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Work-Based Learning

Article Date: 
22 October, 2010 - 06:00

“Tell me and I’ll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I’ll understand.” Chinese Proverb
Often when a teacher tells students about a new concept, the student has a hard time remembering what they heard.  When a teacher explains the new concept and demonstrates the concept, there is a greater probability that the concept will stick with the student.  When the teacher gives the student an opportunity to do hands-on projects and involves them in the learning process, the student will have a greater understanding and remembrance of the new concept.
Work-Based Learning (WBL) is a program that tells the students, shows the students, and gets the students involved in the learning process.  It is a program that aims to expand the classroom to the community to develop valuable learning relationships for students.  WBL narrows the gap between instruction and the workplace by creating meaning for the students.  
Morgan School District offers a variety of WBL activities and programs.  Work-Based activities are offered to students in every grade; however,there are specific grade-level programs we implement.  
The high school has a variety of programs that students can participate, including Internships, Career Fairs, and Reality Town.  Through the Internship program, the students are placed in an internship where they are able to experience first-hand what would be expected of them in that specific career.  Along with their work experience, students complete a portfolio that includes work-related documents such as résumés, cover letters, job applications, and projects to help develop critical work place skills.  
Another facet of WBL is the career fair.  The high school holds a Career Fair every year in the spring where community members share their knowledge and expertise with the students.  In this setting students can learn about multiple careers and learn from people they know and recognize in the community.  
A third Work-Base Learning activity at the high school is Reality Town offered to sophomores each December.  This experience gives them a taste of real-life budgeting skills that are necessary to maintain a household.  They will be given the opportunity to select a career based on their GPA and then they must set up a budget and run a household.  At the end they evaluate what they did and how well they succeeded or failed in the attempt.  The experience is intended to teach them real-life skills and give them a glimpse of what is in their future after they leave high school.  
Exploration is key during the middle school years.  In the middle school through the seventh grade Career and Technical Education Introduction course, the students participate in six WBL activities throughout the year, including tours of Holcim, Energy Solutions Arena, Sweet’s Candy Factory, and the Salt Palace, where they hear from a variety of guest speakers.  
Activities in the elementary school are based on awareness.  Each elementary school holds a Career Tool Day in the spring.  Parents and members of the community are invited to bring in machinery and equipment to display in the schoolyard.  Students will have the opportunity to interact with the community members and see how the tools are used in various careers.
This sampling of the many Work-Based Learning activities, occurring within our district, help improve scholastic motivation by creating connections between the classroom, the world of work, and future career opportunities.  Students are able to apply the things they are learning and are prepared to make better decisions and plans.  Students are exposed to positive adult role models outside of the classroom who can help them in their journey to a career and help them understand workplace expectations.  Our goal is that students have the opportunity to learn about the world of work and related skills that will help them be better prepared to enter the workforce upon graduation.  
For more information about Work Based Learning or to volunteer to help with any of the many WBL activities presented at Morgan Schools, contact Emily Kunz at Morgan High School 801-829-3418.