Over the past 25 years, The Good Project, based at the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Project Zero, has investigated individuals and institutions that exemplify “good work.” We define “good work” according to three criteria: it is 1) excellent (high quality), 2) ethical (socially responsible), and 3) engaging (meaningful). 

As we move further into the 21st century, it’s clear that new challenges have emerged that may hinder the encouragement and achievement of “good work.” The world of work is rapidly changing: many jobs are disappearing, others are being dramatically reconfigured, and new technologies are not equipped to handle common ethical dilemmas. Despite calls for the development of “21st century skills” (e.g., critical thinking) in adolescents necessary for success in employment, current educational experiences about “work” are insufficient. Generally, secondary and tertiary education devote little attention to work in practice, programs that do exist to explore the topic most often take the form of isolated lessons or classes. Few outlets allow students to grapple with ambiguity, complexity, and their own opinions and beliefs. 

Our curriculum attempts to fill this gap by giving young people the skills and strategies to flourish as future workers. Drawing on many years of research in the professions, we expose adolescents to real-world dilemmas, reflective activities, and guided conversations that will help to prepare them for the working world of today. Our contention is that students who are exposed to our materials will develop the skills, understandings, and repertoires to effectively navigate their future work lives.

View all lesson plans on The Good Project website.