What are you doing right now in your classroom to prepare your students for their future careers?
Here are some ideas to spark your creativity:
#1 Provide Opportunities to Speak to Real Professionals in Career Fields
Who are professionals in your community who could step into your classroom to demonstrate how they apply your class’ concepts in the real world for their careers?
For example, as an art teacher, reach out to a local marketing company to have a Graphic Design Artist visit your class and speak about what they learned in high school that impacted their career journey.
Or, for your math class, you might find a Project Manager at a local power company who can speak about how their math training is applied in their job every day.
A mechanical engineer could speak on how they apply middle and high school physics principles every day in their job as a roller coaster designer at a local theme park.
The sky is the limit – and it will open up students’ minds to discover a wealth of career opportunities that they can aspire to.
#2 Experiment with Technology
Consider ways technology can become a tool to encourage student creativity.
Explore the world with digital field trips. There are many places that offer virtual exploration of landmarks and museums that, due to distance or expense, your class would be unable to visit otherwise.
Try incorporating gamified learning into your curriculum. Game-based learning will engage students in a new way and can stimulate their interest in the subject matter.
The sky is the limit! Not only does technology engage students in a new way, it also prepares them for the complex technological world that they will need to navigate in their future careers.
#3 Create Projects that Solve Real-World Problems
Give students a tangible payoff for their learning by challenging them to solve real-world issues.
Brainstorm, design and act on a plan to help reduce the city’s pollution problem.
Speak with school administration to design a new menu board for the school cafeteria.
Construct a model park for the community that would address the needs of children of all abilities.
Take learning beyond the textbook. Continue to find other ways that curriculum ideas and concepts can be applied to projects that take learning outside of the classroom to be applied in real and purposeful ways.
#4 Encourage Diversity of Thought
Bringing people from diverse backgrounds together leads to diversity of thought. Seeing the world from the perspective of others is paramount to improving each student’s experiences and successes.
Consider adding books to your curriculum that feature people, places and events that broaden your students’ perspectives.
Incorporate technology to allow your students to listen to podcasts or watch videos to learn about different forms of dance from around the world.
Perhaps video call a peer from another country who has a unique perspective on a certain historical event.
The more diverse experiences students have, the more effective decision-makers they will become - individuals who can empathize with people of all backgrounds.
#5 Encourage Risk-Taking and Problem-Solving
Critical thinking is one of the most important skills that a student can learn while in school.
As a teacher, you cannot prepare students for every problem, question or situation they may come across in life. But you CAN prepare them to have effective strategies for problem-solving that will serve them in both their future career and personal lives.
Assign projects with open ended questions. Allow your students to take risks to come up with unique ways to solve these issues. Just like in life, many problems don’t have one correct answer. Allow your students to explore this concept in the classroom and learn how to brainstorm creative and imaginative ways to address these complex issues.
#6 Treat Your Students as Equal Voices in Learning and Discovery
The future of learning is moving away from the teacher being at the forefront of the classroom as the sole subject matter expert. Instead, learning is a communal activity, with students taking an active part in their learning. Teachers are a guide in their learning journey.
Prompt student engagement to discover what they already know. Provide opportunities for students to take on the role of “subject matter expert” to share their knowledge with their peers.
Rather than standing at the front of the classroom talking to your students all day, allow your students to become discoverers, adventurers, mathematicians, authors and innovators. Take their ideas and contributions seriously and listen to their voices as they contribute to the growing world of knowledge.
#7 Allow Your Students to Experience Learning Objectives in Real-Life Scenarios
Take learning outside the classroom and into the real-world laboratory.
What better way to see how math, science, the arts and more can be applied in real life than to go out and experience it for themselves?
For example, check out our workshops in Arts & Humanities, Science & Technology, Leadership & Innovation and Performing Arts at our East Campus in Walt Disney World and our West Campus in Disneyland Resort for a discovery of real-world application of these concepts in our popular Parks and Resorts.