Middle-Schoolers Need Context, Connection in Career Education

Article Tools
  • PrintPrinter-Friendly
  • EmailEmail Article
  • ReprintReprints
  • CommentsComments

To the Editor:

I read with interest "Career-Preparation Programs Take Root in Middle Schools" and agree completely with Jason A. Cascarino, the chief executive officer of the nonprofit Spark, who was quoted in the article. Cascarino argued that we need to meet middle school kids "where they are" as we offer them a sense of various career options.

Through the National Science Foundation-funded STEM Learning and Research Center, also known as STELAR—led by Education Development Center, where I work—my colleagues and I support projects around the country that focus on getting middle and high school students interested in careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

The projects implemented by the center are varied, and include, for example, using apparel design as a vehicle to introduce middle school girls to geometry, electronics, and thermal transfer. This teaches them about engineering careers through STEM learning. It's hands-on, collaborative, relevant—but it is also fun.

If there is one thing that we have learned in our work, it is that successful career-preparation programs for kids in this age group must focus on making connections between careers and real-world contexts and problems. The best programs build motivation and the ability to overcome the obstacles that these young people may face in the future.

Sarita Pillai
Senior Project Director
Pathways to College and Careers
Education Development Center
Waltham, Mass.

Vol. 35, Issue 02, Page 20

Published in Print: August 26, 2015, as Middle-Schoolers Need Context, Connection in Career Education
Related Stories
Notice: We recently upgraded our comments. (Learn more here.) If you are logged in as a subscriber or registered user and already have a Display Name on edweek.org, you can post comments. If you do not already have a Display Name, please create one here.
Ground Rules for Posting
We encourage lively debate, but please be respectful of others. Profanity and personal attacks are prohibited. By commenting, you are agreeing to abide by our user agreement.
All comments are public.

Back to Top Back to Top

Most Popular Stories