Student Learning & How to Relate Courses to Job Tasks
How Our Students Learn and How Can Supervisors Help Relate Coursework to Job Tasks
Transition students typically learn best when taught in a concrete manner with tasks broken down into specific, small steps. This is similar to the manner in which students learn best in a classroom setting. On the job supervisors will find that our students respond best to specific instructions which are presented:
- One at a time,
- In conjunction with a demonstration of the task, and
- More than once.
It is also recommended that a supervisor discuss a particular student’s "learning style" with the Transition Program Internship Coordinator. Our students, as with anyone else learning a task, have different styles in which information is received and processed: visually, auditory, tactually (hands on), or combinations of these. Discussing a student’s learning style will assist a supervisor in identifying the best method to approach teaching a new task. The Internship Coordinator can also assist supervisors by sharing specific strategies and techniques that have proven successful with the student in the classroom. The strategies and techniques can then be utilized on the job.
In this manual we have provided an entire section of effective strategies. Refer to: WHAT TO EXPECTAND WHAT STRATEGIES CAN BE USED TO FOSTER SUCCESS. Examples of strategies which have been utilized successfully at job sites are:
- Helping the student feel comfortable saying, “I don’t understand could you please show me again.”
- Teaching students to repeat back the directions aloud to make sure they understand.
- Telephone/personal messages may be difficult due to a student’s poor spelling. Teaching a student to ask people to repeat the spelling of a name or word and then have them spell it back.
- Learning to write down directions to a task to refresh their memory and clarify instructions.
- Drawing a map of where to go for orientation, this may apply to students delivering mail.
- Using an electronic speller or spell check on the computer.
It has been the experience of the faculty working with Transition students that oftentimes our students have a difficulty transferring the material presented in the classroom to the job setting. They may require some assistance: "making the connection” from what they learned in school to what should be done at work. When appropriate and feasible, the supervisor is encouraged to engage the student in a discussion of his/her coursework (particularly the courses that relate to their duties, e.g.: Applied Office Practices or Business Support Skills). The supervisor can attempt to use actual work tasks to relate the skill required to what the student learned in the classroom. For Example:
- When a student is performing a proofreading task, it is helpful to explain the importance of accuracy and the ramifications of errors. Explain that the proofreading task is similar to the exercises done in school. In school, assignments with errors will be handed back to be redone or marked with a poor grade. In the workplace, if the work is not done properly, it will cost the company time and money because the project will need to be redone.
- When a student is asked to weigh mail and attach correct postage, it should be explained what will happen if the correct postage is not attached (for example, mail returned, causing delays and possibly additional costs to re-send mail at overnight rates.)
The primary concept for students to understand is that their job is important, and that if they are inaccurate it impacts many other people in the company. However, when the job is done well, they are providing considerable help to the company, their supervisor and their co-workers.