Learning Through Internships – The New Educational Strategy to watch out for
- Mar 27, 2017
There have been many strategies in the recent past to make education more engaging and relevant to the students, but none has been more unique than Learning through Internships (LTI). This learning approach adopted by the Big Picture High School aims to engage students with projects and tasks and real professional world experience. Usually, the on job training placements paves the way for a student to follow a particular vocational track which usually guides them away from the college and high school studies.
The basic idea of LTI is to prepare every student for the future. This experience helps them builds their knowledge, develops skills and understand the functions of authentic work in their areas of interests. By expanding the educational system beyond the classrooms, students become more equipped to learn and take decisions themselves. Every teacher must understand and acknowledge the learning's a student acquires outside of the class.
Using LTI in Schools
Big Picture Learning Schools do not use LTI as an additional instruction material rather it is a full-fledged process adapted to enhance the experience of education of the students. It activates the level of curiosity and increases their engagement to have a more precise knowledge and conceptual idea about the modern workplace environment and its competitiveness. It develops skills such as collaboration and creative thinking which are increasing in demand in the corporate world.
The Benefits of LTI
Provides an opportunity to collaborate with professional adults
Learning through Internships requires students to work in close collaboration with their mentor and with the other employees of the organization. Such a collaborative work builds the students ability to follow the different point of views which ultimately leads them to refine their social-emotional intelligence. It creates a triangular relationship between the Educator, Student, and Mentor.
Students learn to value and appreciate the opinions of others even if they have a different viewpoint. Learning to manage conflicting thoughts can be a valuable skill in life or professional places.
Provides a set of goals and the ownership of the work to the students
When the LTI experience starts, students are not given a clear identified product or area in which they are supposed to work. Rather they are given a period of time, generally a few weeks, to evaluate and assess the responsibilities and tasks of all the workers. Students through their observation create a set of potential areas where they can provide assistance. In the meantime, the chosen mentor or supervisor creates a set of possible projects in which the student can be of help. The role of the teacher is to combine both the mentor and the student's preferences and facilitate a conversation between the two. At the end of the discussion, the project on which the child will work on is identified. An LTI experience provides a set of goals which will be of benefit to the organization and increases the student's ownership over their work.
It promotes curiosity and interest exploration
LTI doesn't assign the student any particular internship. A proper identification over a period of time is made to explore the areas of interest of the child. Students are more encouraged to learn about the field on which they are more engaged in.
LTI broadens the primal interest on a subject into a bigger picture. They are not myopically engaged in a particular area. The educator's role is to continuously stretch their focus and create a broad range of opportunity for them.
LTI is not limited to only providing skills, unlike other educational strategies. It provides SEL along with the development of social capital. It does not focus only on developing relevant skills, having LTI experience makes students become "work-ready" through constant field learning and providing valuable insights to business. It also encourages them to build connections, improving their mindset and workplace communication skills. Schools should follow Big Pictures approach and start providing LTI to their students.
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