Performance Simulations address Common Core Listening and Speaking Standards
Common Core's English Language Arts Standards for Speaking and Listening for Grades 11-12 endorses the "Presentation of knowledge and ideas... adapting speech to a variety of contexts and tasks". What better way for students to develop this ability than with performance simulations?
In my experience, informational interviews engage young people in what should be recognized as an American rite of passage: personal assessment and career research, engaging social media, leading to face to face interviews with professionals in a field or job under consideration, followed by reflection and decision-making, followed by more interviews, followed by internships. What I observed in students who completed their career research project was enthusiasm about what they learn, informed decisions and greater ownership of their career, particularly when their informational interviews were enlightening. The Problem: Anticipating a stressful experience, too few students perform these interviews unless they are required, as they were in the courses I taught. Unfortunately, for students who did them, the interviews were sometimes less effective than they could have been. Even with written guidelines and video examples, interviewing strangers can be fraught with anxiety, particularly for shy or introverted students and it can seem an intrusive or disrespectful assignment to students from different cultures. And without a referral of some sort students sometimes interviewed people who were available but who were not representative of the work under investigation.
The Proposed Solution: I want to offer a way for students to prepare for their informational interviews at the moment of need, by providing opportunities to practice what they want to say - out loud, in a private, on-line simulation; representing a resource for counselors working with students needing preparation beyond what the career center can provide in person or on the career center Website. As career center budgets are cut, the sims could become a valuable tool for counselors and students who wish to review and critique effective and ineffective responses to career research and job search situtations. If they are done with humor and are seen as a light-hearted depiction of the serious world they inhabit, the sims could draw students to the career center.
The Research Hypothesis: When students (especially shy, introverted or culturally reluctant students) practice speaking aloud in video simulations about their career assessment results and respond aloud to situations they are likely to encounter in seeking, conducting and following-up on informational interviews, they will engage in more actual interviews and attend more networking events. In addition, edited video from the sims will enhance eportfolios, LinkedIn Profiles and VisualCV Portfolios.