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Aspirations Toolkit by The National College Transition Network

Posted on 09/24/2013

National College Transition Network (NCTN)

The Aspirations Toolkit is a set of counseling and instructional practices and tools contributed by adult educators around the country. Contributors implement these lessons and activities with adult learners in various class types (e.g. ESOL or GED) and at a range of skill levels to foster aspirations, goal setting habits and to inspire them to begin planning for next steps along their education and career pathway. The development of the Aspirations Toolkit is partially funded through a grant from the Carl and Ruth Shapiro Family Foundation External link opens in new window or tab with matching funds provided by World Education, Inc External link opens in new window or tab. We continue to add tools to this collection. The National College Transition Network invites adult education practitioners to contribute External link opens in new window or tab to the toolkit.

Many adult students think that postsecondary education is out of reach for them. They perceive barriers that are both real and surmountable, ranging from low self-efficacy (sense of competence to accomplish a task or goal) to lack of awareness of supports, such as financial aid. Many of these barriers can be addressed, but in order for adult learners to consider such steps adult education programs must also shift their paradigm and practice and develop specific strategies to heighten learners' aspirations and goals and raise awareness of opportunities, throughout all program phases, from enrollment and orientation to instruction, counseling, and planning for next steps.

The Aspirations Toolkit is a resource for practitioners to make this important paradigm shift in promoting learner aspirations early and often in their instruction and counseling interactions. Each tool is listed under one of the four areas of college and career readiness External link opens in new window or tab. Those that span multiple areas are cross-listed and can be found on NTCN's Web site External link opens in new window or tab.