As A Teacher, How Can You Integrate Modules To Elevate the Profile of Employability Skills and Elements To the Students?
Online Session 3—Teaching and learning for employability: knowledge is not the only outcome
As a teacher, how can you integrate modules to elevate the profile of employability skills and elements to the students?
Introduction: There has been the tendency to teach and learn as if knowledge was the only outcome for higher education; and not so much for employability. This status quo is not acceptable especially for our higher learning and has contributed to the high graduate unemployment in my country Ghana. Pedagogically, andragogy approaches and work oriented functional literacy must help! I would like to review some (i) working definitions, (ii) students’ characteristics, and (iii) the employability integration.
- Working definitions
- Employability: may refer to one's ability to gain initial employment, and maintain progressiveness of employment. In simple terms, employability is about being capable of getting and sustaining the capacity for fulfilling work.
- Employability skills and elements: may also be described "as having a set of skills, knowledge, understanding and personal attributes that make a person more likely to choose and secure occupations in which they can be satisfied and successful" (Dacre Pool & Sewell, 2007). One may observe that employers want those (graduates) with relevant subject skills, knowledge and understanding. In addition, those who make the mark are well-rounded individuals who possess a set of personal and general life skills that equip them to adapt well, learn new and specific skills of the job and participate and contribute in a valuable way in their organisation.
- Modules: include the following components of specialist ‘careers’ modules, research-led module assignments, module descriptors, ubiquitous ‘research skills’ in a module or session descriptor, learning outcomes of dissertation and project modules, skills modules, discipline-specific modules, standalone modules, specialist module, and ‘careers modules’. The module is an elective or options for some students depending on their program options.
- My students’ characteristics
- Undergraduate students (BA):
- They are undergoing their initial professional or pre-employment training.
- Teaching Social Work, 1st year (up to 500 students), 2nd year (up to 300 students), 3rd year (40-50 students), and 4th year 35-50 students).
- Courses are SOWK 157: Introduction to Social Welfare, SOWK 260: Social Welfare Policy and Programs in Ghana, SOWK 369: International Social Work, SOWK 477: Social Work Technology I, SOWK 478: Social Work Technology II.
- Supervision: SOWK 390 Practicum for 3rd year students, SOWK 490 long essay (Project work) for final/4th year students finalize their Project work to conceptualize, cultivate and concretize their employability.
- Students may be Social Work major, Sociology major, Economics major, French major, English Major, Akan major, Geography and Rural Development major, political studies, religious studies major, 35.97-41.54% of them are Social Work major for the past 5years.
- At the undergraduate level less than 0.001 of my students are workers or are working and schooling.
- Graduate students (MPhil, MSc, CEMBA/CEMPA):
- Undergoing their continuous professional development
- Teaching CEMBA 570: Research Methodology, MLSC 560: Research Methods,
- Thesis Supervision: CEMBA 572: Thesis Project
- At the graduate level however, almost all my students are working and schooling at the Institute of Distance Learning.
- Employability integration in the modules
I am responsible for the design, development and deployment course modules based on course curriculum, Institutional Graduate Profile (IGP) and Program Qualification Profile (PQP). I have a challenge when integrating it for 1st year students in undergraduate cohorts. I have not been particular in the case studies!
As a university teacher especially I am in my facilitation, coaching, guiding, and leading to the effect mentoring, motivating, monitoring my class’s learning process and learner progress. And It is my task to integrate all modules to raise profile of employability skills and attributes to all students. Figure 1 illustrates the process.
This is how I can integrate modules to raise profile of employability skills and attributes to the students.
It is not unusual to find in my class to find clever a student who may have done very well in their pre-university education but not had the opportunity to consider the fact that Is learning an end in itself or a means to an end? Is employability the end of learning? How are Student Centred learning (SCL) approaches to innovation, entrepreneurship and sustainability in higher education designed developed and deployed to achieve employability?
This is our task for securing appropriated curricula that will be efficient and effective to use in our African universities! Though they may have a career or profession in mind and selected the prerequisite subject knowledge arears, have reckoned it more important to learn for knowledge and no be employable through acquiring soft skills or employability skills and attributes.
- Before lecture (SCL teaching)
- Identify all the modules to raise profile of employability skills and attributes
- Program options of students that have registered for the specific course
- Map linkages for employability skills and attributes
- During SCL teaching
- Make students feel they are in the right program and course and class
- introduce course description and course policy to highlight employability skills and attributed embedded in modules.
- Explain and explore the profile of employability skills and attributes in IGP and PQP
- Integrate employability skills and attributes in the Intended Course Objectives and specific Objectives in lesson plan
- Provide a rubric (mark/marking scheme) for demonstration of employability skills and attributes in both Continuous Assessment and End of Semester Exams, group presentations, opportunities to include research-led module assignments for assessment.
- To make employability linkage (job application, interviews, recruitment and Resume writing) clear to students, and to expand their employability vocabulary, it is suggested that the skills and competency terms and synonyms employers use should also be used in module descriptors and outcomes.
- After teaching
- Students assigned to Learning track activities group work, review questions, discussion questions, to enhance deep learning
- Test for students’ demonstration of employability skills and attributes in evaluation exercises (self-assessment quizzes, Assignments)
- Provide formative and summative feedback for students’ assignments
- inspected and scored demonstration of employability skills and attributes in written and oral exams
- provide ESA testimonial and certification of competence to employer
The above show how I can integrate modules to raise profile of employability skills and attributes to the students. working definitions, students’ characteristics, and the employability integration above have been used in showing how I can integrate modules to raise profile of employability skills and attributes to the students. Also I personally found the reading material (Chapter 8) for this assignment very helpful in throwing clear light on the Concept of Employability, Employability and Social Work education and profession, Developing Conscious Awareness of Skills and Attributes, Teaching and Learning Opportunities, Work Placements, Linking Employability to Your Teaching. I do this to some extent for all student but need to do it not only for my year 4 course, and graduate courses or practicum, and project or thesis.
In concluding, reflective question Q1 has helped me review the challenges of employability integration, and opportunities wide open to me to explore and exploit Teaching and learning for employability. In deed knowledge is not the only outcome!
Learner: Albert Amoah Saah, KNUST Ghana
Facilitator: Prof. Gunaratna Kuttuva Rajarao, KTH Sweden