

 I love the Design Thinking Process – our school as adopted this and we have integrated and develop a LHS version of it – using the terminology relevant to each of the areas.

I think my favourite and most loved learning experiences is when students get to ideate and rapidly prototype

I always play the d.schools active playlist  (it’s on Spotify too!).

For ideation, start with a basic activity, for example, get students to draw on a sticky note a new vase, then put them up on the wall. Then, get them on another sticky note to draw a new way of displaying flowers and put on the wall too. Discuss how their thinking changed

The 30 Circles is also another great way to get thinking started and there are more here, from 99Designs. The SCAMPER activities here are also great to get students to free up their thinking.

With prototyping, students love to get in and design what it might look like – there are so many ways that this can be achieved

I love to start with an activity (not even related to their problem) where they design something new that could enhance a fellow students learning (they need to listen first to the problem then design). We have prototyping boxes just filled with so many different materials eg pipe cleaners, scourers, paper, sticky tape, cardboard, etc whatever I can find goes into the box. They then need to prototype something that can enhance the problem they identified. Again this just get students thinking. We do this quickly – the quicker you prototype the quicker you fail the quicker you can improve

When it comes time to prototype on a more serious level for chosen problem – again the purpose is to do it fast – get feedback and do it again and again until they meet that value proposition of the customer – great that perfect FIT.

I allow students the opportunity to use a wide range of prototyping methods – it really depends what they are trying to develop. Some of the resources we use include:

  • Paper – draw it – put time constraints on eg draw 10 designs in 3 minutes
  • Build it – out of anything thing they can eg paper etc
  • Use of machines – the boys in my classes love this one where they can 3D print – they sketch it first then print it. We also use laser cutters and form makers too
  • Digital – there are so many different platforms they can use – here are some we have utilised:

Q3: What’s one book, website or podcast you’d recommend to educators keen to build the entrepreneurial mindsets of their students?

When I first started to explore deep entrepreneurial thinking I loved looking at the Stanford resources here  and to accompany this I would highly recommend that teachers ensure that they have an understanding themselves – theres a great (free) course on how to build a startup here.

Meet this week’s Empowering Educator, Tricia Yandell. 

Tricia is the Business Innovation teacher at Loxton High School in regional South Australia. Loxton High School is situated on the River Murray about 2.5 hours from Adelaide with about 500+ students. She’s been a Business Innovation teacher for 25 years and her passion for teaching young people about the entrepreneurial mindset and skills, particularly for rural students, has only strengthened.

She told us “I have been fortunate enough to surround myself with likeminded people who  have opened up many doors for my students and myself. More recently I felt extremely honoured to be recognised for my teaching in this area and I was awarded runner up Secondary Teacher of the Year in SA,  and also received the Business Innovation Awards for teaching excellence from CESEA and  BETASA in 2019. All of these amazing opportunities would not have been possible without taking risks, teaming up and working with organisations such as the SACE Board and Future Anything.

My relationship with the SACE Board has allowed me to be part of the development of the new SACE subject – Business Innovation which is very much developed around the entrepreneurial mindset and skills, providing opportunities for students to create their own start-ups and continuing to transform existing businesses.

Tricia added “I think it’s an exciting time to be a Business Innovation teacher and love to facilitate amazing opportunities for my students, particularly where they link to and help grow our local region.”

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