Hands-on learning an effective tool
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This article was published 13/05/2019 (1361 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Hands-on learning is a vital component of the experience at the Maples and Seven Oaks Met Schools.
On May 6, the Met Schools held a Community Needs Internship Fair at the Seven Oaks School Division’s Adult learning centre, that was focused on non-profit organizations. Main Street Project, Career Trek, Heritage Winnipeg, and Diabetes Canada are a few non-profit organizations that sent their recruiters to meet with the schools’ Grade 10 and 11 students.
From Grades 9 to 12, students spend Tuesdays and Thursdays on internships, as part of the Met Schools’ project-based learning model. Maribeth Tabanera, co-ordinator of Learning Through Internships, said this event helps connect organizations to students. Each organization is invited based on the students’ interests.
“This is never about trying to push kids into a project or internship because they should be investing themselves first and foremost,” Tabanera said. “For students to have the opportunity to connect with our community and work on projects that are of interest to them while connected to the real world provides the type of learning that is really authentic and gets students to think outside the box.”
Met School students are developing their skills in the real-world while they are still in high school. Through the internships, students gain skills they will use in the future. They spend time networking with people they’ll potentially work with and for, and sometimes even attend special events such as conferences and meetings.
Herlinda Dalayoan, who is in Grade 10, said she is looking for artistic opportunities. During the internship fair, she spent time with recruiters from Screen Manitoba and Graffiti Art Programming Inc.
She said she is hoping to work with a mentor that will help her discover her artistic style and teach her how she can use her skills to create something of her own.
“(The internship) exposes me to things that are beyond my reach. I can always go on YouTube to look up how to draw but to actually work with someone that knows how to draw, that knows more than I could ever imagine, is so mind-blowing that I could simply talk one-on-one with them and they can teach me everything they know,” she said. “With having these internships and working with people that are in the industry, that know the ins and outs of what’s going on, I can then figure out where I will be in five years and how I can make my art into something that is real and not just an idea.”
But the benefits go beyond the student body. Matthew Benger, special projects co-ordinator with Career Trek was at the fair looking for a student with interests in marketing and communication to help them create an online archive, and another student to assist their program manager.
He said the benefits go both ways. While employers get the opportunity to work with young people who are coming in enthusiastic and eager to learn, students also have the chance to explore the career options that are out there.
Benger also added some of the skills they look for in the students include excellent communication skills, flexibility, and adaptability, all skills he found in the dozens of students he spoke to.
“They were all great communicators and had such an enthusiasm that was great to see in Grade 10 and 11 students. They have great ideas and great projects that they’ve been working on.”
At the end of their work placement, the students evaluate their experience. Tabanera added the internships have proved to be a successful tool for the students’ learning experience.
“Internships and mentorships are how we’ve been learning through all of the history of humanity. Before there was formal education, we had mentors teaching us how to develop fire,” she said.