We have learned a lot about our students and ourselves using RIASEC with PBL

Students as young as five years old have a good idea of who they are, what they like, what they are good at, and what they want to be. Careers were introduced into our thematic units of study this year. Students have pretty clear opinions about if they would enjoy a particular career like being a Farmer or Zoologist and if they have similar strengths and likes. World of Work is now just a natural part of our dialogue in the classroom.
Using RIASEC also challenges our views of how we see our students. Behavior challenges and students we saw as timid, step up and become amazing leaders! They are focused and on task. They take their position seriously and channel that energy. Students we feel have poor fine motor skills want to be be recorders and artists. It is often NOT the position we would have assigned to them but it is how they view themselves and what they aspire to. In giving students that choice  we believe there is confidence building and ownership. Even if it is evident they lack the skills for their chosen job and it’s a disaster, that in itself is very powerful for the student! We hope they internalize and learn more about themselves from that experience.
As a teacher, it is both fascinating and frightening to step back and watch kids fail, disagree, and problem solve. It is sometimes a painful and counter intuitive experience for us. But ultimately we know the language, engagement and open endedness of the task is the best gift we can give them to truly prepare them for life in the real world.
This video chronicles our year of learning and growing together.
Niki Glah
Rios Elementary