In the current program, all female students between ages fourteen and sixteen in the school board area are gathered together into small groups at least once for a team-led discussion of career issues. We still emphasize realistic statistics about women at work but the issues are often couched in humour and students are encouraged to speak openly and clearly about their personal and their family's expectations (2). We attempt to integrate all academic and career perspectives with the strengths and motivations of the students themselves. We assist them in researching a wide range of courses in new as well as anticipated careers. For example, we might emphasize materials management rather than secretarial courses because the former receives more salary and leads to management levels.
Each student must consider two qualifiers: school admission requirements to ensure that she has chosen and will choose correct courses and maintain appropriate grades; and the placement statistics of her chosen program to ensure reasonable expectation of employment after graduation. We have found that it is ideal to have one of the students' trusted teachers stay in the room during the workshop to make them feel that the school community cares and that this teacher is informed and will aid in subsequent discussions.
Students who show definite interest in a non-traditional career receive an opportunity to job shadow a student at the local community college or university who is pursing the pertinent education. Job shadowing of professionals in the community is also relatively easy to arrange due to the active cooperative education programs and the existence of many role models who welcome students into the work environment. Workshops in specific subjects such as mathematics, science, or computer studies provide opportunities to raise teachers' awareness of and provide resources for the study of women's accomplishments in these fields (3). Materials to motivate students are left for follow-up by the teachers (4).
We also assist teachers in developing group teaching strategies such as "peer tutoring", "cooperative learning" and even the Japanese model of "quality circles" which include evaluation of the students' oral communications and social skills. Process learning is encouraged and a traditional focus on content is downplayed since independent and competitive marking processes traditionally used often exaggerate students' sense of isolated fear and mediocrity. Under such pressure, female students will often drop a course before education and career goals are well formed.
One school offered an introductory technology studies section exclusively for girls. It provided an opportunity to gain skills in drafting, woodworking, machining and auto mechanics. As many as forty students enrolled in one year and most of these pursued senior level drafting, auto mechanics, woodworking or computer technology as a complement.
It was very important to keep academic requirements and accomplishments comparable to those for all-male or mixed classes because student might otherwise associate their success with "sissy" curriculum, rather than to more congenial methods and a more comfortable environment. These classes were ideal to take on field trips to work, community college and research environments, to hold peer and adult role model panel discussions and workshops, and to job shadow women in non-traditional careers.