Implementation of “Jobs” (SOI-RO-324)

Author: Daniela Bunea, teacher of English as a Foreign Language

School/Organization: Colegiul National Gheorghe Lazar Sibiu, Romania

At the end of March, when clocks are ready to go forward for the start of summertime, some of us lament over the loss of a morning hour in bed. This year was not different for many of us. As the fatidic day approached, a question arose: but how did people get to work or school on time in the days before alarm clocks and smartphones? This sparked a storm in my head, connections were made, Europeana presented itself, and a fitting lesson was born.

Two Faces of the Same Coin

My name is Daniela Bunea, and I am a teacher of English as a Foreign Language and also a class teacher. On the 2nd day of summertime 2023 I chose to implement Olivera Ilic’s learning scenario entitled ‘Jobs’ with my 30 students aged 13 and 14 who had already worked with Europeana’s digital cultural heritage in previous tasks and during a few mini-projects before, in a Bring-Your-Own-Device learning environment. I have been confidently and constantly embedding career education in my English lessons, thus achieving a dreamy “twofer”; over the years, the various English projects implemented by my students and me have brilliantly assisted me in teaching them the ropes of effectively turning passion, hard work, skill, focus, and great ideas into successful careers and sustainable lifestyles in the future.

Adopt vs AdaptBuilding our students’ career development awareness and actively supporting them in taking the right pathway to work are actions that are extremely important nowadays. This implementation was thought to be “a link in the chain” for my current students (B1 level on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages, working towards B2); the lesson I chose to adopt was in the end adapted to fit my aims, and it now undoubtedly possesses the potential of becoming a momentous part of the array of resources I use in my English classroom to encourage my students to make informed decisions when it comes to their future careers while acknowledging their strengths, weaknesses, and relevant work-related skills.

Present-day Jobs

I followed the steps of the learning scenario as proposed by its author, but adjustments were necessary, and amendments were made, to suit my educational context. I started by sharing in Google Classroom the link to a Genially presentation that directed students to watch three short video clips (taken from two movies, A Few Good Men and Apollo 13, and one TV series, Grey’s Anatomy) which depicted various people at work. After listing many of the jobs they saw being performed, students considered them, and other present-day jobs – they discussed first in pairs, and afterwards with the whole class, and answered questions such as:

– Which do you think have the longest training, and which the shortest?

– Which would allow for a relaxed and interesting lifestyle? Which would not?

– Which would you say are ‘careers’ and which are ‘just a job’?

– Which are disappearing nowadays, or have already disappeared from the job market?

– Which could you choose for yourself in the future? Why?

– How optimistic are you when you think of the future and your work?

Peculiar Jobs in the Past

Making use of one thought-provoking photo in the intriguing Europeana article suggested as extra reading by the author of the learning scenario, I invited my students to look at four Europeana pictures posted in Google Classroom with their links, discover details about the peculiar jobs in the past that they see, and then attempt to describe the work and the workplace to a partner by taking turns:

1. Repainting the Eiffel Tower (1924)

All places need a bit of a spruce up now and then. At home, that means getting the vacuum cleaner out or going outside the house with a tin of paint and a ladder to repaint walls or fences. Imagine the task if the building you are trying to give a face-lift to is the Eiffel Tower in Paris!

2. A 19th century crossing sweeper

Crossing the street in the 19th century could be dirty and dangerous. City streets were dirty because horses were used as a method of transport, and they left a lot of horse manure behind. Crossing sweepers cleared the way for rich people to cross the road without dirtying their clothes.

3. A 19th century boardman

There were people who earned their living in the streets as walking commercials, carrying an advertisement “back and front” all day long.

4. A knocker-upper – first half of the 20th century

Mary Smith travelled through pre-dawn streets armed with a peashooter and a pocket watch, waking her clients up at whatever hour they had requested by plinking dried peas at their bedroom windows.

After a few pairs shared their findings with the whole class, I steered my students towards an Instagram post about Mary Smith, the famous knocker-upper, asked them to google her and invited some of them to share the weirdest pieces of information they found out about her.

What Does the Future Hold?

As in the original learning scenario, discussion followed. Working in groups, students made predictions about future jobs. There were five groups: Fun Jobs; Green Jobs; Work-Pay Balanced Jobs; Science-fiction Jobs; Not-to-do Jobs

A picture containing company name

Description automatically generated

They used the Internet, their imagination and a simple diagram maker from Canva, and they generated their lists, sorted their terms, and elaborated on at least one job by extending, expanding, or adding to their initial ideas.

A picture containing diagram

Description automatically generated


Description automatically generated


Description automatically generated

Graphical user interface

Description automatically generated

A picture containing chart

Description automatically generated

The mind maps were uploaded to the Google Classroom Stream, for everybody to see and reflect upon. Finally, an AnswerGarden was set up, which asked of them to submit their opinion on the following question: Which job would you choose for yourself in the future? 

Text, timeline

Description automatically generated

By answering the question, my students drove the lesson towards coming full circle.

Final Checkpoint

At the very end, my students reflected on the day’s learning by filling in a short assessment questionnaire about the lesson and about their performance. My reflective prompts were:

1.) Preferences: The most interesting thing about … was … I prefer to work by myself on activities that … I like working with others when …

2.) Learning style and strategies: If I can, I try to avoid activities that … I find it easiest to understand when … When I don’t understand something, I …

3.) Strengths: I’m getting much better at … One good question I asked (or thought of) during the lesson was … One of the things I do best is …

4.) Areas in need of improvement: I’m still not sure how to … I need to get help with … The part I found the most difficult was …

The Harvest of Ideas

One of the main learning outcomes achieved with the implementation of this learning scenario is the students’ response to digital artifacts in the first part of the lesson. Their responses have become more imaginative but at the same time more rational, with every new use of the Europeana site. Empathetically engaging with the digital artifacts has led them to interpret and analyse, and many of them have reached a certain level of figurative extrapolation and creative projection that allowed them, for instance, to think about ‘modern’ boardmen such as human billboards or human directionals, or to come up with questions such as ‘Who woke the knocker-upper?’, which resulted in a short discussion about the idea of accountability and oversight; this, in turn, unexpectedly kindled the ‘Who watches the watcher(s)?’ philosophical question – who monitors those in position of power and authority to prevent abuse or corruption? A good seed for a future lesson.

Learning Experiences Benefiting Trainees and TrainerMy set of thinking routines has become richer while implementing this learning scenario, with the interdisciplinary teamwork, the rubrics used to assess it, and the whole pedagogy of play operating in the classroom. The Generate-Sort-Elaborate routine (an adaptation of Generate-Sort-Connect-Elaborate thinking routine) used for the diagrams on future jobs is a superb way of organising one’s understanding of a topic through concept mapping. Microsoft’s 21 CLD Learning Activity Rubrics point out the paramount importance of multi-modal communication, shared responsibility, and revising work based on feedback. I have identified conditions for effective interdisciplinary teamwork, which I can use further on. The indicators for playful learning could be a good outline of the lesson – there was choice, there was wonder, there was delight. Additionally, as reflection is a process in learning, given extra time, the students could write a diary entry starting from this requirement: ‘Imagine that tomorrow is your first day at that future job. What are your feelings and expectations?’ I am confident their entries would feel like engagement, empowerment, ownership, and enjoyment, and the whole lesson would look like exploring, setting goals, imagining with perspectives, focusing attention, and succeeding.

Did you find this story of implementation interesting? Why don’t you read about the related learning scenario? Jobs (LS-RS-452) created by Olivera Illic

Did you find this story of implementation interesting? You might also like: 

Do you want to discover more stories of implementation? Click here.

Public Domain Mark 1.0: the featured image used to illustrate this article has been found on Europeana and has been provided by the Nationalmuseet Sweden.

Leave a Reply

Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial