- BIRCH - Business, Innovation, Responsibility, Communication at Hansenberg
- Rationale and general information
The rationale behind the “Business and economic education Project” was originally, to add an extra momentum to traditional learning in classes 10-12 in the classical subjects taught in Germany, such as Politics and Economics, or the Natural and Social Sciences. The teaching team thrives to implement a new, interdisciplinary and philosophical approach that put both students and teachers into self-responsible teams. The overall target is to use all upcoming options and chances to enhance and strengthen our project (in little steps over the years) - with knowledge, experience, business contacts, budget, and – people.
- Starting Date: Fri, 01 Aug 2003
- Budget and financing sources
The budget above only concerns the annual business week for a group of 100 students. This budget, including software licence, four external professional trainers, and complete organisation was offered by the state education authority.
- Human resources
The organisation of such projects requires a high commitment from the teaching staff. For each activities, teachers are put to contribution by spending additional time (50+ hours per year) with the student groups involved in them.
Group activities developed overtime and added to the already existing ones to deepen the knowledge, skills and competencies of students:
- 2003-05: Annual business week “WIWAG/ÖKOWI” two computer assisted simulations in which students will manage a company in the former and a state in the latter (http://www.esst.ch/en-GB/Home-en.aspx )
- 2005-07: start business competitions - b@s ( https://www.business-at-school.net) in cooperation with large firms where students are guided through an almost complete economic cycle of analysis of existing small and large businesses and businesses ideas
- 2007-09: the entrepreneurship-competitions – Jugend gründet” (JG) (Youth Founders) was added to the programme (https://www.business-at-school.net)
- 2008: the DG module, a national, annual business project, funded by diverse companies and the federal savings banks. Student teams of 2-6 persons “invent” a product, and market it, including a pitch to local professionals ( http://www.dgp-schueler.de/).
- 2011-13: the school added the “Junior” programme from JA-YE ( http://www.ja-ye.org) and the European Central Bank “Generation Euro” (http://www.generationeuro.eu/) project as modules
- Since 2013: the school extend its network with JA-YE, NFTE, SeS, RKW
Public Private Partners give resources for a 5 years’ work experience abroad
Other partners offer specific support :
- State Hesse organizes external business week
- Frankfurt School and Savings Bank offer lessons
- Senior-students are considered partners coach and “train the trainees”.
- Success factors
- voluntary, self-responsible and self-controlled teamwork of enthusiastic students
- system of coaches (seniors, external professionals, teacher as coach) as it underlines self-control and responsibility
- a spirally developing curriculum by repeating central economic knowledge and capabilities at higher levels
- chief task of the teacher-coach who offers smart challenges “in a right dosage at the right time in a proper way”
- internal and external backing, financial and personal resources, administrative support
Throughout the years in which the school has implemented these initiative, student groups taking part in them ranked high or even forst in international and national competitions, by presenting their ideas, projects or business plan developed through BIRCH.
In addition, BIRCH triggered some important personality development amongst student and teachers altogether toward a more entrepreneurial spirit. The most important changes we observe are
- At individual level – each generation of 15-18 year-olds develops a distinct, but systematic entrepreneur spirit
- At school level – development of a “school spirit” of enthusiasm, achievement, and responsibility for a goal
- At institutional level – with every year of consecutive communication with companies, universities, authorities, BIRCH developed a deeper trust and reliability in respective capacities, towards a win-win cooperation for all members in that project.
- Paul A. Rauh