We may not know exactly which skills the workforce of tomorrow needs, but we can all agree that some skills never grow old.
We know teachers want to ensure that every student finds the lifelong learner inside them – the person who can master any task because they possess the skills that really matter: curiosity, ingenuity, and the confidence to learn and grow. EVERFI wants to support that quest.
On September 11, our team facilitated an #EVERFIedchat Twitter chat about career readiness. Participants shared their perspectives on employability skills and how this plays out in a K-12 environment. We’ve rounded up the best insights for you!
Q1: Why is college and career readiness integral to a well-rounded education?
Every teacher knows their end goal – to prepare students for the real world. But in the classroom, it is challenging to effectively and authentically simulate the real world. Jennifer Wolfe says it’s worth it because:
— Jennifer Wolfe (@mamawolfeto2) September 11, 2019
Without knowing how they’ll apply their knowledge in the future, how can we expect students to dedicate themselves to learning and retaining it in the first place?
Q2: What are reasons high school graduates struggle to thrive in the workplace?
A2: Many of our classrooms don't model real-world settings. Careers require problem-solving, collaboration, & self-management. Designing our instruction to more closely mirror work-based scenarios would help. Easier said than done, though for sure! #EVERFIedchat #CareerReadiness https://t.co/xZPCIux3qU
— Kaley Esselborn (@kresselborn) September 11, 2019
Kaley Esselborn highlighted the gap that tends to exist between real world education and the real world. While many students bridge the gap from high school to beyond with few stumbling blocks, others struggle to thrive in workplace environments or make unprofessional faux pas at work. This is why it is essential to teach our students the keys to career readiness.
Q3: What are the traits of a high-quality career preparation education?
Lots of assessments based on SKAs, career clusters, desired lifestyle, determining income wages/retirement/benefits for job type, research employment growth for projective time of graduation. Key is differentiated, self-directed specific to interests, &job shadowing #EVERFIedchat
— Carrie L. Farrell (@CarrieLFarrell7) September 11, 2019
Carrie L Farrell believes in differentiation above all, and for good reason. Classes are diverse and full of dreams that vary wildly. Educators who work in career prep want to expose students to as many careers as possible so that they can inspire and empower their students.
Q4: How do you change student misperceptions about certain job fields?
Misperceptions of different job fields can deter students from learning more about them entirely.
A4. Work experience and volunteering means spending time with an employer in a real workplace. Students may watch others perform a role, get hands-on experience yourself, or both. #EVERFIedchat
— DMVelliaris PhD (Ed) (@dmvelliaris) September 11, 2019
DMVelliaris PhD (Ed) presented one way of bringing careers to life for students. If your school doesn’t have the resources for this kind of hands-on learning, you can take virtual field trips online or use virtual career exploration resources.
Q5: How do you create meaningful evaluation that mimics those of employers?
For many, the first time they are judged against their progress to goal or held to professional standards is at their first job. However, it’s possible to weave elements of workplace success into the classroom like Jenny Watson.
Even at the middle school level, they’re at “work” in my classroom! I’m the “boss” and their grade is their payment! When a decision- well let’s just say wasn’t thought through 😉😳- I ask my students “If you had done that at work, what would happen?” @EVERFIK12 #EVERFIedchat https://t.co/ZnbvXk4Yx7 pic.twitter.com/vTEkpY7upw
— Jenny Watson (@SEMSFACSTeach) September 11, 2019
A learning environment is where students can and will make mistakes, but creating standard expectations that reflect those of the workplace can help students understand the consequences in their future.
Q6: How can community partners support career preparation? Tag yours!
At EVERFI, we work with a variety of community partners to support career preparation at schools across the United States. Sponsors like the United Way and the NFL support character education and the development of interpersonal skills. The MassMutual Foundation provides FutureSmart to support employability skills amongst middle school students. Our chat participants appreciated their community partners and the opportunities they bring into their school. Mrs. Gray detailed the support her school receives.
A6: Community partners (i.e. CTE Advisory board) are great resources to let us know what employers need and want in future employees, serve as guest speakers, and #1 advocates for our programs.#cooperativeextension#FirstStateBank#FarmBureau#FarmCredit
— Mrs. Gray (@FACS_Teacher1) September 11, 2019
Q7: What resources do you find invaluable in preparing students for college and career?
A7: We recently completed a design challenge with a group of high school students asking this question. Their response: Financial Literacy, Independent Skills, Balance Lifestyle & Entrepreneur Mindset. #EVERFIedchat https://t.co/kckCuarFUd
— Dr. Justin Aglio (@JustinAglio) September 11, 2019
Luckily, if you’re looking for resources that support learning in any of the topic areas Justin Aglio mentioned, look no further than our suite of resources aimed at educating in elementary, middle, and high school.
Q8: What do you hope your students understand about college and careers at the end of this year?
Although not every lesson will stick with students for the long-term, we can impart some life lessons and display our values to those who enter our classrooms. Eileen Lennon’s lesson of choice?
A8-I explain that they may have many different careers in their life, so they need many skills that they haven't even thought of. I have an art degree and I'm a computer teacher. Everyone's path has some twists and turns. Be prepared for anything. #EVERFIedchat
— Eileen Lennon (@eileen_lennon) September 11, 2019
We know that people have on average 12 different careers over their lifetimes. Students should know this reality and their education should focus on that which is transferable. And that’s why EVERFI provides career readiness resources to support those things we know they will need, regardless of their field.
These kinds of conversations help keep educators up to date on the latest trends, resources, and ethos in real world learning. EVERFI is committed to providing a space for educators to develop their teaching philosophies and stretch their classroom practice. Join us next month on October 9th, at 7 pm EST for our next #EVERFIedchat, all about digital citizenship education.