One challenge faced by many secondary school instructors is making a subject meaningful to students. This can be especially difficult in courses like English and Media Studies. How do you make the content relevant to students? This challenge is more easily met when the credit is part of a set of credits that are all inter-connected in a co-operative education model.
As part of a set of credits for a co-operative education Construction Technology course, I set up an English Business Technology ( EBT4 O ) credit. This involved taking existing Independent Study lessons and adapting them to the content of the students’ construction technology classes. By staying with content and vocabulary that the students were familiar, I could have them develop and demonstrate specific communication skills related to business technology and media literacy.
For example, the students were required to demonstrate their skill at preparing a five-slide presentation, using presentation software ( Word Perfect Presentations, Power Point, or Open Office Impress). The target audience, content, and purpose are clearly set out and fit the overall content of Construction Technology.
- Intended Target Audience of this presentation: students in the Co-op Construction Class
- Purpose & Content of this presentation: inform students about construction materials ( Steel, Wood, or Aluminum). Information and useful links were set up in advance.
The range of abilities of the students in this course is quite wide. Some students have learning issues / limited print-literacy skills, while others are achieving at college bound level.
The slide-show assignment allowed all the students to:
- acquire digital-print communication skills,
- use research skills,
- demonstrate their subject knowledge.
Goals I had set out to meet in re-designing the EBT4O lessons
Provide lessons that:
- could be done independently and fit into a flexible co-op schedule. ( In class time was adjusted as weather conditions dictated. This modified the number and type of projects that were available over the semester.)
- had content that either re-enforced knowledge and skills acquired in their other construction classes or expanded that knowledge
- expanded and enhanced their Business Technology communication skills
- let the students use those communication skills to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of Construction Technology
- increased students’ overall Media Literacy Knowledge & Skills
The major assignment involved photography. The students would use communication skills to demonstrate their knowledge and analytical skills in regards to building construction and the codes and conventions of photographic composition.
Building on the students’ previous experience with slide-show software and report composition, it introduced Media Literacy knowledge and skills and connected them to Construction Technology.
- There are codes and conventions to both Building Construction and to Photographic Composition.
- Photography is used in the construction industry to keep track of work and the construction process.
- A professional contractor will use photography to help sell their work and communicate to clients.
Other forms of media communication that students would be familiar and could relate to Building Construction are:
- Report Writing
- Informational Posters
- Magazine Articles
The results of this modification to the Construction Technology Co-operative credits:
- students’ overall success improved
- the pressure of completing the fourth credit diminished