“I ask every American to commit to at least one year or more of higher education or career training. This can be community college or a four-year school; vocational training or an apprenticeship. But whatever the training may be, every American will need to get more than a high school diploma.”
President Obama, Address to Joint Session of Congress, February 24, 2009
The phrase “College and Career Ready” seems to be one of the buzzwords in education recently. But what does this mean to students today? In a nutshell, if a student is college and career ready, they have mastered core contents, are proficient with a wide range of different learning strategies and are able to use cognitive strategies to solve problems, and take ownership for their learning. They have the knowledge and skills to be able to get into and succeed in college or have the skills and experience necessary to flourish in a selected career. Ok great, I get what that means, but the bigger question for me is, how do I as a teacher get my students to be college and career ready?
Most teachers know how to teach the standards and content for their grade level and do a great job making their lessons engaging and using data to drive their instruction. But I feel that this alone is not enough to make our students college and career ready. We have to equip our students with the knowledge of taking ownership of their learning. The old adage, you can lead a horse to water but can’t make it drink fits this perfectly. While you may be the best teacher, knowing all the standards and making your lessons as engaging as possible, if a student doesn’t buy into what you are teaching, they will never become college or career ready. So how do I do that? I believe that in conjunction with good teaching, if we can teach our students the following ways to take ownership of their learning, they will be college and career ready:
I believe teaching these concepts to students is just as important as the core content that they need to learn to be college and career ready. These are concepts that every successful adult employs but often are not taught to kids today. We often assume that students will simply discover these as they grow. What would happen if we, as educators, took a more systematic approach to teaching these concepts in our classroom? I think we would notice more of our students not only college and career ready, but completing the degrees they start and choosing careers that keep them happy.
Follow me on Twitter @kristen_labrie