How do I decide?

Format
Laura Ball

How does this align with my curriculum?

Students will explore a variety of decision-making strategies, and reflect on their decision-making style.
Summary
  • Students will explore a variety of decision-making strategies
  • Students will learn about decision styles and assess their own decision style preferences
  • Students will reflect on their comfort with making decisions and how to apply decision-making skills to create, reflect on, and revise goals.
Specific Expectations for Ontario

Grade 10 Career Studies (GLC20) Strand A A1.1 Demonstrate an understanding of the importance of resilience and perseverance in school, life, and work – why it is helpful to acquire skills for adapting to change, persevering in the face of adversity, learning from mistakes, and thinking positively about setbacks – and analyse how developing resilience and perseverance can help them in all areas of their lives
A1.2 Identify a range of strategies to help manage stress and achieve and maintain a healthy school/life/work balance, and explain how they have used such strategies in their lives so far and how they might apply them in the future
A2.1 Apply various decision-making strategies as they set personal, social, educational, and career/life goals, then evaluate and revise those goals based on what they learn about themselves during this course
A2.2 Reflect on and document the process of developing and revising goals, commenting on the effectiveness of the strategies they have used in the process and identifying areas where more work may be needed

Setting the Stage

By the time they have reached high school, most students will have some idea of the career paths that are of interest to them. However, as they begin to more precisely narrow down their planned career path, there are many decisions to be made (e.g., which institution, which post-secondary pathway, living away from home or not).

In this lesson, students will explore a variety of decision-making strategies, and reflect on how they feel most comfortable making decisions. They will use some of these decision-making skills to create, reflect on, and revise career goals.

Materials & Preparation

  • Face-to-face
    • Chart or other paper - 9 pieces
    • Sticky notes - 3 per student
    • Place 5 pieces of chart paper in separate areas of the room, titled as follows: Pros and Cons List; Options Mind Map; Reflect on Options; Seek Guidance; Evaluating Options List 
    • Place 4 pieces of chart paper in the four corners of the room titled as follows: Analytical; Conceptual; Directive; Behavioural 
  • Virtual
  • My Decision-Making Style Quiz Reproducible (1 per student) [Google doc] [PDF] - provide as a paper or e-copy
  • How do I decide? Reflection Reproducible (1 per student) [Google doc] [PDF] - provide as a paper or e-copy
Using a Google Jamboard

Before the lesson, make a copy of each jamboard. To make a copy, click on the three dots in the top right corner of the Jamboard page and select “Make a Copy.” After this, students will be able to edit the Jamboard.

What To Do

Part 1: Decision-making Strategies

  • To introduce the topic of decision-making with students, teachers could lead a class discussion using the following questions as prompts:
    • What kinds of decisions do we make every day?
    • Are some decisions easier to make than others? Why/why not?
    • Answer this question in your mind “Do I have a difficult time making decisions? Or is it easy for me?”. 
    • When making decisions, do you like to have lots of options or few options? Explain why.
    • When making decisions, do you like to bounce ideas off others? Do you like to do research? What else helps you come to decisions?
  • Alternatively, the lesson could be introduced using a Think-Pair-Share activity or a small discussion group activity with reports back to the class.
Face-to-face Version
  • Teachers could provide students with 3 sticky notes each and explain that they will be using those sticky notes to indicate how they make decisions. 
  • Before students make their choices, teachers should explain each decision-making strategy and the pros/cons of each:
    • Making a pros and cons list to weigh the positives and negatives of the decision you’re trying to make
    • Create a web or mind map outlining various options and their implications
    • Reflect on your options with family members and friends
    • Seek guidance from a trusted adult such as a guidance counsellor, Elder, Métis Senator, knowledge keeper, or knowledge holder
    • Prepare a list of criteria for evaluating options
  • When ready, students will use the sticky note paper to indicate which methods they use most by placing their sticky notes on one of the 5 sheets of chart paper that are around the room. Students can put one or all stickers on one chart or spread among two or three charts. 
Online Version
  • Have students access the Decision-making strategies jamboard. Teachers should explain to students that they will be using sticky notes to indicate how they make decisions. 
  • Before students make their choices, teachers should explain each decision-making strategy and the pros/cons of each:
    • Making a pros and cons list to weigh the positives and negatives of the decision you’re trying to make
    • Create a web or mind map outlining various options and their implications
    • Reflect on your options with family members and friends
    • Seek guidance from a trusted adult such as a guidance counsellor, Elder, Métis Senator, knowledge keeper, or knowledge holder
    • Prepare a list of criteria for evaluating options
  • When ready, students will each create three sticky notes numbered 1, 2 and 3. They will indicate which methods they use most by placing their sticky notes near one or more of the five strategies on the jamboard. Students can put one or all sticky notes near one strategy or spread among two or three strategies.
Decision-making strategies jamboard exemplar
Decision-making strategies Google jamboard exemplar (© 2020 Let’s Talk Science).
  • After students have indicated their choices, teachers should lead a discussion on these strategies, and students’ experiences making decisions. Guiding questions:
    • Do you notice any trends?
    • What is the most popular/least popular strategy? 
    • Is one strategy better than the others? Are they all equally valid?
    • Why is it important to develop your decision-making skills? How can these skills help you to achieve your goals?
    • What other strategies have you used when you have had to make a difficult decision?
    • Why is it helpful to seek different perspectives before making a decision?
    • Have you ever made a decision that a friend or a caring adult did not approve of? How did you cope with that?
  • Teachers should ensure students realize that there are many different ways to make decisions, and we each have a unique approach. No one approach is better than the other. What is important is that we have a strategy to use when we have to make decisions. 

Part 2: Decision-making Styles

Face-to-face Version
  • A page with each of the four headings from the Decision-making matrix should have been placed at the four corners of the room. 
  • Teachers should ask students to stand by the heading that they believe best represents their decision-making style. Teachers could ask a few students to explain their decisions. 
  • Next, teachers should provide students with the My Decision-Making Style Quiz Reproducible and allow students time to answer the questions. Teachers should make sure students understand what the terms used in the quiz mean (e.g., “What does diplomacy mean?”) and how to calculate their score. A sample could be written out or projected on screen and explained.
  • Once students have finished, teachers could ask students to stand by the heading that represents their results. Teachers could ask students to reflect on the decision-making style they obtained from the quiz score. Is it the same as what they thought? Do the results of the test align with their experiences? Students can share their thoughts in their group.
Online Version
  • Have students access the Decision-making Style Matrix jamboard. 
  • Teachers should ask students to create a sticky note with their name on it and put it in the quadrant that they believe best represents their decision-making style. Teachers could ask a few students to explain their decisions.
Decision-making styles matrix jamboard exemplar
Decision-making styles matrix jamboard exemplar (© 2020 Let’s Talk Science).
  • Next, teachers should provide students with the My Decision-Making Style Quiz Google doc and allow students time to answer the questions. Teachers should make sure students understand what the terms used in the quiz mean (e.g., “What does diplomacy mean?”) and how to calculate their score. A sample could be written out or projected on screen and explained.
  • Once students have finished, teachers could ask students to now move their sticky notes to the heading that represents their results. Teachers could ask students to reflect on the decision-making style they obtained from the quiz score. Is it the same as what they thought? Do the results of the test align with their experiences? Students can share their thoughts in their group.
  • Teachers should make the following points:
    • Quizzes such as these are based on research and evidence but may not be perfect. There is a degree of subjectivity in the person who answers the questions and how they rate themselves.
    • There is no “best” decision-making style; all are equally valuable. 
    • Quizzes such as this, are tools that help give you insight into how you process decisions. 
    • Results from quizzes can help you recognize your strengths and challenges. The goal is to help you become better and more confident in the decisions you make.
  • To conclude this lesson, teachers should allow students the opportunity to reflect and discuss what they have learned about their decision-making style. This could be accomplished through small group discussion, whole class discussion, or using the Making Decisions: Reflections Reproducible


Let’s Talk Science appreciates the work and contributions of Laura Ball from the Peel District School Board in the development of this lesson.

Details

Assessment

  • Students will self-assess, by either filling out the reflection handout provided, or reflecting using another tool (journal, portfolio, etc). Students should be using their new-found knowledge to think about or reassess their current goals, and to reflect on how making well thought-out decisions will assist them in attaining their goals.

Assessment

  • Students will self-assess, by either filling out the reflection handout provided, or reflecting using another tool (journal, portfolio, etc). Students should be using their new-found knowledge to think about or reassess their current goals, and to reflect on how making well thought-out decisions will assist them in attaining their goals.

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