Pursuit of Happiness: Finding Common Ground

Students share dream job and connect with person to learn more about how that professional overcame obstacles to get dream job.

Photo of Cynthia Johnson
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I learned from doing a completely different design challenge that  included interviewing community members that many students don't get to experience meeting persons who may have similar passions/dream jobs.   Many times persons who I invite in to assist the students in PBL enjoy the interaction and always want to help more.  By middle school many students have an idea of what they want to do when they get older, however, they may not know persons in that area.  They may also not know of other students who share the same dream.  I would like to connect students to community members and others around the world to connect during student's lunch time.   Causal conversations and connections that are made during lunch will make the impossible possible and allow students to learn that other students have the same dreams creating a common ground. 

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Photo of Erin Quinn

As part of a summer professional learning PD I hosted on design thinking, one of the activities we did was bring in community partners - spanning a wide range of fields such as artists, scientists, engineers, non-profit, healthcare, etc. - and had our teachers interview them for empathy (you can find this method in here: https://dschool.stanford.edu/resources/the-bootcamp-bootleg). They loved it - they got an appreciation for a different kind of work, and were able to do some problem-finding through that person's lens. I *love* the idea of doing this with students.

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