Developing Successful Work Habits

Format
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Students will learn about work habits that can help them succeed in any career.

Summary

  • Students will understand why strong work habits will help them succeed in their career
  • Students will identify work habits that people look for in employees and team members
  • Students will reflect on their own work habits and come up with strategies to help practice successful work habits

Setting the Stage

Work habits, such as reliability, self-advocacy, and teamwork can be even more important than knowledge and experience for success in any job. Though these habits are central to career success, they are not always explicitly taught to students. Luckily, new habits can be intentionally developed over time. Developing strong work habits can help students find success and meaning from school and their career. Understanding how these habits can affect their career success may encourage students to reflect on their own habits and develop strategies to grow and improve. 

In this lesson, students will consider the work habits they would look for in several scenarios. Then, students will learn about different work habits. Finally, students will reflect on their own work habits, identifying strengths and coming up with strategies to address areas in need of improvement. 

Materials & Preparation

  • Computers or tablets with internet access (1 per student or small group)
  • Access to the list of nine work habits from Ontario Skills Passport
  • My Work Habits Reproducible (1 per student) [Google doc] [PDF] - provide as a paper or e-copy

What To Do

Part 1: Brainstorming Work Habits with Scenarios

  • Teachers could start this lesson by informing students that they will learn about habits that help people succeed at work. While experience and knowledge are important in a career, soft skills such as communication, hard work, and showing up on time contribute to success in any job. Teachers should identify these behaviours as work habits
  • Students will start by brainstorming some of these work habits by considering one of the following scenarios in small groups. Teachers could assign each group a scenario or give students a choice. 

Scenario 1:

You’ve been running a successful lemonade stand all summer. You want to hire a friend to help out with getting supplies, making lemonade, and serving customers. What qualities/work habits will you look for in this friend? 

Scenario 2: 

For the past couple of years, neighbours have been paying you to do yard work after school and on weekends. You now have too much demand to keep up with on your own and want to hire a friend to help with communicating with customers, mowing lawns, and raking leaves. What qualities/work habits will you look for in this friend? 

Scenario 3: 

You’ve started a successful knitting business and have been selling your hats and scarves online and at local craft fairs. You want to hire a friend to help you post items online, communicate with customers, and attend craft fairs. What qualities/work habits will you look for in this friend?

  • Each group will record a list of the work habits that they would look for in a friend to help in their scenario. Teachers could remind students that they are looking for qualities or habits rather than skills. For example, students could list “hard working” rather than “good at making lemonade.”
  • Once each group has created a list, all the work habits could be recorded in a chart with a column for each scenario to share them with the class.
  • Teachers could lead a discussion about these work habits with students using the following guiding questions. 
    • What do you notice about the work habits that we came up with?
    • What are some of the work habits that were listed for all of the scenarios? Why do you think multiple groups came up with these same habits? 
    • Why might these work habits be more/equally important to the knowledge and experience of the friend you are hiring in these scenarios?
    • Could someone improve at these work habits? Why or why not?

Part 2: Exploring Work Habits

  • Teachers could emphasize the fact that habits can be developed over time. For instance, if someone isn’t very good at showing up for work on time, they could come up with strategies, such as setting an alarm, that could help them improve at this work habit. Habits can take a long time to build. Students can start building these habits now to help them succeed at school and in their future careers. 
  • Students could read a list of nine work habits from the Ontario Skills Passport. Students should click on each work habit for more details. Note: Even though this is an Ontario resource, the work habits are equally applicable to all Canadian students.
  • Once students have read about each habit, teachers could ask how these habits relate to their lives right now, both in and out of school. Students may give examples of how habits such as teamwork are relevant to their lives. 
    • Teachers may point out that a habit such as “customer service” may not directly relate to students’ lives now, but they could instead think about a similar habit, such as how they treat others in general. 
  • Students will individually reflect on which work habits are already strengths of theirs and which they would like to work on using My Work Habits reproducible. Students will start thinking of strategies they could use to start building these positive habits. 
  • Teachers could end this lesson by leading a reflection discussion using the following guiding questions. Alternatively, these could be used as prompts for an exit slip or journaling activity. 
    • Why might it be useful to think about which work habits are strengths and which may need improvement?
    • As a class community, how can we help each other be aware of and practice our work habits? 
    • Why are work habits so important for success in a career and in life?

Details

Extensions

  • Students could work in small groups to create a short skit or comic strip demonstrating someone practising one of the work habits either at school or work. Students could share their creation with the class.
  • Students could share their work habit strengths and strategies for improvement with a partner. Students could periodically check in with their partners to see how they are doing on their work habit goal. 

Extensions

  • Students could work in small groups to create a short skit or comic strip demonstrating someone practising one of the work habits either at school or work. Students could share their creation with the class.
  • Students could share their work habit strengths and strategies for improvement with a partner. Students could periodically check in with their partners to see how they are doing on their work habit goal. 

Assessment

  • Teachers could assess student engagement in class and small group discussions. 
  • Teachers could assess collaboration skills by observing students working together to brainstorm work habits for the scenarios in Part 1. 
  • Teachers could assess students’ reflections and strategies for improving their work habits on the My Work Habits reproducible.

Assessment

  • Teachers could assess student engagement in class and small group discussions. 
  • Teachers could assess collaboration skills by observing students working together to brainstorm work habits for the scenarios in Part 1. 
  • Teachers could assess students’ reflections and strategies for improving their work habits on the My Work Habits reproducible.

Downloads

My Work Habits [Google doc] [PDF]

Downloads

My Work Habits [Google doc] [PDF]