Outcomes of School Career Development. ERIC Digest.
by Gitterman, Aryeh - And Others
Students, parents, government, and the business community have been
telling schools for a long time that they are not satisfied with what Students,
critics claim, are not adequately trained for the high-tech jobs of today
and tomorrow, or for the reality of repeated career change. (Williams &
Millinoff, 1990). There is also strong social pressure for greater equity
in career opportunity. More females, visible minorities, children of economically
disadvantaged parents, and physically challenged students are expected
to be able to acquire occupations which are associated with higher earning
power, more security and prestige, and higher job satisfaction.
Historically, the place of career education in the educational agenda
has not been clear. No shared belief exists as to how schools ought to
prepare students for adult life. The patchwork of programs such as transition-to-work,
technological education, employability skills, and cooperative education
are important, but they do not adequately address the career development
needs of students.
A NEW VISION OF CAREER EDUCATION
The new vision is that schools will make a significant contribution
towards "seeing that the future labour force is well prepared for adult
and working life, able to make informed career decisions, capable of managing
successful career transitions, and committed to life-long personal development,
education and training" (Watts, 1988). This means that schools must act
deliberately to ensure that all students have access to current and accurate
information about careers. Teachers must also understand the importance
of providing students with learning experiences outside of the school walls
and that decision making strategies are crucial to helping students make
successful transitions to work, further education, and training.
OUTCOMES FOR CAREER EDUCATION
Career education can be viewed as a distinct, yet closely linked, aspect
of personal growth and development. Increasingly, career education is focusing
on three aspects of the individual: Self-awareness, opportunity awareness,
and decision and transition learning (Watts, 1988). These components form
the core of an effective career education model.
In order to implement this vision of career education, schools need
to have clear and specific outcomes for each component. The following examples
(Burke, 1993) illustrate each of the above dimensions.
*Self-Awareness. Students will be able to achieve the following:
--Analyze changing personal attitudes, values, interests, and abilities,
and explain how they relate to a range of choices.
--Describe a personal accomplishment and specify the skills which were
used in this achievement.
--Recognize and develop ways of dealing with stereotyping, discrimination,
--Develop and apply skills for studying, organizing, time management,
planning, researching, accessing school and community resources, and goal
--Explain the inter-relationship of personal responsibility, good work
habits, and career opportunities.
*Opportunity Awareness. Students will be able to demonstrate heightened
--Explain basic concepts about the economy and work, such as market
forces, entrepreneurship, responsibilities and commitments of employers
and employees, and the role of trade unions.
--Identify types and levels of work performed across a broad range of
occupations and a variety of settings.
--Describe the present and future role of technology in the workplace
and society as a whole.
--Analyze the value of learning as a result of visits to a variety of
community settings and work sites.
--Demonstrate the attitudes necessary for success in work and learning.
--Describe how sex role stereotyping, bias, and discrimination limit
career choices, opportunity and achievement.
*Decision and Transition Learning Students will also be able to exhibit
--Identify knowledge and skills taught in school subjects which are
transferable to work, community, family, and leisure activities.
--Describe a range of opportunities for secondary and post-secondary
education and training in both the immediate and long term, (also learn
how to gain access to these opportunities and where they may lead.)
--Identify ways of making decisions and apply the knowledge to specific
--Develop an action plan to accomplish occupational, educational, leisure,
and/or family goals.
--Develop skills for making transitions and for dealing with unexpected
ACHIEVING OUTCOMES: APPROACHES TO CAREER EDUCATION IN THE CLASSROOM
Gitterman, Levi and Ziegler (1993) outline five approaches to career
education to help achieve the outcomes described above.
1. Career education goes beyond providing information about jobs and
the world of work. In schools, career education typically consists of providing
information about specific occupations. This needs to be broadened to show
students a variety of work opportunities associated with a project or societal
issue. For example, when investigating hazardous waste management, students
might meet engineers, technicians, union representatives, environmental
lawyers, politicians, urban planners, chemists, and government regulators.
Career education conceived in this way invites debate on equity issues
by valuing everyone's work and family and by opening career paths to all
2. Career education thus becomes part of the total school curriculum,
rather than a subject taught in isolation. Career education should encourage
students to see the relevance of school subjects. Through the study of
history, for example, students can gain some grasp of how economic events
affect present and future patterns of work and society. Similarly, a knowledge
of geography can help students better understand the connection between
environmental conditions and different social and economic opportunities.
3. Career education should incorporate planned, out-of-classroom experiences,
beginning when children enter school. Field trips offer a natural way of
exposing children to their community and to the larger world, capitalizing
on their native curiosity. Such trips also provide a natural laboratory
for career exploration. For example, a school might visit a zoo one year
and a hospital the next, and in each case,students may explore the jobs
people perform as the children observe the animals or the medical technology.
Another school might explore the range of jobs held by parents and others
in libraries, shops, offices, and factories. Early career exploration experiences
are important to promote diversity, even though they do not have specific
career path implications.
4. Schools should address the career as well as the academic dimension
of children's lives. Career, academic, and social development are equally
important for all students and should be equally represented in program
planning and evaluation, beginning in early school years. Students' aspirations,
interests, and career exploration skills must be included in educational
programs to effectively address students' needs. Career education is developmental,
as is literacy or numeracy education.
5. Community involvement and support are essential for career education
to be successful. Schools cannot do it alone. In order to ensure that career
education is effective and reality-based, it requires the support of resources
both within and outside the school. Business, industry, labor, government,
other educational institutions, and the community of parents and neighbors
all need to in as partners in new and creative ways.
Outcomes based on career education, linked to a planned and systematic
educational program, provides the opportunity to involve schools and the
community in a real and reciprocal way. Career development programs in
schools must do more than provide information. They must be embedded in
the school curriculum starting in the primary grades and they must take
students out of the classroom and into the community. A successful program
has the potential to help all students experience an enriched education;
such students are better prepared for their working lives, and, in the
long run, to society.
Burke, M. (1993). "Career education: It's for life." North York, ON:
North York Board of Education.
Gitterman, A., Levi, M., & Ziegler, S. (1993). "Community-based
Education for Career, Work, and Life." In Education and work, Volume II,
Proceedings of the International Conference Linking Research and Practice.
Toronto, ON: Ontario Institute for Studies in Education.
King, A. (1990). "The good school." Toronto, ON: Ontario Secondary School
Posterski, D., & Bibby, R. (1988). "Canada's youth, "Ready for Today":
A comprehensive survey of 15-24 year olds." Ottawa, ON: Minister of State
Watts, A. G. (1988). "The changing place of careers guidance in schools."
Prospects, 18, 473-4828.
Williams, T., & Millinoff, H. (1990). "Canada's schools: Report
card for the 1990s: A CEA poll." Toronto, ON: Canadian Education Association.