Bringing the Real-World into the Classroom—Enhancing the Future Workforce

Posted by Tahlea Jankoski on February 15, 2017




Goodbye long lectures, classroom busy work, and glazed over eyes. Today's teachers are helping students become more engaged with a progressive take on the learning process.

 Educators have now started to use a blend of both the academic curriculum and real-world experiences to help motivate students to learn and develop skills that prepare them for their future professions.  Community projects, internship opportunities, and other activities are helping educators prepare students for the workforce.

Blending academics and real-world experiences for the future

As teachers apply dynamic situations and real-world experiences to the classroom curriculum, they are assisting  students develop critical thinking, analytical, and problem-solving skills that will carry them into the future. 

Ben Thomas, a learning and digital pedagogy coordinator, told Google Education, "It's about making your classroom a place they (students) want to be. You can see the level of engagement increase when we talk about real-world stories."

Teachers are blending real-world experiences with academic subjects in a variety of ways, including the following:

Teach through storytelling

Share relevant real-life moments with students. Offer personal experiences about specific academic concepts to help students apply the curriculum. For example, if you're teaching concepts that help students learn how to budget and avoid spending beyond their means, share real-world examples of how you track your finances.

Integrate real-world research and data

Research is part of many career choices in the workforce. Integrating research into the classroom can motivate students to study areas of interests more in depth. For example, if you are teaching a geography lesson, have the students plan a trip to the country you are studying. Students can also plan a fundraiser and incorporate financial and business skills by tracking expenses and organizing the event.

Invite a guest speaker

Ask a guest speaker to come to your class and explain how a specific classroom subject is connected to their profession. This can help ignite a student's interest in the profession and help them see how learning the curriculum relates to the specific career path. 

Let students be the expert

Students can explore a subject that interests them and create a presentation to share with the class or a group of students. You can even have students discover connections between the current lesson and a professional interest and watch as they become the expert in explaining how the subject relates to a particular job. 

Implement real-world assignments

While research papers and essays are important assignments for critical thinking and writing skills, you can also mix real-world assignments, such as writing a business letter, business plan, or marketing strategy. Students will strengthen their research and writing skills while learning real-world skills for the workforce.

Get outside the classroom

Field trips and community opportunities are a great way for students to connect curriculum to real-world experiences. This may include helping students work on a community service project, visit a company that offers tours of the business, or visit a historical site. Understanding the current topic of study is enhanced when students have an opportunity to get outside of the classroom. 

Blending works to prepare students for the future

Students get excited to learn when they are involved with authentic, real-world experiences that help them develop skills for the future. In addition, widespread technology has made learning opportunities easily available for students. Teachers can help students seek out relevant information that is useful to the world outside of the classroom.

The future workforce will require critical thinking, creativity, and problem-solving skills that develop first in the classroom. By inviting more real-world experiences into the classroom through guest speakers, connecting curriculum to professional interests, and allowing students to explore and share what they learn, many students will be better prepared for their future. 

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