9.2 Career Readiness and 9.4 Life Literacies and Key Skills
Standard 9.2 Career Awareness, Exploration, Preparation and Training and Standard 9.4 Life Literacies and Key Skills concurrently support the development of lifelong skills, behaviors and dispositions identified in exemplary students, employers/employees, community members and leaders.
Standard 9.2 develops career readiness, outlining the importance of being knowledgeable about one's interests and talents, and being well informed about postsecondary and career options.
Standard 9.4 highlights key literacies and technical skills that are critical for students to develop to live and work in an interconnected global economy.
These two standards are intended to be integrated together and within other disciplines to develop critical understandings, skills and literacies for postsecondary success.
Career Awareness and Planning
Career awareness and planning is focused on preparing all students for postsecondary success. This preparation involves students gaining awareness of and exposure to a wide array of careers. The development of employability skills and self-awareness is also essential, allowing students to form a potential occupational identity and position them to make more informed educational and occupational choices.
Creativity and Innovation
Creativity includes the use of a wide range of idea-creation techniques (such as brainstorming) to generate new and worthwhile ideas (both incremental and radical concepts). Additionally, within creativity, flexibility is evident through the elaboration, refinement, analysis and evaluation of ideas in order to maximize creative efforts. Originality and inventiveness in work may also be evident while understanding the real-world limits to adopting new ideas. Failure is viewed as an opportunity to learn and adapt as well as understand that creativity and innovation is a long-term, cyclical process of small successes and frequent mistakes.
Critical Thinking and Problem-Solving
The ability to solve problems effectively begins with gathering data, seeking resources, and applying critical thinking skills. An essential aspect of problem solving is being able to reflect on why possible solutions for solving problems were or were not successful and build a growth mindset. Collaboration with individuals with diverse experiences can aid in the problem-solving process, particularly for global issues where diverse solutions are needed.
Digital citizenship involves the development thoughtful, empathetic citizens who can wrestle with the important ethical questions at the intersection of technology and humanity. Model digital citizens focus on using technology to make communities better, engage respectfully online with others, and leverage technology to amplify voices and perspectives. They are careful to determine the validity of online sources of information and are always respectful of ideas different than their own.
Global and Cultural Awareness
To possess a cultural and global awareness is to fully understand that individuals are composed of complex cultural backgrounds, which are influenced by a multitude of factors. Armed with this crucial understanding, individuals can then better learn and work collaboratively with people from diverse cultures, religions and lifestyles in a spirit of mutual respect and open dialogue, whether in a personal, work, or community-based context. Such an awareness also stresses the importance of recognizing and understanding the rich histories and multitude of languages of other nations and cultures.
Information and Media Literacy
Information and Media Literacy empowers learners to access, retrieve and produce well managed resources. This access promotes and fosters inquiry learning as well as a deep understanding of target knowledge, skills or concepts. Information and Media Literacy is the vehicle for learners to pursue and create relevant information using the opportunities of high-quality materials. Information and media literacy also includes a basic understanding of ethical use of information.
Technologically literate students use, manage, evaluate, and understand multiple forms of technology. They are able to select the appropriate digital tools for gathering, organizing, analyzing, and presenting information. They leverage digital tools to communicate, to design and build, and to solve practical problems. Technology literacy expands beyond knowledge of computers, other digital tools and their applications; it includes a degree of knowledge about the nature, behavior, power and consequences of technology.
- Broadening the Path: Design Principles for Middle Grades CTE defines outcomes for student learning in the development of a middle grades career awareness program.
- Career Exploration in Middle School provides examples of career exploration delivery methods and recommendations to help teachers, counselors and administrators implement and improve these practices at the program, school and district levels.
- Comprehensive Career Development in Grades K-6 highlights elements of effective elementary career development programs. These elements can be used to design interdisciplinary curricula to help younger students determine self-awareness, personal interests and career aspirations.
- Junior Achievement of New Jersey (JA) is dedicated to educating young people about career awareness and development. JA offers in-school and after-school programs for students in grades K-12. JA programs focus on seven key content areas: business, citizenship, economics, entrepreneurship, ethics/character, financial literacy, and career development.
- Kids Work! offers an interactive site that allows upper elementary students to explore interesting jobs in a virtual community of workplace. They will have the opportunity to explore the history of a particular type of workplace, such as a hospital, using a timeline; meet real life professionals and learn about their jobs in that particular workplace; engage in activities that show how school work relates to real work; and explore real work places.
- The Early Years: Career Development for Young Children is a resource developed from a research study conducted through focus groups and surveys. Parents and educators were questioned about young children’s awareness of career development concepts and the findings, along with recommendations and additional resources, are provided.
What is the 5 credit 21st century life and careers graduation requirement?
N.J.A.C. 6A:8-5.1 requires that students complete five credits in 21st century life and careers or career and technical education, as follows:
(a) District boards of education shall develop, adopt, and implement local graduation requirements, for a State-endorsed diploma, that prepare students for success in post-secondary degree programs, careers, and civic life in the 21st century according to N.J.A.C. 6A:8-3.1(c)2 and that include the following:
Participation in a local program of study of not fewer than 120 credits in courses designed to meet all of the Core Curriculum Content Standards, including, but not limited to, the following credits:
x. At least five credits in 21st century life and careers, or career-technical education;
In what ways can students meet the 5 credit 21st century life and careers graduation requirement?
Districts may employ a variety of strategies to enable students to satisfy the five-credit graduation requirement for 21st Century Life and Careers or Career and Technical Education. The courses should be based on expectations from Standard 9 and allow students to explore their own interests and talents, become informed about postsecondary schooling and career options, and assist in the development of a postsecondary plan.
The following may satisfy the five-credit graduation requirement:
- Business Courses
- Career and Technical Education Courses
- Career Education Courses
- Cooperative Education Experiences
- Family and Consumer Sciences Courses
- Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps (JROTC) Courses
- Structured Learning Experiences/Cooperative Education Experiences
- Engineering/Technology Education/Industrial Arts Courses
Is Standard 9 only for Career and Technical Education (CTE) or vocational programs?
No. While 9.3 is focused on the concepts, skills and expectations for approved CTE programs, Standards 9.1, 9.2 and 9.4 are relevant and required for all students. These expectations should be taught or integrated into both academic and technical courses, as well as during career exploration activities and programs.
How can progress in Standards 9.2 and 9.4 be measured?
As many of the performance expectations featured in Standards 9.2 and 9.4 are skills, behaviors, dispositions and practices, it is important to remember there will be a continuum of learning. Students can demonstrate their understanding in a variety of ways, with a focus on a growth mindset. A variety of measurements can be used, including, but not limited to, the maintenance of a portfolio of student work related to the expectations.
Should Standards 9.2 and 9.4 be taught as separate, stand-alone courses?
Many of the skills, behaviors, dispositions and practices developed through Standards 9.2 and 9.4 can be seamlessly integrated into other content area courses in an interdisciplinary fashion. However, some districts and schools may choose to isolate the content into standalone courses. Those decisions are made at local levels, where educators can determine the most natural fit for the content within a larger curricular landscape.
Are there specific content areas better suited for Standard 9.2 and 9.4 integration?
Standards 9.2 and 9.4 support the development of lifelong skills, behaviors and dispositions that make a person a better student, worker, community member, and person. By integrating these expectations across all content areas and subject matter, students will get more chances to refine and improve on these skills and behaviors. Direct instruction, group projects and independent student work time all offer opportunities to highlight Standard 9.2 and 9.4 expectations without changing or taking anything away from the student learning objectives of other content areas.
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