Case Study: The ‘Cherry Picking’ Flexibility of the Ponder Program

Careers Advisor Terence Priester talks with Rob Sattler from Study Work Grow about using the Ponder Program & Career Clusters at Newington College

School: Newington College [NSW, Independent School]

Educator: Terence Priester (Head of Careers and English Teacher)

Context: Careers Program runs primarily across Years 10, 11, and 12, comprising 750 of their 1,500 students, with over 90-95% of students choosing a university pathway post-school, with the remaining students choosing a TAFE/VET pathway.

“There’s always something in Ponder I can just (deliver) to the boys in real time”

Careers Advisor Terence Priester comprehensively uses Study Work Grow resources to support his careers program at school, and in this wide-ranging case study, he talks about our traditional Australian resources (Job Spotlights/Print & Digital Posters/Guides), as well as his use of the Ponder Program and Career Clusters.

Ponder Program [03:30]

Like many of our member schools, Terence uses the Ponder Program lessons and materials in his practice by ‘cherry picking’ from the program to suit his lessons with students. But he often found that when faced with an ad-hoc teaching situation at school where he has been called upon to deliver a lesson, he could pull up content as needed. Terence said he loves the fact that there’s “such a richness of materials” that he can choose from when needed, “it has been a real lifesaver in that sense”.

He also mentioned how he initially didn’t realise just how comprehensive the resources were, and that he wishes “I’d spent more time exploring them in January”. That’s because Newington College has an existing careers curriculum in place, but with time, he intends to more thoroughly integrate the content with their existing curriculum. “After seeing what other colleagues are doing at other schools, the Ponder Program can slide into just about anyone’s curriculum that they’re delivering”.

“If you spend the time, it’s really worth it”

Career Clusters [07:00]

At Newington College, students in Year 10 complete comprehensive career profiling, so Terence saw an opportunity to use the Career Clusters in Year 11 to complement the traditional careers profiling done in Year 10.

“I often pose the question to the [Year 11] students of what have you done in terms of research and exploration from what you learned in the careers profile we did in Year 10?”

Terence said that usually, only just a few hands will ‘go up’ to answer this. This is when he says “That’s ok, because I’m going to show you a new way of looking at how you fit into the world of work” and shows them the Career Clusters resources & student quiz.

He found that in practice, the Career Clusters “helps to ‘shatter’ the biases that students have about careers”, breaking down preconceived notions and helping students to think more widely – especially when they know their career cluster(s) and can apply that knowledge in practical situations like careers expos.

Terence also said that he’s been getting a ‘spike in bookings’ from Year 11 students after doing the cluster quiz, whereas normally he wouldn’t get to see these students until they’re well into Year 12 and needing to make big decisions about their future. Which is exactly the result that the Career Clusters is intended to produce.

Key Takeaways

  • Take the time to explore – there are lots of resources in Ponder that can be used in a myriad of ways and settings
  • The Ponder content is flexible and can fit into any existing career education curriculum
  • Ponder is helpful for filling in ad-hoc lessons, as content can just be ‘cherry-picked’ to suit the cohort, time, and situation
  • The Career Clusters has been a helpful tool in getting older students in Year 11 to reframe how they think about careers
  • The Career Clusters lessons shattered biases that the students have had, and reinforced with lessons from the Ponder Program about bias.
  • Year 11 students are coming to him for career consultations now, rather than waiting until Year 12.

Thank you to Terence for taking the time to talk with us about his practice at Newington College and we appreciate his support of our programs.

If you would like to learn more about the programs Terence implemented to support his careers program, check out Essentials here.

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