Career Education assists Senior School students to define personalized action plans for life after Crofton House. In Grade 10 Career Education, students explore post-secondary pathways through a “Self Awareness Project” that invites self reflection by exploring components of their academic, personal and social identity.
We spoke to Satchel Purcell, Assistant Department Head, Career Education & Post-Secondary Counselling, Senior School, to learn how this project equips students with adaptable and agile decision making skills. Satchel is passionate about inspiring self-determination within students and helping them connect with the kind of opportunities that exist for them after Crofton House.
Drawing from her experience as an art teacher, she encouraged students to take a creative approach to the Self Awareness Project. Moving away from producing a stack of worksheet-style answers, students interpreted the key learning objectives with inventive freedom. The results are an in-depth, highly personalized self inquiry. Each student was able to create an approach that came from a personally meaningful place meaning that no two projects were alike.
The project addresses three major questions:
- Who am I now?
- Where do I want to go? → What pathway am I considering?
- Who/what can help support me to get there?
“Who am I now?”
To answer this question, students defined their personal interests, motivations, skills and strengths. For example, one student who is considering a career as an artist created a 3-D model to represent the pathway she is considering. She created a miniature replica of an art gallery with particular attention to detail, interior design and colour scheme.
“Prior to this project I was really anxious about pursuing an art career pathway because of how unstable it can be. However, as I was answering the questions for this project, I realized how many resources I have supporting me and how fast the art community has grown in recent years and it helped a lot with the anxiety knowing that it's entirely possible to have a stable career as an artist.”
"Where do I want to go and what pathway am I considering?"
For this question, students had to evaluate post-secondary institutions and career options that expanded on the interests and strengths they identified through self-reflection. One student is interested in becoming a graphic novelist. She published an eight page digital spread where her “inner voice” was an omniscient character that told her story. This project helped this student realize that she has a flexible approach to career outcomes; “as long as I get to tell a story, I’m happy. My goals and dreams might change along the way, but that’s all a part of life. [I hope] when I look back in another fifteen years, I’ll be happy with myself.”
"Who or what can help support you [to reach your goals]?"
Students considered the people, organizations, groups, or networks in their community who have already supported them or could support their future pathway planning. A student athlete developed a literal response to represent her areas of support. She built models of her sports backpack, cleats, and hockey stick to memorialize everyday objects as representations of the Crofton House team, coaches and community members that support her athletic endeavours.
WHY THIS ASSIGNMENT IS IMPORTANT
Some students already have strong ideas for career pathways while for others this project may be the first time a student asks self-reflective questions relating to their professional skills and interests. Self-reflection is essential to recognize the skills they possess or want to improve.
A skill-based approach to Career Education helps students select post-secondary courses, to plan towards job interests, and to professionally thrive in a future that is not predictable. By framing the identification of suitable professional roles as problem-solving opportunities based on skill-sets, this approach prepares students to successfully find and thrive in future positions which may not exist quite yet. At the same time, defining skill-sets and lessening the focus on job titles helps students expand their ideas about fulfilling work to areas that they may not have otherwise considered.