Why do I need to know this?

Directly and consciously tie the world of work to skills and standards students will need to know for their chosen career.

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It can be hard to students to see the value in what they are learning.

  "When will I ever need to know this? "

"Why do I have to learn this?"

Students may feel differently if they see the direct relationship between a skill or academic standard they are being asked to learn/demonstrate and their. future career goal.  This would go beyond just saying,  "you'll need this when you're older."

The idea starts with research.  What level of education will you need to have for your career?  What special training?  What interpersonal skills and tech skills does this career require?  What math/ELA/science/social studies standards would I need mastered to do this job successfully and what do they look like at my grade level?

Ideally, students would be able to communicate with a person in this career field--either in person or via email or phone.  It would also be great for parents and other community members to speak the the class as a whole about their career and the skills they need to do it.

Working together, student and teacher could create a list of the most important standards the student needs to master by the end of the year to be on track for this career.  The number would, of course, vary by grade level and subject(s) taught by the teacher. 

Share insights you heard during your empathy work.

Students see a disconnect between education and their future. It is seen as something done to them as opposed to with them or for them. Some see it as boring or pointless. Some students have negative feelings about their teachers, too. This type of activity can change the role of of the teacher and the nature of instruction. The teacher can become a partner in preparing for the future, not just a taskmaster.

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