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RIASEC Themes in Elementary Classrooms

The six different personality themes of RIASEC

What are these letters I keep hearing about?

If you have an elementary-aged child in LSR7, you may have seen a RIASEC poster in your child’s classroom or heard your child mention participating in a RIASEC activity. This school year the career education team is supporting your child’s teacher as they incorporate the RIASEC themes into instruction. After talking to some business partners recently, I realized that not everyone knows what RIASEC is and why it’s useful to our students. 

In 1959, John L. Holland published an article in the Journal of Counseling Psychology discussing a theory related to vocational personalities and work environments. You may have heard this theory called the Holland Code. Holland identified six themes: Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising, and Conventional. In LSR7 we use the acronym RIASEC to talk about these different themes. Even though this theory is now over sixty years old, it remains one of the most popular career assessment instruments.

Even though our elementary-aged students are not taking a RIASEC assessment to identify the specific themes they match with, they are learning about the themes to identify their strengths and interests. Learning about the six themes also allows them to value the differences that exist amongst their peers and recognize that everyone has strengths. What’s beautiful about the themes is that all are needed in society. One theme is not better than another.

In your child’s elementary classroom, teachers are using RIASEC within instruction so students can begin to recognize all of the different themes. Teachers have the choice as to how they will incorporate the themes into their classrooms. It could look like a teacher pausing while reading a book to ask students which theme the character in the story is demonstrating or having students participate in activities centered around a theme for students to try. 

As a parent or guardian of an elementary student, you already know your child is unique. RIASEC is just one tool that helps you classify your child’s strengths and abilities. The focus now is to help them recognize who they are so that later in middle and high school they can explore all of the courses and career possibilities that await them based on what they already enjoy doing. Right now you can simply talk to your child about their strengths and the activities they may do in the classroom related to RIASEC. Talk about your own strengths and interests and how those have shaped what types of things you enjoy doing both at work and as hobbies.

For more information on our initiative to help students discover their strengths and interests through RIASEC, check out our website about Elementary DiplomaPlus.

-Kimberly Sterne, Career Navigator for the LSHS Feeder Schools