Classrooms That Work: Teaching Generic Skills in Academic and Vocational Settings

Employability Skills: Teaching Work Skills to High School Students
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These include:. Fact sheets and general information about generic skills. As a school community, work on building a library of useful resources print and online which can be accessed by all staff and used with student groups at various age levels. Include information about employability skills in the school newsletter or on the school website, and look for opportunities to include members of the wider community in helping students learn about this important area.

For example, family members could be asked to talk to a class about their work, and how particular employability skills are important in their career area. Employability skills lesson plans can be incorporated into the wider high school curriculum in a range of creative and stimulating ways.

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Bright Hub Education. Skip to content. What Employability-Skills Mean Employability skills or generic skills are those which can be applied to most workplace situations. Employability skills are best taught when they are a natural inclusion in everything which goes on in a school. Try listing the employability skills in a framework or checklist, then identifying areas of the curriculum where each skill can be focussed on explicitly for an extended period. For example, the sport and recreation area could focus on teaching interpersonal communication within a large group situation through playing team games, while the English area could focus on encouraging initiative through self guided learning experiences.

The critical component for teaching employability is to make students aware that they are learning skills which will help them become job ready. So if you play a team game, take a moment to make the link between the game, the teamwork skills involved, what has been learnt during the activity, and how it could be applied in the workplace. While employability skills are great to teach using practical, hands on activities, there are also a number of handy resources to support teachers.

These include:. Fact sheets and general information about generic skills. As a school community, work on building a library of useful resources print and online which can be accessed by all staff and used with student groups at various age levels. The 22 collected individual texts and the 11 pair texts were analysed employing qualitative data analysis and the research software Atlas. Texts were uploaded into the software as primary documents PDocs made up of two different Hermeneutic Units HUs , a sort of containers of PDocs, quotations and codes.

The first HU gathered 22 individual texts and the second one 11 collaborative reflective parts. The coding process was carried out through the assignment of pre-codes and codes to the texts and, further, through the aggregation in code families. The pre-codes were useful to identify the following categories, the codes, and the codes families, and to aggregate codes that could best explain and represent the investigated dimensions.

Through this process, the first HU generated 23 codes, from total quotations focusing on generic skills referred by students in their personal texts. The codes were aggregated into the 7 following codes families referring to the literature analysis. First, we identified a category of generic skills referred to emotional intelligence mentioned by De Villiers. The students clearly exhibited emotions and the strategies in order to help accommodate their needs while effectively carry out the assignment.

A second category of skills is related to reflective skills [41] 2 codes, 23 quotations which refers to reflections on the observation exercise 11 quotations and on the learning experience in itself 12 quotations.


Concerning the observation exercise, it emerged that the WR activity allowed students to reflect on the role of the observer and to go deeper in this process. Students seemed to overcome feeling of unfamiliarity and became comfortable with the organizational setting: anxiety and worry prevailed at the beginning of the experience.

However, the reports referred that the students were able to pass this emotional obstacle by focusing on their own positive attitudes such as humility and curiosity. Some of the students expressed gratitude for being in a real work context as well as observing a real work setting during worktime. A third category of generic skills is related to self-management skills [42] 4 codes, 16 quotations.

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In their reports, students underlined that the WR experiences encouraged self-management skills in terms of find strategies in order to be well informed about the company before their visit 4 quotations , organizing a way to gather data 7 quotations , identifying the best strategy to carry out the assignment 3 quotations , and, finally, being careful to not disturb the routine work 2 quotations.

Indeed, students addressed a marked respect to the employees, focused on their daily work and made conscious decisions to intentionally not interfere with the routine of employees. This code was deeply associated with the code: strategy to gathered data. A fourth code family referred to teamwork skills 3 codes, 14 quotations , another skill set underlined among the generic skills fostered by WRL activities. Students expressed different ways to manage the work in pairs referring to cooperation between the pair work 4 quotations , team decision making referring to the chosen strategy about how to observe, what and when 7 quotations , and sharing of information and observed elements useful to carry out the observation assignment 3 quotations.

Students described the WR experience as a way to transfer theoretical contents in a professional context 3 quotations. The content analysis underlined an association between the focus on the transferability of theoretical content in the workplace and the integration theory-practice. The earlier mentioned self-management skills are strongly associated with a sixth skills family recognized by literature, the time-management skills [43] 1 code, 6 quotations , sometimes included within the self-management skills category, but also recognized independently.

Since students addressed specific reflections to time-management skills, the research team decided to include them in a specific category.

Employability Skills: Teaching Work Skills to High School Students

Students emphasized their efforts to handle time management constraints in order to complete their task and optimize, as much as possible, the time spent in the organizational environment. The last category referred to the lifelong learning skills 1 code; 5 quotations concerning the willingness to learn.

In order to expand the analysis, we also took into account the 11 reports, written by each student pair, that focuses on the strategy to manage the observation assignment. This second HU generated 9 codes, from 91 total quotations devoted to generic skills referred by the student pairs. Only four generic skill sets code families were mentioned by students in the collaborative part, the most part evidently related to teamwork skills.

First, the most mentioned skill set referred to teamwork skills 5 codes, 78 quotations.

This collaborative section is strongly devoted to the strategy to work together in order to carry out the assignment in an effective way. In addition to the codes mentioned above cooperation, team decision making and sharing , a new code appeared, that referred to the comparison 4 quotations between the different observation strategies and data collection techniques that were chosen by the two members of the work-pair.

In fact, the students compared their personal strategy in order to develop an effective way to collect data and carry out the observation exercise.

It is interesting to mention that in the previous Hermeneutic Unit, the strategy to collect data was a personal choice and decision. Furthermore, the content analysis underlined a strongly association between the three codes: comparison, team decision making and, indeed, organizing the way to gather data.

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Second, students mentioned reflective skills 2 codes, 10 quotations. Fourth, time management skills 1 code, 1 quotation is the last identified family referring to the difficulty to deal with time constraints, but in this second Hermeneutic Unit, this code appears just once.

It seems that time is perceived much more as a personal constraint rather than a pair constraint shared between student pairs. Theoretical Considerations and Recommendations for Practice. As mentioned above, literature highlights the development of generic skills as one of the main results of WRL strategies and activities.

The strong references to generic skills stated by the students involved in the presented WR assignment seems to agree with the literature analysis. Above all, students referred to the emotional, reflective, self-management, and teamwork skills. Reflection emerged as a crucial skill that enables students to identify strengths, difficulties, and challenges of the WR assignment and to face with them.

Reflection is central in order to connect theory and practice, understand the links between present and previous knowledge, that students made explicit in their individual texts for example they mentioned theories and authors studied in previous courses. Self-management and teamwork skills set are as many represented in the content analysis. The assignment was meant both as individual student and a pair student task.

This required students, on one hand, to identify a personal work strategy and observation strategy while on the other hand, share and negotiate a collaborative way of working in order to produce a report that can be delivered to the company. The skill sets for students to work independently and collaborative focused on generic skills development including skills such as self-management and teamwork. However, it would be interesting to see if students develop these same generic skills without being exposed to the same crucial experience of interacting with a real company environment and real customers.

In other words, does the experience gained by students working together in a collaborative observation process, where they interact with a real work environment with real customers and expectations to deliver a real output, foster the development of generic skills including, but not limited to, self-management and teamwork? This study offers methodological considerations that can be used to design work-related activities that would foster the development of generic skills when implemented in an academic course. First, adding a dimension of reality and concreteness to an assignment helps teachers to amplify the outcomes of the learning experience.

Even if time spent in the professional context by the students is limited here, we refer to a unique business visit , in this study the mentioned generic skills are the same usually reported by students involved in an internship or work-placement experience. Second, to interact with a real customer not only a real problem, as it occurs in problem-based learning assignment for example, but also a real customer to whom the reports were addressed amplifies student engagement in this assignment exercise.

Generic skills at work: implications for occupationally-oriented education

The consequences of the work experience were not just a negative or positive grade. Third, a crucial role for students was being engaged in reflection. Fifth, the arrangement of a work-related assignment asks teachers to take care of the partnership with organizations. Sixth, a crucial aspect of WR strategies is support. Students have to be supported and encouraged by both parties involved, the university and organization. Reflective spaces and tools, monitoring meeting, and peer-tutoring meeting have this aim.

In the end, assessment and integration are two crucial aspects of WR strategies, and they must be considered within the curriculum.