School counsellors play a key role in shaping their students' perspective on careers and their post-secondary path. Grade 10 careers teacher Stasia Siscoe wanted to help her students explore new, meaningful possibilities. To do this, Stasia used the digital Challenge Cards to engage with her tight knit group of nine students at MacLachlan College.
The years a student spends in high school are crucial to their development. During these years, a student will undertake experiences that shape their interests and values. At the end of their journey, they choose a post-secondary path. When making this decision, students are often more vulnerable to the ‘job title’ mindset, where they feel restricted to choosing one job they will remain in for the rest of their lives. This decision is often associated with high levels of pressure, stress and anxiety.
One way counsellors and career educators can help expand students' knowledge on the different opportunities available around them is with the digital Challenge Cards. The Challenge Cards are a career exploration tool that help students see the challenges they could work on, not the job titles they should fit into.
Before the exercise, Ms Siscoe asked students to complete meaningful pre-reflection and post-reflection questions. This helped her students look beyond job titles, to focus the different challenges and opportunities society needs to solve. The goal was to expand students' perspectives on careers, the future of work and shape their decision-making process.
After the card sort, we measured the impact of the Challenge Cards through a reflective questionnaire. Students reported the following results:
- Students were 2x more likely to have ideas for their career.
- Students were over 2x more likely to ‘feel inspired by what they can accomplish’.
- Students were 1.5x more likely to ‘look forward to their career’.
- Students were over 2x more likely to ‘understand how their interest, skills and strengths connect with potential future careers’.
% of students who answered "Agree" or "Strongly Agree" before and after the Challenge Cards (n=9)
After completing the Challenge Program, students shared that the activity helped open their eyes to the different possibilities by showing them additional paths they could consider. The written feedback showcased that students reflected more deeply on the alignment between their personal characteristics and potential career pathways. Here’s what the students shared:
“This program helped me discover my values, strengths and interest types to find the problems that I was passionate about. With these problems, I was able to discover careers that sparked interest in me while that can help make a difference in the world.”
“This program helped me learn some criteria about my career choice. For example, it taught the principles of choosing a career to the problems that you want to solve.”
“[The Challenge Cards] opened my eyes and broadened the careers that I’d likely be interested in for the future. I only knew a hand full of job titles and options I wanted to take with my life. However, it opened my eyes to careers in engineering that I didn’t know I would consider until now.”
We are grateful for educators like Stasia, who are committed to helping their students explore new resources and ways of thinking. Would you like to engage your students in a more meaningful approach to career exploration? If so, contact firstname.lastname@example.org to get started.