Showing posts with label Job Readiness. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Job Readiness. Show all posts

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Planning for the Future by Exploring Career Paths

During the second unit of the Careers course, students have been exploring the various options and opportunities for their postsecondary and future plans. Lesson themes have included occupations of interest, postsecondary options and programs, and varying types of career paths. Each student is investigating their own individual interests and establishing their own pathways.

For some students it can be daunting to think about potential occupations at this stage of their lives, while others have a clear idea. Nevertheless, one of the main focuses of our unit was to allow students to recognize and appreciate that there are multiple paths one may take while determining and pursuing a career.

To allow students to connect with the unit personally, they completed an exploration activity where they researched and created a presentation on an occupation of interest. Students then completed an interview task, in which they identified possible career paths that interested them and interviewed someone who has had experience in that particular field. Students found the task enlightening, as the interview often exposed more about the career than is found in research alone.

Lastly, to provide students with an opportunity to learn about the various directions a career path can take, they participated in a live international discussion with Justin Lester, the current Deputy Mayor of Wellington, New Zealand. The students were provided with a brief overview of his career path to date and brainstormed questioned to ask him via Skype. The class found it quite astonishing to learn about the various studies, jobs and opportunities Justin had undertaken before becoming the youngest Deputy Mayor of New Zealand's capital city. Justin tried to impress on the students the importance of finding an occupation of interest and continually working toward achieving career goals. He concluded the discussion with an insightful message: to pursue direct and indirect opportunities that will act as stepping stones toward achieving a bigger goal.

Jamie Lester
Teacher, Health & Physical Education, Careers and Civics

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.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Personalized Learning and Preparation for the Future

I often find myself questioning whether I adequately prepare my students for postsecondary education, for employment or for life in general. While my curriculum is governed by the Ministry of Education, how the material is delivered and which skills receive a focus are up to me.

There are plenty of articles discussing disconnect between schools and the workplace or how secondary schools are not adequately preparing students for college and university. The Job Preparedness Indicator - a national study conducted in the United States - found that for entry-level jobs, employers were looking for candidates that were self-motivated, take initiative and have good time-management skills. The same study found that for mid-level jobs the emphasis was on problem-solving and communication.

In another article listing the top skills desired by employers, communication, interpersonal skills and teamwork were cited as being important.

The personalized approach to education (where students have more control and ownership over their learning) is ideal for developing self-motivation, initiative, time-management and problem-solving - but what about communication and other soft skills?

One of the strengths of a personalized program is that students can progress at their own pace and they can learn when they want and where they want. However, this strength also has its disadvantages as students could potentially lead a very independent existence with minimal interaction with other students.

As such, it is important when developing a personalized program to not only build structures that promote independence but also those that create opportunities to develop interdependence. When compared to a traditional teaching approach, personalized learning appears better able to support both of these structures.

Traditional instruction puts the teacher at the centre of the lesson, and makes them the person most likely to build communication and interpersonal skills. Personalized learning and the use of blended learning structures can eliminate the teacher-driven lecture, freeing class time for activities designed to build soft skills. The flexibility with class time offered by this approach creates more opportunities for group work, for discussion and debate, for one-on-one instruction and the development of skills needed for the future.

Additionally, the flexibility offered by a personalized approach can allow students to focus on the skills they feel are most important to them or the skills they need to practice the most.

A personalized program, as with any course, requires the teacher to constantly evaluate the student experience and the skills being fostered and then modify the program as needed. An additional consideration with a personalized approach is how to cultivate independence while at the same time encouraging interdependence as both are needed to build essential skills for the future.

Kyle Acres
Science Teacher