Project Partner: Ironwood Consulting

Language: English

IN-PROGRESS

Career-related learning helps children understand who they could become. Alongside that, it helps them develop a healthy sense of self that aids development of their foundational skills and enables them to reach their full potential (Niles & Harris-Bowlsbey, 2016). We know that teachers engage students in a variety of learning and play activities that introduce and develop foundational concepts and skills, such as healthy habits, socioemotional skills, empathy and teamwork. Such concepts and skills are crucial for successful career development in later life-stages, but they are not usually undertaken through a career development lens by grade 4-6 teachers. This study will shed light on how such foundational concepts and skills, introduced and developed by classroom teachers, intersect with career development and manifest into career-related learning in Canadian elementary schools. It is anticipated this research will highlight the important and often unrecognized work done by elementary educators, including what strategies and interventions they use to develop these critical skills.

Project goals:

  1. Develop a greater understanding of what is happening in elementary education in Canada related to introducing/building career-related foundational skills (including current curriculum, how career development is incorporated into learning);
  2. Produce a catalogue of career-related foundational skills;
  3. Produce a teacher’s aid toolkit that validates and informs teacher practice;
  4. Collate knowledge of different practices in delivering career-related learning;
  5. Develop a greater understanding of the role geographic context plays in influencing practice related to delivering career-related learning;
  6. Increase understanding of the barriers and enablers (conditions and strategies) to good practice in career-related learning;
  7. Identify the learning outcomes required at grades 4-6 for career, enterprise and employability learning;
  8. Document innovative and creative practices including the use of digital technology to deliver career-related learning;
  9. Understand approaches to the evaluation of teaching and learning practice; and
  10. Develop a greater understanding of the training and development needs of teachers, which enable them to be more effective in the delivery of career-related learning.

The project will use a mixed-methods, multi-phase approach, gathering data from educators (including administrators and teachers), parents and grade 4-6 students in public school settings across Canada and individuals within the wider business and industry communities. Diverse perspectives (including Indigenous communities, immigrant communities, francophone communities, special needs educators, and urban, rural, and remote communities) will be included to deepen understanding of individual and collective beliefs, perceptions and interpretations concerning career-related education.

Research is being undertaken by an international project team lead by Dr Lorraine Godden, Senior Partner, Ironwood Consulting and Consultant and Instructor II at Carleton University; Nicki Moore, Senior Researcher iCeGS, University of Derby; Dr Heather Nesbitt, Consultant and Adjunct Assistant Professor at Queen’s University; and Dr Stefan Merchant, Consultant and Adjunct Assistant Professor at Queen’s University. The project team has been extensively involved in a variety of research projects that align with and underpin the need for the proposed study, including research related to the Ontario Youth Job Connection program and the UK’s Gatsby Benchmarks.

Outputs from the project are expected in early 2022.

To learn more about this project, contact Dr Lorraine Godden at lorraine@ironwoodconsulting.ca.