The explicit promise of making students ‘career ready’ is now a hallmark of most U.S. educational institutions, with different models of career readiness programs employed across institutions, disciplines, and sub-fields. At the same time, against the backdrop of a global pandemic and political upheaval, and given an ongoing societal crisis precipitated by economic, gender, and racial injustices, a number of critical questions emerge. These questions range from the basic (e.g., what is career readiness, why is it important now, and how can it support learning goals?) to the more complex (e.g., who does career readiness benefit, and how do career readiness programs support cycles of inequality or work to break them?). This workshop will provide attendees with an understanding of the basics of career readiness and its applications in the field of second and foreign language teaching, will address crucial questions for language teaching and learning generated by current career readiness frameworks and practices, and will outline a critical, disciplinary-grounded approach for moving forward. The workshop will also present examples of how this approach is being applied to a multi-section intermediate level Spanish course, propose best practices, and highlight areas for continued research in the field. The interactive format includes whole group presentation segments, individual reflection moments, and multiple opportunities for small group discussion.
After this workshop, you will be able to:
- describe the main elements of career readiness programs and problematize their use in the second language classroom;
- connect career readiness competencies and tools to learning objectives related to social and economic justice and language learning;
- begin to design a small scale integration of career readiness in a course you teach.
Presenter: Sara Mack, Ph.D., is Senior Lecturer and Coordinator in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese Studies and a 2020-21 College of Liberal Arts Career Readiness Initiative Faculty Engagement Specialist at the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities. Her research interests include equity and access in higher education, metacognitive regulatory processes in classroom-based learning, sociophonetics, and learning and memory.
Target audience: This workshop is designed for language educators at the high school and postsecondary level.