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Formats for School Groups

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Format For The School Group-Planning Meeting

Ten career education concepts are suggested as a realistic number with which to work. If a school has several teams, they might meet at first as an entire group and decide upon a list of career education objectives for the entire school. Generally speaking, school objectives and classroom objectives are best established if a list of working concepts for the school is developed. The guideline for group leaders is suggested as follows:

Each group should include no more than five teachers and should contain both men and women.

1.    Introduce resource person (five minutes).

2.    Choose a leader (someone from the school other than an administrator).

3.    Read the concepts and choose one which appeals to the group for brainstorming session (ten minutes).

4.    Brainstorming session (20 to 45 minutes). Begin to think of as many ways as possible to put the concept across to a group of children represented by the group (elementary, junior high, senior high). Do not have any constraints during this brainstorming session (money, time, etc.).

5.    One teacher is to choose an idea and develop it into a total plan. Get down to details (thirty minutes).

a.    Which resource people to use

b.    What could happen leading into the experience

c.    What will follow

d.    Objectives:

(1)    Relate verbal concepts of subject matter to concrete experience of world of work at the student level.

(2)    Increase knowledge: What do you expect students to know afterward that they didn't know before? Examples:

(a)    "Students will be able to name five skills an auto mechanic must have" (occupational information objective).

(b)    "Students will be able to make up five math problems to give to the rest of the class that is typical of the math a nurse would need to know" (subject matter objective).

(c)    "Students will write a paragraph of the leisure activities available for a person who works at night" (concept objective).

6.    Next teacher develops a plan (thirty minutes). This may not be from the concept; it could be from a unit; could just be an idea; could be a friend with an interesting job or hobby. Eventually try to tie it into a concept.

7.    Next teacher, etc. (thirty minutes each).

8.    Help administrator define his role (thirty minutes).

9.    Help counselor define his role (thirty minutes).

10.    Help parent define his role.

An important planning stage is to help teachers realize that they have creative potential. One workable way to effect this is by having the small teams choose one concept and for 30 to 45 minutes "brainstorm" about the many different ways in which they could put that concept across. During this brainstorming period, constraints of time, money, etc., should be eliminated. Teams have found that they begin slowly but that the stimuli of one idea produce other ideas in the group. Often very creative ideas can be developed during this time.

After this initial brainstorming session, one of the teachers chooses one idea that has been generated from the brainstorming session and attempts to develop it into a well-thought-out career education learning experience. All of the teachers will help this teacher develop this into a workable plan. The following planning format has been helpful to teachers in working out the learning experience.

  1. Major concept supporting the learning outcome.

  2. Preparation required (steps or discussions leading into experience).

  3. Objectives to be met (concept, occupational information, and subject matter).

  4. Describe the experience.

  5. Resource people that were used.

  6. What curriculum areas were incorporated into the experience, and how this was done?

  7. Evaluation in terms of students' enthusiasm, success, or failure. (What percentage of students met objectives? Not to be assessed until completion of experience.)

  8. What other concept or concepts were incorporated into the experience?
The evaluation section is naturally completed after the experience has been implemented. In the planning of an experience, teachers will eventually learn to include concept objectives, occupational information objectives, and subject matter objectives.

To illustrate the three types of objectives, the following examples are given:

(1)    Concept: Leisure-time activities may influence career choice, and career choice may affect leisure-time activities.

(2)    Experience: the teacher has students compile a list of questions to ask a nurse working at night and one working during the day. The teacher arranges a mock interview so that students will feel comfortable in interviewing procedures and will have specific questions to ask. A night nurse from a local hospital comes into a fourth grade class to talk about her job and her life-style. The next day a group of five students visits the hospital and talks to a nurse who works on the day shift, and interviews her on her job. They tape the interview with an inexpensive tape recorder and take slides with an inexpensive self-developing camera which shows the nurse doing different tasks. The students report to the class, show slides, and have the class listen to the recording. After the night nurse talks, a group of five are chosen to go to the hospital. They have specific tasks to perform:

(a)    One student will choose ten spelling words necessary for the nurse to know.

(b)    One student will learn to operate a tape recorder.

(c)    One student will operate the camera.

(d)    One student will compile ten math problems illustrative of those used in nursing to give to the rest of the class.

(3)    Out of such a project, the following objectives should have been achieved:

(a)    Students will be able to name five skills necessary for a nurse (occupational information objective).

(b)    Each student will write a paragraph of the leisure activities available for a person who works at night vs. one who works during the days (concept objective).

(c)    Students will work ten math problems related to nursing (subject matter objective: math).

(d)    Students will write a paragraph (subject matter objective: English).

(e)    Students will spell correctly ten words used in nursing (subject matter objective: spelling).

The interview, the photography, and the recording could also be related to specific subject matter areas.

A creative teacher could relate many other subject areas to this experience. One enterprising elementary school teacher who had been a physical therapist worked out exercises for the physical education teacher, which were related to jobs: the pole climbers, the shovelers, the lifters, etc.

Although creative ideas can be generated from a concept, there are other ways in which activities can be formed. For instance, a social studies class studying a western desert decided to find out about job opportunities available in the desert in comparison to those available on the Pacific Coast. Each student, looking at a map of the United States, chose a particular desert town. He then wrote to the chamber of commerce of that town and asked for a copy of the local newspaper. When the newspaper arrived, students compiled a list of the greatest demand jobs in each city. They then wrote for Coastal newspapers and did the same analysis. Although the idea generated from social studies, it is easy to see how other academic subjects could be related and how it could also relate to a concept. Here it was found that some career availability is limited in certain geographic locations.

It is easy to see how students could also gain occupational information by either writing to a person doing this job to ask certain questions or research it through some occupational books written for elementary schools. Therefore the following objectives could be met:
  1. Students will name five major jobs found in the desert which are not found on the Coast (subject matter objective: social studies. Also concept objective, since it is related to the concept).

  2. Students will choose one of those jobs and be able to name five skills necessary and one place where training could be received (occupational information objective).

  3. Students will write a letter to one desert or Coastal community (subject matter objective: writing, spelling, etc.).

  4. Students will compute ratios of jobs between Coast and desert (math).
Another way to derive an experience is just from knowing someone who the teacher thinks would make an interesting speaker. For example, one second grade teacher speeding to school was stopped by a motorcycle policeman. While he was writing the ticket for speeding, she was thinking that her second graders would be very interested in his motorcycle and uniform. She asked if he would be willing to speak to her class, and he agreed. She preceded his visit by discussing with her class what they thought a policeman did and recorded the discussion on tape. After setting up the appointment with the policeman, she asked him if there were other people who worked for the police department that could come also. What had been until that time an abstract concept-"Our society causes interrelationships of jobs"-was assuming concreteness.

The day after the discussion, the motorcycle policeman drove his "bike" into the classroom with lights flashing, and a patrol car pulled outside. A woman and a long-haired man from the narcotics division also came into the classroom. They talked briefly about their work and how, even though their jobs were different, they depended upon one another. Students were allowed to ask questions, use the two-way radios between the bike and patrol car, handle the handcuffs and other equipment, and try on the hats. (Because the students remarked that they felt differently when they wore the hard hat from the way they felt when wearing a soft hat, the teacher was motivated to develop another career education learning experience built around hats that represent different occupations.)

After one hour, the teacher served coffee to the visitors and had the students draw a picture about anything related to the police department. They also wrote a one-line sentence about one thing they had learned from the discussion. The members of the police force circulated around the room and helped them spell, etc.

Each student's drawing and sentence were displayed around the classroom. During one week, each student was given some time each day to learn to read other students' sentences. Spelling words were given from the sentences, and math was related to "policemen" terms. The objectives of this exercise were:
  1. Each student will be able to tell one way in which policemen help him and one way in which they help each other (concept objective).

  2. Each student will draw one picture and write a sentence about a policeman (subject matter objective: art, writing, reading and spelling).

  3. Each student will tell one thing a policeman does (occupational information objective).
After each teacher in the group has developed a career education learning experience, the other members of the group (parent, administrator, paraprofessional, student, counselor, etc.) attempt to define their role in relationship to each experience and also to the total career education program. The administrator may have some contacts related to district policy, the paraprofessional may have some equipment to arrange for and the parent may decide to initiate a program for the PTA on career education. Each person in the group has some responsibility for the program and his role should be clearly defined. Although his responsibility is his own definition, others in the group should contribute suggestions. Counselors have found that this has contributed to a role change for them which was more exciting and vital than previously. An important key in designing a program is for teachers to realize that there is no one best way to implement career education. As the groups continue to work together and become accustomed to thinking along career education lines, they become more innovative and quicker to develop career-related experiences. (High school teachers sometimes have difficulty in working in groups because they have been alienated from other subject matter groups for most of their teaching lives.) Teachers at all levels, however, find this to be an exciting way of developing curriculum once they overcome their initial reticence. Several groups can work at one time and in the same room. It is possible for fifty staff members in teams of four or five to work in a large room, library, or in several adjoining workshop rooms.

The workshop leader is also a key person in successful planning sessions and must be able to provide a relaxed and congenial atmosphere, as well as to give help to individual teams. Familiarity with career education's goals and experience in working with groups of teachers is essential for this individual. Thinking can be stimulated in the atmosphere he creates, and workshops conducted along these lines can be productive, interesting, and exciting. Once workshop teams have worked together a few times, a workshop leader is no longer needed. A pattern of task-oriented objectives has been established which will be carried out by the teachers in their own way.

Paraprofessionals can also be enthusiastic members of the school career education team. They can make community contacts, arrange for equipment, and take groups of students on mini field trips. These paraprofessionals need to be chosen from a different set of criteria from that of teacher aides. They need to be flexible, enthusiastic, fond of young people, and perhaps be in a plateau period of career development themselves. Chronological age has little to do with the criteria. They should have had varied experiences in the world of work. Ex-waitresses, engineers, accountants, and ministers have been found to be successful.

Not all school districts can afford paraprofessionals. Parents who are willing to serve for a specific number of hours a week, counseling interns, junior college and interested high school students often will volunteer time for this purpose. These students, in addition to receiving credit, learn job skills of interviewing, telephone etiquette, working with children, writing reports, using equipment, writing objectives, etc.

When the in-service time is longer, other meaningful experiences can be initiated. For instance, members of the team can spend afternoons on job sites with tape recorders and self-developing cameras and can report back to the group on the following morning; groups can design a line production product and actually produce the product at the workshop site. A five-week workshop in Washington State required each participant to:

(1)    Conduct a job interview with someone on the job

(2)    Analyze the job into major and minor tasks, personal qualities of the worker, salary range, training necessary, skills required on the job, and outlook for the future

(3)    Take a series of slides depicting the job

(4)    Write a script from the job interview that would put across the main aspects of the job

(5)    Record the script on tape synchronized with slides

The slide-tape packages were prepared for student viewing and were made available to teachers throughout the area. Examples could be expanded interminably. The main points are these:

(1)    Career education examples useful for curriculum purposes and covering all of the components of career education can be found everywhere, either by searching out examples to fit a concept or by recognizing the conceptual value of a chance encounter.

(2)    Only those career education additions to the curriculum to which the teacher has contributed will have meaning and be used.

(3)    Teachers will not be able to develop and use such curricula unless:

(a)    They understand the objectives and content of career education.

(b)    They have been trained to recognize opportunities and turn them into curricula.

(c)    They have time for the exposure to the work world and to plan and prepare materials.

(d)    Preparation time, in concert with colleagues, is structured into their working schedule.

All of the foregoing support a formal in-service teacher training and career education planning program for every school district which has serious ambitions for achieving career education goals.
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