Authentic Workplace Materials
“Making the transition to the work world is a critical step in human development because it heralds an entrance into independent adulthood.”
Dr. Arlyn Roffman, Professor of Special Education, Lesley College, Cambridge Massachusetts
The flagship products of the Essential Skills site are the Essential Skills Profiles and Authentic Workplace Materials links. These pages are key resources, providing convenient, detailed information and instruction for implementing ES guidelines and strategies. In recent years, a significant amount of ES curriculum has been developed, so while the ES website sets the standard, it is no longer the only source for authentic workplace or ES learning materials. These other sources will be indentified later in this module.
A goal of the Essential Skills initiative is to encourage the development and use of authentic workplace materials for instruction. There are many benefits to real-life learning in adult literacy programs, and accessing workplace materials from the ES site can help literacy practitioners provide meaningful, individualized activities to interest and motivate learners.
Literacy practitioners looking for authentic learning materials will find a variety of workplace resources collected from actual companies and organizations. The collection of authentic workplace materials is representative of the variety of forms, charts, manuals, and other documents that workers use on the job. There are more than 60 examples that can be searched by job title, National Occupational Classification (NOC) category, Essential Skill, or complexity level.
While the majority of materials employ the skills associated with Reading Text, Document Use, and Writing, there are several that provide opportunities to develop other skills such as Oral Communication and Numeracy. Again, even though the website focus is on the workplace, the materials lend themselves to being used for activities that enhance other areas of adult learners’ lives where similar skills are required.
For example, the sample menu provided for Dietary Technician offers an opportunity for learners to challenge and develop more than one Essential Skill. The menu includes Canada’s Food Guide recommendations, which learners could reference to determine and track wise choices for their own daily or weekly meal planning and budgeting. By working with a variety of authentic materials, learners with varied goals have an opportunity to benefit from the challenge of mastering an array of skills. They may also develop an awareness of goals and objectives, transferable skills, and possible career options.
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