November is career month in Canada. As part of the month’s designation, Canadians are invited to reflect on the importance of career development and the ability to access meaningful work.
“It’s November, (and) it’s career month, so we are celebrating careers in agriculture and trying to… invite teachers and counsellors to get in touch with us if they have any other questions, ideas, or want to share any information with us,” said Sara Shymko, the executive director of Agriculture in the Classroom Sask.
Agriculture in the Classroom Sask. has recently launched its ‘Kareero’ app, which helps young students explore career paths in the agriculture industry based on personality traits and through learning about their own task-specific strengths after building a simulated school garden.
The Kareero app also works as a steppingstone to a more advanced program offered by the organization.
“‘Career Case’ is like a game that takes about 45 minutes to play in the classroom,” Shymko said. To play the game, students are broken into different teams which represent separate communities.
“Each community is then given up to 25 career cards that will fit into the interest areas they’ve identified… and (students) are presented with scenarios, or cases, such as: China doesn’t want to buy Canadian canola anymore because of the detention of a high-level executive. Which of the four careers are needed to help solve this problem?”
“Students have to look at their different careers and try to figure out which careers are needed to solve these real-world important issues,” she explained.
“As one teacher told me, you can really see the kids switch into their higher-level thinking as they’re trying to figure out which careers (and) who is needed to help solve these problems.”
“What the students learn through the course of about four or five different cases is that agriculture is interwoven into so many big issues that are in the world today, and there is so many different types of careers that are involved in solving these issues and taking things further in agriculture,” said Shymko.
Students may realize the importance of being an engineer through the game, or that you can be an architect and still work in the agricultural industry, for instance.
“So, it’s sort of a backward approach to carer exploration,” she explained. “Instead of starting with the careers, we start with the situation and then the students identify the careers for that.”
According to Shymko, the game has proven to be popular among both teachers and students.
“Classes can either request a classroom presentation where we facilitate the game with them, or the teachers can order the kit on their own and lead the students through the game (themselves),” said Shymko.
A guest speaker from Agriculture in the Classroom Sask. will come to the classroom to do their presentation, and then the kits are left in the classroom after the presentation. The game can then be played after the presenter has established the background context and gameplay rules.
“Often the teachers want to see it done the first time before they feel comfortable leading it through themselves, particularly if they don’t have a strong background (in agriculture),” noted Shymko.
There is no deadline to apply for the kits, as the program is part of an ongoing effort to help promote careers in the industry.
“We have quite a few (of the kits) in stock to be able to send out. The classroom presentations, on the other hand, we have limited availability for those. So, if you are a teacher… and want to get a classroom presentation for Career Case, I would encourage you to book your presentation now,” said Shymko.
The presentation and affiliated kits are available in both official languages and are provided free of cost thanks to the support of Agriculture in the Classroom Sask.’s funders and individual donors.
The ideal grade range is Grades 7 to 12, and all schools across the province can apply at any time.
To book a classroom presentation, teachers can easily access the registration form on Agriculture in the Classroom Sask.’s website, aitc.sk.ca.
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