Skip to 0 minutes and 6 seconds HAYLEY: In terms of career learning in lessons, it doesn’t necessarily have to be a job, it’s more that the students can relate it to real life. So that they can see the link and why what they are learning is important. I think for students, they need to put the learning into context if they’re really going to take on board and engage in what they’re learning. They need to be able to see how this links to real life and not it’s just going to be five years of schooling, it’s going to take them on for the rest of their life and be used in the future.
Skip to 0 minutes and 37 seconds FOLIE: My role, that I see in the bigger picture of careers, is one of a selfish note! I actually adore my subject, if it is that you call be a science geek or science nerd, so be it. But, I see my role as being able to get more students and more pupils going into a science profession. I have had quite a lot of successes with that and I’m quite proud of them. For us, we’ve got to try and give as much of a scope as possible, within my subject of science, so that we can actually enrich and enthuse, and I suppose motivate young people to move towards a science career.
Skip to 1 minute and 18 seconds NAINA: It’s not like learning from books or looking at PowerPoints, I want them to see how constructing things, building things together, teamwork, how they’re going to communicate with each other, how they are going to solve problems… So I want to develop all these skills, so that they can take interest in the subject. It’s not only STEM Clubs that I’m taking, I try to incorporate STEM activities within lessons as well, to motivate students as much as I can.
Skip to 1 minute and 45 seconds IAN: School is not a series of seven or eight different subjects, which are all singular. Link them all together, that everything is important, generally they will have more motivation in all of their lessons and I’ve seen it from classes, they have remained focused, actually we can see that we’re learning something for a good reason, we’re using something that actually we could use later on in our life. And we’ve had suggestions of something we could do later on in our life. Then actually, you’re more likely to remember it and they’re more likely to stay enthused. And if you’ve got an enthused class, the teaching of it is a lot more fun and actually a hell of a lot more interesting.
Teacher perspective: supporting your students
As teachers of STEM subjects, Folie, Hayley, Ian and Naina share their rationale for linking curriculum learning to careers.
When entering into the teaching profession, most teachers want to share their love of a subject and help each student fulfil their potential. Helping students to discover the point of being successful in education is in everyone’s interest. Attendance, behaviour and academic results can be positively affected when young people have aspirations that drive them to achieve and an understanding of how to achieve their goals. Developing future aspirations should be a whole school or college endeavour, from the classroom teacher through to pastoral support and leadership.
As teachers, you are uniquely placed to understand your student’s future aspirations and link them to the content you are delivering. The contact time that your lessons provide are a golden opportunity to better understand their aspirational plans and understand of careers choices.
We’re incredibly grateful for the time and willingness of teachers, students and employers who contributed to this course to allow you to learn from their experiences. Special thanks to the teachers and students of Murray Park Community School and Parkside School who allowed us to film effective careers learning taking place in their classrooms.
How do you use an understanding of your students’ interests and aspirations to inform your teaching? In the comments below share what you do now and how this supports planning and lesson delivery.
Here’s an example:
I know that some of my students struggle to work with others because they are very invested in their own ideas – they’re not so good at compromising. It’s important to highlight to them that in the STEM sector, it’s all about sharing ideas, building on ideas and combining different concepts together. By relating this area for improvement to their future career, the students can see why it’s worth developing this aspect if teamwork. I could structure a quick activity where they have to generate an idea then work in groups of 4 to combine them and reflect.
© National STEM Learning Centre