Making Career Planning a Creative Process
Helping students develop plans may be one of the most powerful strategies for successful transition to postsecondary education yet finding flexible, appropriate resources for adult learners isn’t always possible. One resource mentioned in the tool kit that breaks down the career exploration and planning process is the Integrating Career Awareness in the ABE/ESOL Classroom curriculum guide. Here’s how adult educator, Mina Matthews, from Lewiston Adult Education describes her experience with the guide’s final activity called Career and Education Plan on page 179 of the guide.
We started out using the Career and Education Plan exactly as it is, like a worksheet, that I would give to the students on the very first day of class, explain to them what it was and how it worked, and have them fill it out as we completed assignments or assessments or inventories throughout the program (or looking at the educational pursuits throughout the program). Then at the end we would do a final draft of that worksheet and what I found was when I was doing follow-ups a month out, folks said, “What was that? The Career and Education Plan worksheet? What was that?”
So what we figured was we’d use the worksheet as a template and we’d have them design their own career and education pathway, and that became a very creative thing for some people. I had collages, I had flow charts, I had crayon drawings, I had all kinds of these wonderful career and education pathways that captured everything that’s on that worksheet but was really personalized. When I would call them a month out (and this was probably our second to last term I started catching on that we need to do this), they’d say, “Oh yeah that’s hanging above my computer where I study and yeah I look at it all the time!”
We also took that (the flow chart or the collage or whatever they did) and we had them condense the entire career and education pathway down to one or two statements on an index card, which they put (they reported that they put it there) it somewhere in their line of sight (next to their computer, next to their mirror in the bathroom, next to the refrigerator handle, what have you) just as a trigger. And again a month out they’re saying, “Oh yeah, it’s still where I left it!” so it kind of morphed into a bigger tool.