Back to Table of Contents for the On Course I Workshop

1. Strategy: Wise Choice Process

Application: Career Exploration and Planning

Educator: Robin Middleton, Coordinator of Advisement, Jamestown Community College, NY

Implementation: As a faculty advisor, I work with undecided students. I find many students unwilling to commit to the process of career exploration and planning often because they see the process as vague and overwhelming, and, therefore, they don’t know where to begin.  I use the Wise Choice Process to help them identify where they are in the process, and where they would like to be by the end of the semester. For most students it’s as simple as STEP I: “I don’t have any idea of what I want to do with my life” and STEP 2: “By the end of the semester, I would like to have at least three possible career interests.” Just voicing their status becomes the first step in taking an action and moving beyond non-committal thinking. By using the WCP, students brainstorm all the possible choices they have to help them identify career interests. I provide a handout listing all the career services we offer, but I do not directly offer advice or information. At the end of the session, the student commits to taking one step towards career exploration, and we set up a follow up appointment to evaluate his or her success. This simple action unlocks students from their frozen state and gets them taking action towards finding a career that appeals to them.

2. Strategy: 32-Day Commitment

Application: Academic Advising

Educator: Robin Middleton, Coordinator of Advisement, Jamestown Community College, NY

Implementation: Students who are in the career exploration mode are often unaware of all the career possibilities that surround them every day. To raise their level of consciousness about how extensive the world of work is, I ask students to make a 32-Day commitment to list at least three careers they came in contact with, or read about, each day. Students them put a (+) by careers that interest them and a (-) by careers that don’t interest them. In doing so, students become more aware about the multitude of careers that exist, as well as recognize their own reaction to different career possibilities. This activity can be done as an individual career appointment or in the classroom. It is a short, simple exercise with a minimum investment of time that has a great pay off in terms of student motivation.

3. Strategy: The Puzzle

Application: Career/Life Planning Course

Educator: Margie Lee, Counselor, MiraCosta College, CA

Implementation: Use this activity in the “self-awareness” component of a Career/Life Course. Begin with a mini-lecture on the advantages of self-awareness, emphasizing three benefits: 1) helps you realizing when you are off course. 2) helps you understand how you got off course, and 3) helps you see how to get back on course. After having student groups assemble puzzles, ask them to write and then discuss with a partner, “What if how I do the puzzle is how I do career planning?”  After a paired conversation, open the discussion to the whole class, ending with a discussion of “What would you like to change?” and “What is one step you could take now to change?”

4. Strategy: Silent Socratic Dialogue

Application: Career/Life Planning Course

Educator: Jackie Elliott, Counselor, Portland Community College, OR

Implementation: The purpose of this activity is to help students see and understand how their social environment influences their career choice. First, give them a list of factors that might influence their career choice: parents, family, friends, community, geographical location, politics, economy, religious affiliation (or lack of), other. Have students choose one factor and  write for 5 minutes about how it is influencing what they are thinking about doing for a career. Using this writing as the first reading, have students engage in the Silent Socratic Dialogue. Afterwards, hold a whole-class discussion, focusing on the questions, “What did  you learn about the factors that are influencing your career choice?” and “Does this new understanding in any way change your approach to career planning?”

5. Strategy: The Jigsaw

Application: Job Search Class for Juniors and Seniors

Educator: Bev Reid, Director, Career Development, Lynchburg College, VA

Implementation: In home groups of three, have students choose to become the group’s expert on one of three methods for finding where jobs are: 1) Networking, 2) Internet, 3) Campus Resources (job fairs, on-campus interviewing, etc.).  Step A: Give a brief overview of the three choices, have each student in a home group choose one to research; then offer/elicit suggestions for how they might learn more. Give students sufficient time to gather information about their method for finding where jobs are (perhaps a week). Step B: Have three expert groups meet to decide on the most helpful  information they found and determine how to teach what they learned to their home groups in a fun and interactive way. Step C: Expert groups return to their home groups and teach what they learned about finding where jobs are. OPTION: Conclude with students creating a class podcast, video, blog, or website that shares their best ideas with other students searching for jobs.

6. Strategy: Case Study

Application: Career & Personal Development

Educator: Darlene Condenas, Career & Personal Development Course, Skyline College, CA

Implementation: I teach a course that focuses on job search strategies. Use a case study about an unsuccessful job seeker experience. Some of the challenges are 1) there are several typos on the resume; 2) the student successfully networked with a former colleague, but never sent a thank you letter; 3) the student attended an interview arranged by the former colleague, but was late because of child care issues. Ask students to review the case study, and reflect on different choices (a fork in the road) that could have changed the outcome of this experience (successful employment). I also want students to identify others who could help job seekers achieve their goals, including a career counselor, English teacher, Career/Personal Development instructor, or former colleagues who can assist with interviewing skills.

7. Strategy: Jigsaw

Application: Career & College Prep Planning – Syllabus Breakdown or Any Course

Educator: Rafael Valle, Puente Program Instructor, Skyline College, CA

Implementation: The goal is to help students understand the requirements to pass the class; thus going through the syllabus on the first day of instruction. A) Have students choose a category about which they want to become the group’s expert. Then study resource material. B) Meet with other experts to deepen your expertise and plan how to teach your topics to your home group. C) Return to your home group and take turns teaching each other what you have learned. Have students pick two topics at once: SUPPOA Assignments and Midterm; Final Exam and Participation; Volunteer Work and Field Trips; Graduation Requirements and Final Essay. Have students present all 8 topics in front of the class.

8. Strategy: Jigsaw

Application: Office Procedures class in preparation for Job Interviews or Career Planning

Educator: Melisa Johnson, Faculty, Business & Office Technology, Northeastern Technical College, SC

Implementation: In Step A, create groups of three students and have them choose to become their Home Group’s expert on 1) Writing Resumes–how to write different types of resumes, what should be included, format, etc. 2) Dressing for Success–how to dress for an interview as well as every day professional attire, or 3) Interviewing–how to answer commonly asked interview questions as well as important do’s and don’ts during an interview. In Step B, each group develops its expertise with the assignment by creating a presentation to the whole class. For example: Group 1 could present examples (both good and bad) of each type of resume; Group 2 might present a fashion show of what to wear and not wear to an interview or work place; Group 3 could role play an interview, showing both what to do and what not to do. In Step C, experts return to their Home Groups and lead a discussion about what their group members learned from the presentations.

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