Educational Resources Lets Talk Science Challenge participants

What influences our career choices?

What influences our career choices? (fotografixx, iStockphoto)

What Influences our Career Choices?

Let's Talk Science
Format
Text
Grades
7,  8,  9,  10,  11,  12
Jurisdiction
AB,  BC,  MB,  NB,  NL,  NS,  NT,  NU,  ON,  PE,  QC,  SK,  YT
Guidance & Careers
Career Development
Career Exploration
Career Options
Essential Skills
Employability Skills
Personal Values

Summary

Students will develop the understanding that there are many things that influence a person’s career choice.

Setting the Stage

Career development is not a ‘recipe’ to be followed. It is a process that is influenced by people, places, experiences, life roles and self-concepts. There is no one right way, nor is career development a process that begins or ends at a specific age. It is a process that evolves as individuals change, mature and progress through life. Career development is often referred to as being about making a life, not a living. During a person’s working lifetime many things will influence their choice of careers. 

Material & Preparation

  • Arrange for computer and internet access for students working in pairs or groups.
  • If using the Graffiti Wall strategy, prepare four poster-sized sheets with the following titles: Family, School, Personal Interest, and Other. 
  • If using the Silent Discussion/Graffiti strategy, prepare four sheets of paper per group with the headings listed above. 
  • Download the Career Influences Admit Slip Reproducible (1 per student) [Google Doc] [PDF]
  • Download the What Influences Career Choices? Reproducible (1 per student) [Google Doc] [PDF]
  • Poster paper and sticky notes
  • Download the Career Influences Interview Questions Reproducible (1 per student) [Google Doc] [PDF]

What to Do

Teachers could start this activity by having students complete the ready-to-use Admit Slip What Influences Career Choices to activate their prior knowledge and get them thinking about the different things that can influence a person’s career choice. (For more information on the Admit Slip learning strategy go to the Let’s Talk Science website). Teachers could collect these prior to starting the topic to obtain a perspective of students’ current thinking. Alternatively, after they complete their Admit Slips, students could work in pairs to share their thinking before to engaging in the following activities. Teachers could close off this introduction by leading a whole class discussion on the factors that influence career choices. 

As an alternative to a whole class discussion, teachers could create a graffiti wall with poster papers having the following titles: Family, School, Personal Interest, Other. Students could use sticky notes to record things they feel influence peoples’ career choices (record one influence per note). Students will then place the sticky notes on the graffiti wall in the categories in which they feel the ideas belong. Teachers can use this to lead a discussion to explore the different things that influence career choices. Students could be asked to determine if one thing is more important than another. Or are they all equally important? Teachers could group similar post-its and determine which the class thinks is the most important.

In place of a graffiti wall, teachers could use the Silent Discussion/Graffiti learning strategy (refer to the Let’s Talk Science website for more detail). In this strategy, students are arranged in groups of four. Each member of the group starts with a sheet with one of the five headings (Family, School, Personal Interest, Other) and writes as many points relating to the heading as possible. After 60 seconds, the teacher instructs each student to pass their sheet to the person to their right. Each student reads the new sheet and adds any new points they can think of. After 60 seconds, the process repeats until each student has their original sheet back. 

After they have completed the class discussion or graffiti wall activity, teachers could arrange students in pairs or groups of three.  Students could use career profiles from the Let’s Talk Science website to explore the different processes each person went through along the path to their current career. The students could select the profiles, or the teacher can provide a list of profiles. Using the What are the career influences? Reproducible, the group can decide on which points to include in the table under each heading.

Alternatively, as a class, students could view the profiles and determine what influences were shared that led these people to their chosen career.

Sample Profiles:

After the groups have completed their Reproducibles, teachers could then lead a class discussion on which influences were common to the profiles and any trends that were observed. For example, which category seemed to have the most sticky notes/words? Why? Were there common influences on the people profiled? 

As an extension, students could conduct their own interviews with people who have careers that are of interest to them. As a class, or in small groups, students can discuss which questions would be appropriate to ask during the interview. The Career Influences Interview Questions Reproducible can be used to focus student thinking. The completed interviews may be presented in a format of the student's choice.

Details

Assessment
  • Teachers could review students’ completed BLMs to assess students’ understanding of career influences. Teachers could probe for clarification, offer suggestions for follow up, or provide feedback on the work students produce.
Assessment
  • Teachers could review students’ completed BLMs to assess students’ understanding of career influences. Teachers could probe for clarification, offer suggestions for follow up, or provide feedback on the work students produce.
Downloads
  • Career Influences Admit Slip Reproducible [Google Doc] [PDF]
  • What Influences Career Choices? Reproducible [Google Doc] [PDF]
  • Career Influences Interview Questions Reproducible [Google Doc] [PDF]
Downloads
  • Career Influences Admit Slip Reproducible [Google Doc] [PDF]
  • What Influences Career Choices? Reproducible [Google Doc] [PDF]
  • Career Influences Interview Questions Reproducible [Google Doc] [PDF]