Empowering Students to Work Toward Their Goals

Dr. Jennifer Hills is the Director of Programs at For Oak Cliff, a culturally responsive organization serving the Oak Cliff community in Dallas, Texas. She chose to explore the Learn to Earn Toolkit because it offers differentiated workplace readings and a badging system. This aligns well with the goals of her blended, multi-level high school equivalency preparation class focused on building reading comprehension and fluency, vocabulary, and the use of standard English in writing and speaking.

Krystal Hills, For Oak Cliff’s GED Prep Math instructor and curriculum developer, found that the Learn to Earn Toolkit’s relevant reading materials, detailed dashboard, and badging system empowered and motivated the students to work toward their goals, even most reluctant who had been out of school for many years. Soon after the class, two students eagerly took and passed two GED tests.

“Students are engaging more on this platform than any other one we are using. I think the badges and the choice of reading levels really keeps them going. I will continue using this in upcoming classes.”

The instructors integrated all ten of the Learn to Earn Toolkit lessons with other curriculum activities, such as role plays, vision books, and essay writing . Many topics raised students’ awareness about the intersection of work and culture. The Diversity and Social Responsibility lessons led to a healthy, open discussion about police violence against people of color and the recent surge of hate crimes towards Asian Americans. Dr. Hills drew on the “Use English at Work” unit to illustrate the differences between “home language” and “workplace language” as a step towards building the students’ long-term career skills. Students and teachers, including those using mobile phones or with beginning technology skills, found the platform easy to access. The exported student reports show lesson and skill completion, so instructors were able to check in periodically with students about their individual progress with their remote lessons.

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