Friday, 30 January 2015

The Grade 11 Adviser Course: Creating Personal Challenge

At Greenwood, we are constantly striving to better prepare our students for life beyond high school. Liz Branscombe, Greenwood's Guidance and Careers Subject Team Leader, talks about the new Grade 11 Adviser course, Advanced Learning Strategies (GLS4O), as a forum for students to develop their self-awareness and to focus on preparing themselves for this pivotal transition.

The very nature of the course lends itself to personalized learning in very meaningful ways.

Postsecondary Planning

To better prepare them to complete their postsecondary applications, students in this course are given opportunities to research and document information about various programs of interest. They are shown how to navigate through college and university websites in order to find program requirements, course descriptions and specifics for admission consideration. This process helps students to choose the appropriate Grade 12 courses with the help of their Adviser, who is also their Postsecondary Transition Counselor.

The goal is that all Grade 11 students enrolled in GLS4O will have at least three programs that they have fully researched and to which they feel confident and excited about applying. Throughout the process, students are encouraged to reflect independently on postsecondary environments which will make them the happiest and the most successful.

Employment Readiness

Postsecondary graduates are increasingly having difficulty finding jobs because of their lack of actual work experience. Preparing for the world of work is a topic of discussion for these students as many of our students strive to get some work experience before graduating. Opportunities are given for students to receive feedback on their resumes and also to practice for job interviews. Students learn the importance of networking, as well as identifying skills that are transferable to the world of work. Some attention is given to the impact of an online presence and students work to create personal websites, which may be used to represent them in the future.

Developing a Growth Mindset

In the third of this course, students will demonstrate their desire to learn by setting their own personal objectives for a "Trailblazing Project." Students will practice their executive functioning skills by
  • Researching what they would like to achieve and identifying a "SMART" goal;
  • Planning out what they will do and when they will achieve this;
  • Planning out how they will check their progress.
The students will spend significant time on their proposals for this project and teachers will ensure that these are aligned with their goals.

This project is meant to support the students' future goals and help them develop skills around their interests. Various projects that students are planning on completing include:
  • Completing an extra-credit course online
  • Completing portfolios for their postsecondary applications
  • Learning a skill (such as a language or computer program)
  • Researching a topic
  • Creating something significant (such as a short story or a song)
The possibilities are endless, and I am excited to see what the students choose to accomplish!

To hear what students say about Advanced Learning Strategies, check out the video below. Click here to read about a recent field trip to the Ontario Science Centre where GLS4O students explored the human brain and how we learn.

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