Section 3

Looking at work and employment


Learning Outcomes

By the end of this section, you will have:
  • used ‘think-pair-share’ to help your pupils realise the importance of work in the home and community;
  • prepared collaborative (joint) activities and assessed individual learning;
  • used local contexts and resources to motivate pupils to understand about work and employment.
The way you group pupils for discussion can make a big difference to their learning experience. Sometimes you will want to group them according to ability; sometimes you will want to mix quicker and slower pupils. If you have a large and/or multigrade class, you may need to group them according to age or grade. In this section, you will use different forms of grouping for both individual and collaborative working to help pupils discuss and reflect on their understanding of work and employment. You can also use local contexts and resources to motivate pupils so that they use their own initiative to make useful and saleable items from local materials.

Page 1

Young people and adults do different activities as work and employment. In this section, we suggest you use a ‘think-pair-share’ approach to help your pupils explore the meaning of work and employment and its importance. Exploring where the money comes from to provide things at home is a good starting place for this topic. In Activity 1 you ask your pupils to think about the different kinds of work in your community and discuss the difference between work and employment. Case Study 1 shows some pupils’ ideas about different types of employment.

Case Study 1: Group working and debate

Mr Petrus’ Grade 5 class in South Africa had been working on different forms of employment in the country. He now wanted them to focus on the local community. Mr Petrus split the class into two. He asked one half to identify all the local employers and prepare an argument saying why it is better to be employed. He asked the other half of the class to identify different informal ways to make money and prepare an argument saying why it is better to earn money this way. After 20 minutes of preparation time, each group gave in their list and Mr Petrus wrote it on the board – making sure he didn’t duplicate ideas (see Resource 1: Ways of earning money for their list). They discussed the lists and realised that the work is the same in some cases, whether formal or informal, paid or unpaid. In the next lesson, they held a debate, with each group nominating a speaker to present their argument. At the end, they held a vote on whether formal or informal employment is better. Even after the vote, the pupils continued to discuss the ideas, which pleased Mr Petrus.

Activity 1: Using think-pair-share to explore work activities

Use the ‘think-pair-share’ approach for pupils to identify different ways to make money and explore pupils’ employment opportunities.
  • Ask your pupils to each think of the different ways there are to earn money. Give each pupil five minutes.
  • Next, pair them with their neighbour and ask them to share their ideas. (If your pupils sit in desk groups of three, you could use threes instead of pairs.) They combine their ideas to make one list for each pair or three. Allow ten minutes.
  • Ask each pair or three to give their ideas and list them on the board.
  • Discuss the distinction between work and employment. Make sure they understand that people must work in their homes and on the land, and this is different from the work they do as employment for which they get paid.
  • Ask the pupils to share how they would like to be employed in the future.

Page 2

Hearing from others how they do their different activities can help your pupils understand what variety of jobs there are and what they would like to do themselves. Inviting a guest to talk to them about what they do can help pupils understand how a particular kind of work is done. Taking pupils outside school will excite and motivate them and give real weight to how they see many jobs. Key Resource: Using the local community/environment as a resource provides guidelines on inviting visitors to your classroom.

Case Study 2: Talking about work and employment

To help her pupils develop the concepts of work and employment, and understand the importance of work, Standard 5 teacher Aisha talked to her pupils about work and the future. She found that most of her class wanted to go to university so that they could get good jobs and earn lots of money. Most of them wanted to move to the city. To show her pupils real-life experiences, Aisha invited a local shopkeeper to come to the school and tell the pupils how he started his business. They learned that starting a shop and running it involves hard work. It also needs money; he got a loan from the government to start his business. He had paid back nearly all of his loan and would soon own his business. Aisha also invited a friend of hers, Anyango, who used to live in their village but had gone to university and now worked in a bank in the city. Anyango explained that she had always wanted to work in a bank and she had studied hard to become an accountant. After the visits, the class held a debate on whether it is better to stay in your village and run your own business or to go to university and get a job. The class had learned much about how work and employment were related to their efforts at school and in the wider community.

Activity 2: Visiting a local business

Take your class (or in smaller groups, in turns) to a local market and let them see what happens there. Pair the pupils carefully to make sure they stay focused on the task and do not get distracted while out of school. Prepare for the activity by arranging with some of the market traders to answer some questions from the pupils about their business. You will need to prepare a worksheet/questionnaire for your pupils (see Resource 2: Worksheet for the visit to the market). If you do not have the resources to make a worksheet, then in the previous lesson write some questions on the board and ask the pupils to copy them into their books – leaving spaces for the answers they will get at the market. Also, ask the pupils what they want to find out and add these questions to the list. If you think it is more appropriate, you could take the class to a local bank or other place of employment, but you will still need to plan this and have some questions or tasks for them to do or ask when there. After the visit, the pupils can write up and/or discuss what they learned about work. Summarise these thoughts on the board.

Page 3

In the previous activities, your pupils have found out more about work and employment through group work and have also heard life experiences of people who are employed or earn a living. In the Key Activity, you give pupils the opportunity to be involved in a task that will extend their skills and which they might be able to use to gain an income. Case Study 3 shows how one teacher set up a mini-enterprise to give her pupils experience of work and employment.

Case Study 3: Using local recycled materials to sew and make an income

Mrs Maingi is a vocational skills teacher in a primary school in a small town in Kenya. Near the school there are three tailoring shops. The area around the tailoring shops was littered with small pieces of cloth that the tailors had thrown away. Mrs Maingi and her class thought that they could use the pieces of cloth to make useful items during their needlework lessons. She asked the tailors to collect all the pieces of cloth for her instead of throwing them away. Mrs Maingi used the cloth to teach the pupils how to sew. They cut, neatly hemmed and stitched them to make handkerchiefs, scarves and small tablecloths. Since most of the pupils did not have a handkerchief or scarf, each pupil was given one. The rest of the handkerchiefs and the small tablecloths were sold at very reasonable prices in school and the village. One boy and one girl were chosen to record how much money they were paid. They also had to pay for the needles and threads they used. The profit was used to buy sugar to put into their porridge. The pupils were very happy because there was no more littering from the tailors and they could now take porridge with sugar.

Key Activity: Working for our school

It is now time to put all your pupils’ knowledge about work and employment to the test by doing an activity that will benefit the school or home. Resource 3: Barrina Primary School, Kenya, school garden gives an example of a school in Kenya making a garden to provide food and sell surplus as part of a project.
  • Discuss and identify activities that they can do as projects to help them develop skills, while at the same time being beneficial to the school/home. Decide together which are the two best ideas to carry out. Examples could be: making baskets, mats, ropes or brooms, or collecting plastic bags and bottles for recycling. The kind of activity will depend on the context of the school.
  • Pupils choose to work on one of the two selected projects. You will need to help them in planning their project and collecting the resources. Local experts and other community members could help and advise you on what to do.
  • Discuss with the pupils what they can do with the products they get from their project (whether they can be used in school, at home or possibly sold to make money).
  • Discuss with the pupils the usefulness of their projects and the skills they have developed.
  • You might want to plan a day to sell some of your goods and use the profits to buy things that would benefit the whole class.
  • Point out to the pupils that the activities they do both at home and in school as work can help them develop skills that they can use to gain employment in the future.

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