By Lindsay Wood
Upon leaving the ACE-WIL PD on November 15th, I was once again reminded of what an incredible group of WIL professionals I am fortunate to know. We truly have such a special community of dedicated, caring, and innovative colleagues to connect and learn from and I walked away from this PD feeling energized by my conversations and more knowledgeable in how I can better support students and our stakeholders.
I also walked away feeling older as I realised the gap between me and Generation Z is steadily growing and what I previously thought was cool and how to best connect with them, is slightly skewed (more on that later).
The day began with a lively generational icebreaker BINGO activity by the membership committee. It was a great activity that got everyone up and learning more about our each other and what perhaps has shaped who we are today. It also brought up fond memories of growing up with cabbage patch kids, rollerskating, and Coleco Vision.
Darelle Odo, SFU Business Co-op Coordinator, was the keynote speaker and moderated the student panel which followed. Her engaging presentation style, rich and relevant research and knowledge on Gen Z, and the rapport she established with the student panel, was definitely a highlight of the day. The value in understanding Gen Z and how to best support and connect with them has an incredible impact on our day to day work in WIL. For example, I learned that Gen Z prefers face to face coaching/communication (texting must be old fashioned now!) and are interested in engaging and detailed job descriptions that address culture and the potential impact a student may have. The topic is so relevant and important to the work we do and Darelle’s keynote and student panel highlighted many more takeaways than the two above. If you were n’t able to attend the session, I highly recommend reaching out to Darelle to learn more. We will also post the notes from the day in the resource section on the website.
After lunch, everyone got on their feet to share best practices in engaging students in the 21st century. Members rotated through 4 topics dealing with international students, WIL curriculum, mental health and strategies for reflection. Each topic elicited shared challenges and innovative strategies to promote teaching and learning with our students and stakeholders. The breakout sessions and sharing of best practices is something that I look forward to each PD and the openness of everyone to share their best practices is fantastic.
Hopefully this post is not “TLTR” and no one thinks I am mad since I ended my sentences with periods….if you are wondering what I mean, please ask one of your colleagues who attended the PD 🙂