July 17, 2008

Teachers Get Lesson on Connection Between School, Work Worlds

By KJ Lang, La Crosse Tribune, Wis.

Jul. 17--ONALASKA, Wis. -- Students need to be responsible, reliable, honest and have initiative in the classroom -- the same skills they need when they enter the work force.

That's what area teachers learned Thursday while experiencing first-hand some of the training managers and employees at McDonald's restaurant receive. "You realize that the qualities they expect out of employees are the same things we are trying to instill in our students every day," said Melissa Graff, elementary music teacher for the De Soto School District.

The visit was part of Washburn Academy, a summer training program for area teachers that runs July 14-18 and July 28 through Aug. 1.

"Teachers have a great interest in students being successful, whether they go on to higher education or go into the work force," said Cheryl Hanson, Washburn Academy director.

Teachers participated in exercises designed to teach McDonald's employees the importance of skills such as leading by example, taking one task at a time and prioritizing.

Jocelyn Buxton, fifth-grade teacher at Sand Lake Elementary in Holmen, Wis., said she can apply what she learned to encourage her students set priorities.

"Students sometimes think sharpening their pencil or cleaning their desk is more important than using their work time in class," she said.

All the activities helped teachers think more about the future of their students and what skills they'll need, Graff said.

"It is important for teachers to find out how what we do in the classroom applies to the real world situation," she said.

The partnership between education and business also was highlighted during a noon presentation at Holmen High School by Michael Thompson, executive assistant to state Superintendent Elizabeth Burmaster.

Teachers need to show students the relevance of what they learn in school and how it relates to the work world, he said.

KJ Lang can be reached at (608) 791-8226 or [email protected]


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