Tag Archives: Employment

Entrepreneurial Thinking—Student-Centred Learning with a Grown-Up Twist

I’ve been thinking of another session I attended during the Cowordlennect 2015 conference: Think like an Entrepreneur by MARS, a member of Ontario Network of Entrepreneurs .

Entrepreneurial Thinking: The conference session was for K-12 teachers, but I found the strategies exciting and relevant for any learning environment. Why? Well, I thought about student buy-in, excitement, and engagement. Students sometimes resist student-centred learning: Can’t you just tell me what to do? This just seems like more work. What’s the answer, the formula? 

Fair statement and questions. Essentially, I think students just want to know WHY. . . an important question. Renaming student-centred learning as  Entrepreneurial Thinking gave me an answer to the question, “Why student-centred learning?”. . .  an answer that makes sense to university students because it has real-world application–inherent in its very name.

During the session, we participated in a Design Thinking activity.

Step 1: In groups, we explored a general problem (our “problem” was student engagement). We were given sticky notes, markers, and a large paper divided into three sections labelled classroom, administration, and national.

Step2: We explored the “problem” from the three  perspectives, writing our ideas on the sticky notes and placing them in the related sections.

Step 3: We clustered the sticky notes according to theme and their relatedness.

Step 4: We identified one underlying “problem” that we felt we could address, and then we explored potential solutions. To guide us, we watched a video of  Clay Christensen’s Milkshake Marketing strategy which frames products (or solutions) as doing a “job” for people. For example, as a teacher choosing an instructional strategy, I might ask myself, “What job am I hiring this Design Thinking activity to do for my students?”.

Download a copy of the activity template

Hopefully you’re getting ideas.  Personally, I thought of our programming for our at-risk students (i.e., students who are at risk of being on academic probation). Using this Design Thinking strategy, students could explore a problem (like social networking and  privacy) in a way that not only develops their research skills but also builds their confidence–confidence that they can  make a real difference in the world.

I also thought of our academic-zone.com online programming and asked myself, “What job did we hire academic-zone to do?” . . . for students, for teachers, and for administrators. To our clients: “What job did you hire academic-zone to do?”. To our future clients: “What job would you hire academic-zone to do for you and your students?”.

The question is direct and focuses on outcomes.

Please share your thoughts.

Cheers,
Margaret

3c94c98Margaret Groombridge
Coordinator Learning Skills Instruction
A-Z Learning Services, Brock University

Image

Your Top 10 Hidden Skills Employers Are Looking For

Interviews

Source: Queen’s University Career Services

Employers look for a variety of skills in potential candidates. Depending on the job, these skills may be very technical in nature, but quite often include common “soft skills.” Many job seekers overlook highlighting their soft skills when applying for a job. The Purple Briefcase Blog discusses the value of your soft skills and how to highlight them during your job application.

According to Aol Jobs, the top 10 soft skills job hunters are looking for are:

  1. Strong Work Ethic
  2. Positive Attitude
  3. Good Communication Skills
  4. Time Management Abilities
  5. Problem-Solving Skills
  6. Acting as a Team Player
  7. Self-Confidence
  8. Ability to Accept and Learn from Criticism
  9. Flexibility/Adaptability
  10. Working Well Under Pressure

From personal experience, I’ve always found it useful to carefully review the job posting and job description before applying to a position. To make your application stand out, tailor your resume and cover letter based on the key words and skills employers include in their job posting. If all goes well, you should be prepared to tell hiring managers of how you have effectively used those skills in the interview.

Why College Grads Can’t Get a Job

A new study from Bentley University suggests a possible reason recent college grads can’t secure a job after graduation. In their study, hiring managers, business people, corporate recruiters, and other individuals agreed on one thing; college grads are not prepared for their first job. This may result from a lack of communication skills, interpersonal skills, office etiquette, work ethic, or several other potential traits.

Image

A common defensive argument that is mentioned (and referenced in the comments by “Tonisha Adamson”) is that the problem resides within the educational system, and not the students. Students are expected to immediately becoming professional employees straight out of school, with no previous work experience. To add to the dilemma, some employers also shy away from recruiting first-time employees for entry level positions.

Speaking from experience, I feel attending an institution that has a strong co-op department, whose goal is to get students involved in local businesses and companies, helps student stand out from the crowd. Co-op programs give students the opportunity to learn those skills employers often find graduates lack. Being an exceptional student may not always translate into skills required to be a great employee. Real-world experience is, in my opinion, one of the best ways to apply what you learn in the classroom and get a sense of how to apply it to the business world.

What do you think?

  • Do you think educational systems today do not prepare students for the real world? Or is the purpose of school to simply show prospective employers your initiative and motivating to learn new things?
  • Do you think employers expect too much from college students/grads that do not have any previous work experience?
  • Do you think graduates are just lazy and act too entitled to believe they deserve a job because they earned a degree?

Let me know in the comments below!
More information about this article can be found here

Have a great day!