OHSWEKEN – Students from Emily C. General elementary school got a chance to role play their future lives last Wednesday. The Student Reality Store is a simulation program developed by educator Erinn Monture-Drysdale that gives school children a glimpse into what their future might hold for them.
Based on their actual grade point average, students are given a list of careers and incomes that they can choose from and which are correlated to their marks.
A combination of chance and student choices determine if they get married or stay single, how many kids they have, what kind of vehicle they drive and whether or not they live on reserve. The students then go between some 20 different “stores” staffed by community volunteers where they purchase goods and services based upon their lifestyle and income bracket.
According to Monture-Drysdale, the simulation blends real life skills and knowledge gained at school. “When they’re doing math they don’t even know they’re doing it. They start thinking about their careers and understand that they have choices. When they can’t afford things they can get a second job. If they going to buy Hummers they’re going to go and take them back halfway through in the simulation because they can’t afford the payments.”
Teacher James Martin noted that “the game helps them to think ahead a bit. They are at an age where they’re not really thinking about these things, but it gets the ball rolling and they start thinking about more adult decisions down the road. You can see some of the students get the realization that their grades now aren’t going to get them where they want to be in life, so something has to change between now and when they graduate”.
Student participant Samuel Beaver added “I think it’s pretty cool, I like it, it seems pretty realistic and I think it’s pretty fun when you have enough money”.
The Student Reality Store program has been recommended by the Ontario Ministry of Education, and Monture-Drysdale is working hard to bring the program to schools throughout the province.