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Promoting Educational and Career Planning in Schools


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Title: Promoting Educational and Career Planning in Schools

  • Promoting Educational and Career Planning in

Background for Educational and Career Planning
Interventions in Schools
  • Providing career assistance to students has
    always been an integral part of the work
    performed by professional school counselors.
  • During most of the 20th century, professional
    school counselors fostered students career
    decision making by administering and interpreting
    interest inventories and aptitude tests.
  • In the 1950s Donald Super proposed a
    developmental perspective emphasizing career
    development as a lifelong process.
  • Super suggested that development through the life
    stages could be guided, partly by facilitating
    the maturing of abilities and interests and
    partly by aiding in reality testing and in the
    development of self-concepts.

Background for Educational and Career Planning
Interventions in Schools
  • Changes in the economy, population, and
    technology have enhanced the need for
    professional school counselors to focus on the
    area of educational planning and career
  • Increased globalization has altered job titles,
    roles, and structure within the workplace.
  • Markets are calling for skilled workers over
    unskilled workers and employment has become less

Education and Career Planning Today
  • The National Standards (Campbell Dahir, 1997)
    specify three important areas of student
  • Standard A. Students will acquire the skills to
    investigate the world of work in relation to
    knowledge of self and to make informed career
  • Standard B. Students will employ strategies to
    achieve future career success and satisfaction.
  • Standard C. Students will understand the
    relationship between personal qualities,
    education and training, and the world of work.

Education and Career Planning Today
  • Educational planning is the means through which
    linkages are forged for students, as well as
    stakeholders, between academic achievement and
    postsecondary options.
  • The educational planning process can help
    students become aware of how their school
    performance relates to post-high school goal
    achievement, thereby increasing their motivation
    to work hard in school.
  • An effective educational planning process
    eliminates making a career choice by chance.

Education and Career Planning Today
  • In elementary school, students should first
    become acquainted with education and career
    planning through learning about the relationship
    between school performance and the world of work
    and postsecondary education.
  • When students reach middle school, the stage will
    be set for them to start thinking in more
    concrete terms about their educational, career,
    and life goals.
  • The goals students set in middle school will form
    the basis for making choices about the courses
    they take while in middle school, as well as help
    them to create a tentative blueprint for their
    high school course taking.
  • This sequential process provides students with
    many and varied opportunities to learn about
    themselves and engage in mindful planning and

Education and Career Planning Today
  • The Integrative Contextual Model of Career
    Development (Lapan, 2004) highlights primary
    career development constructs such as positive
    expectations and identity development
  • The Hope-Centered Model of Career Development
    (HCMCD) (Niles et al., 2010) emphasizes the
    central role of hope in career development
  • Savickas (2012) proposes a new paradigm based on
    constructivist and narrative therapy approaches
    that empowers students to become the author of
    their own lives

Education and Career Planning Today
  • Life-span, life-space theorists define career as
    the total constellation of life roles that people
    engage in over the course of a lifetime.
  • Career development tasks include developing the
    skills necessary not only for selecting and
    implementing an occupational choice, but also for
    selecting, adjusting to, and transitioning
    through a variety of life roles.

Implementing Systematic and Well-Coordinated
Career Planning Programs
  • Helps students acquire the knowledge, skills, and
    awareness necessary for effectively managing
    their career development (Herr, Cramer, Niles,
  • It is important to clearly connect career
    development interventions to student academic
  • Making sure to market a program to the school
    personnel is vital to the success of the program.
  • Use a team approach to reach goals.
  • Help teachers communicate to parents the ways in
    which career development programs enhance student
  • Professional school counselors are often the only
    professionals in the school system with training
    in career development, as well as the primary
    figure for helping students with educational

Career Assessment
  • It is through formal and informal assessments
    that students begin to learn about themselves and
    their interests, skills, and values related to
    the world of work.
  • Results from assessments provide professional
    school counselors with a starting point for
    guiding students in the career planning process.
  • School counselors must remain current in their
    knowledge about which career assessments are
    suitable for use with school-aged youth, as well
    as possess a general understanding of assessment
    so they can make informed decisions about which
    assessments to use.

Career Assessment
  • Types of assessments available to professional
    school counselors
  • Kuder Career Search with Person Match
  • Kuder Skills Assessment
  • Supers Work Values Inventory
  • Self-Directed Search
  • Strong Interest Inventory
  • ONET Interest Profiler
  • ONET Ability Profiler
  • ONET Work Importance Profiler
  • Myers-Briggs Type Indicator

Career Assessment
  • Professional school counselors must use emerging
    technology to sustain an educational and career
    planning system.
  • Recommended Web sites
  • Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH)
    (http// OOH for children
  • ONET (http//
  • Quint Careers (http//
  • The Riley Guide (http//
  • JobHuntersBible (http//

Career Assessment
  • JOB SEARCH (continued)
  • Career Builder (http//
  • Monster (http//
  • Simply Hired (http//
  • Indeed (http//
  • Petersons (http//
  • U. S. News and World Report (http//
  • College Board (http//
  • Quint Careers (http//
  • U. S. Department of Education (http//studentaid.e

Elementary Schools
  • The use of non-traditional models, such as a male
    nurse or female engineers, help expose children
    to a broad range of occupational possibilities.
  • Children naturally express curiosity through
    fantasy and play which can provide a foundation
    for exploring careers such as firefighting,
    nursing, and teaching.
  • In elementary schools children begin formulating
    a sense of identity outside of their immediate
  • Television often provides children with
    gender-stereotyped roles and occupations, and
    limited perceptions of careers for people of

Elementary Schools
  • When students are encouraged to participate in
    activities that are related to their interests it
    helps develop a sense of autonomy, an
    anticipation for future opportunities for
    exploring, and the beginning of playful
  • When these interests connect with skills and
    capacities, a positive self-concept emerges,
    providing the foundation for the future career
    development tasks of adolescence.
  • Students in elementary school also can engage in
    career exploration by developing and
    understanding the importance of educational
  • The primary focus of career development
    interventions for elementary school children is
    awareness, in its many facets.

Elementary Schools (cont)
  • Educational planning in elementary school is also
  • Raising student awareness about the training and
    educational requirements for occupations that
    interest them may serve to heighten their
    motivation to do well in school.
  • Students at this age should become aware of how
    the skills they are learning in school are used
    in various careers.
  • Students performance in elementary school can
    have a significant influence on their future
    course taking and postsecondary options.

Practical Ideas for Career Development Activities
  • Ask students to identify and discuss the jobs
    that they have observed in their communities and
    then add to their knowledge base by introducing a
    few new ones.
  • Encourage students to identify the jobs they
    currently have as students and sons or daughters.
    They can use this self-knowledge to create a Me
    and my Job booklet that highlights their
    interests, as well as their job
    responsibilities at school and home.
  • Fill paper grocery bags with two to five items
    that are associated with a specific career. Take
    the items out of each bag one by one and have
    students guess the type of worker that uses those
    items. For example, one bag could be filled with
    a stethoscope and blood pressure cuff to
    represent a doctor.
  • Ask students to draw a picture of a job they
    might want to have when they are older.

Practical Ideas for Career Development Activities
  • Give each student a letter of the alphabet and
    ask them to select a job that begins with that
    letter, draw a picture of the job, and write
    three tasks or activities that are related to
    that occupation. Bind the students work together
    to create an Alphabet Career Book for the
    schools library.
  • Read a developmentally appropriate story (e.g.,
    Worm Gets a Job by Kathy Caple for students in
    2nd grade and below) to a classroom and then have
    the students identify the various jobs that were
    discussed in the book.
  • Expose students to women who work in
    traditionally male occupations and men who work
    in traditionally female occupations.
  • For students in grades 3 to 5, require each
    student to complete an interview with an adult
    about his or her career. Questions should focus
    on what the adult does and the schooling needed
    to prepare for that career. After interviews have
    been conducted, students can share their findings
    with the class.

Practical Ideas for Career Development Activities
  • Challenge students to look into the future and
    think about how the jobs they are currently
    interested in might be different in 15 to 20
    years. Using a computer lab, provide students
    with time to research the education, training,
    and skills they will need to be successful in
    these future careers.
  • Host a career day or career week where students
    parents and members of the community visit the
    school to talk about their occupations.
  • Arrange field trips to nearby businesses to help
    students get a sense of the types of occupations
    that exist in those fields (e.g., hospital,
    grocery store, library, bank, etc.).
  • Provide parents with links to any Web sites used
    in the career development program so that they
    have the chance to explore these sites with their
    children at home and reinforce the learning that
    occurred in school.

Middle Schools
  • At the middle school level the interventions are
    more complex and focused.
  • Since middle school students are typically
    preoccupied with belonging and are influenced
    significantly by same-sex peers, the focus of the
    interventions should be on helping students
    crystallize and articulate their ideas.
  • In middle school, realistic expectations should
    be held for students while also encouraging them
    to develop a realistic self-concept and learn
    more about possible opportunities.

Middle Schools (cont)
  • The link between school activities and future
    opportunities that was first developed in
    elementary school needs to be strengthened in
    middle school.
  • Stress the process of lifelong learning that
    can lead to occupational success.
  • Inform students of the positive correlation
    between academic achievement and the amount of
    income workers earn.
  • The primary focus of career development in the
    middle school is on exploration.
  • Students must learn the skills necessary for
    accessing and using educational and occupational

Middle Schools
  • For students who wish to attend college, it is
    essential that they begin talking about these
    plans with their parents and the appropriate
    school staff while in middle school so that they
    can take classes that will adequately prepare
    them for the rigorous courses (i.e., college
    prep) they will need to take once they reach high
  • Students who do not have any postsecondary plans
    or goals will be at a distinct disadvantage later
    on in their academic career if they find that
    they have not achieved high enough grades or
    taken the necessary classes to prepare themselves
    for the occupation or continuing education they

Practical Ideas for Career Development Activities
  • Administer a career interest inventory, skills
    assessment, and values inventory. Using the
    results from these inventories, help students
    pinpoint one or two career clusters that are of
    interest to them to begin exploring in more
  • Present a classroom guidance lesson to students
    in the computer lab introducing them to the host
    of available online resources to help them learn
    about careers. Ask students to make a list of
    occupations they think women most commonly work
    in and the occupations they think men most
    commonly work in and have them share their lists
    with the class. Teach students about
    nontraditional career opportunities and how
    certain jobs have been stereotyped and
    discriminated against as male jobs or female
    jobs. Present common myths related to
    nontraditional jobs, as well as information about
    the realities of these jobs. End with a
    discussion about the implications of such

Practical Ideas for Career Development Activities
  • Inform students about the importance of
    educational and career goal-setting. Create a
    goal-setting worksheet that asks students to list
    two educational goals and two career goals that
    they have for themselves.
  • Deliver a classroom guidance lesson on the
    connection between school and work and assign
    students the task of conducting one informational
    interview with a professional in the community.
  • Prepare a presentation introducing students to
    the wide range of postsecondary possibilities
    (e.g., four-year college, community college,
    vocational school, job training) and provide a
    sampling of occupations corresponding to each
  • Introduce students to the concepts of lifestyle
    and life roles and have each student write down
    how they currently spend their time and their
    current life roles, as well as what they would
    like their lifestyle to be like and what life
    roles they think will be important to them when
    they are adults.

Practical Ideas for Career Development Activities
  • Collaborate with teachers to find ways to
    integrate career development activities into
    students core classes.
  • Host a career day or career fair where students
    have the opportunity to meet and hear from
    professionals who work in a diverse range of
  • Work with students to begin creating a career
    portfolio, either on the computer or in a binder,
    to house the results from their assessments, as
    well as any other important documents,
    activities, projects, or research that they
    accumulate throughout middle school that will aid
    them in the career and educational decision
    making process once they reach high school.

High Schools
  • In the transition from middle to high school,
    students focus on the task of identifying
    occupational preferences and clarifying
    career/lifestyle choices.
  • The next step is for students to improve their
    skills of adjustment.
  • Workforce readiness is a key to successful career
    planning in high school because a majority of
    high school students go directly to work
    immediately following high school.
  • Since transitions typically cause anxiety in most
    people, students need emotional support to lessen
    the anticipatory anxiety.

High Schools
  • The transition skills acquired in high school
    build upon the self-awareness, occupational
    awareness, and decision-making skills students
    have developed throughout their educational
  • Acquiring information about jobs, colleges, and
    training programs, requires research, technology,
    and reading skills.
  • Providing career guidance is one of the most
    important contributions professional school
    counselors make to a students lifelong
  • Students need also to be aware of the choices
    they will make throughout high school and beyond.

High Schools
  • Community resources are a great way to expose
    students to a variety of career experiences
  • These include local businesses,
    colleges/universities, and community members
    including parents and recent graduates
  • Savickas (1999) discussed the necessity of
    helping students to understand the decisions and
    tasks they will have to make in career
    development and suggested tools such as the
    Career Maturity Inventory (Crites, 1978) and
    others to help reinforce this concept

High Schools
  • Educational planning culminates in high
    schoolstudents must begin to make serious
    decisions about their future.
  • Students should formulate an educational plan
    delineating the steps they will need to take to
    achieve their postsecondary goals.
  • Professional school counselors should help with
    the educational planning process by connecting
    students with opportunities to more fully
    investigate, learn about, and prepare for the
    preliminary goals they have set for themselves
    (e.g., elective classes, job shadowing, summer
    enrichment programs, informational interviews).

Practical Ideas for Career Development Activities
  • Administer interest inventories to students that
    provide them with information about careers and
    college majors potentially suitable for them.
    Have students research two or three careers and
    college majors that sound interesting to them.
  • Help all students create a four-year educational
    plan (this is a requirement of many public
    schools). Use students postsecondary goals and
    results from career assessments to help guide
    course selection.
  • Inform students that different occupations
    require different levels of education. In a
    computer lab, show students a few helpful career
    Web sites and ask them to locate occupations that
    require certain degrees.
  • Present a lesson on decision-making to students
    and teach them a specific decision-making model.
    Inform students that sound decision-making skills
    will enable them to make educated choices about
    their postsecondary plans.

Practical Ideas for Career Development Activities
  • Run counseling groups for students on topics
    related to career development and educational
    planning (e.g., choosing a college, succeeding in
    college, finding a job, choosing a career).
  • Connect with local companies and professionals to
    provide students with job shadowing
  • Collaborate with English teachers to present
    lessons to 11th and 12th graders on how to write
    a resume and cover letter.
  • Host a mock interview day for 11th and 12th
    graders. Bring in members of the community to
    conduct brief mock interviews with students, as
    well as provide them with feedback.

Practical Ideas for Career Development Activities
  • Advertise local job and college fairs, or host
    your own.
  • Invite college representatives to visit campus
    and hold information sessions for interested
  • Hold information sessions about financial aid and
    scholarship opportunities for students interested
    in attending college.
  • Offer job workshops to assist students in finding
    and applying for jobs.
  • If the high school you work at has a career
    resource center, create a scavenger hunt to
    orient students to the career and educational
    information and resources available to them.

Multicultural Implications
  • When designing a K12 educational and career
    planning program, students cultural backgrounds
    are salient and an important part of the process.
  • The professional school counselor must be aware
    of how culture intersects and influences all
    aspects of career and educational planning in
    elementary, middle, and high school to promote
    development that is congruent with the clients

Developing Life-role Readiness
  • The life-role readiness concept is based on
    developmental approaches to school counseling
    (Myrick, 2002).
  • The eight content areas
  • Understanding school environment
  • Understanding self and others
  • Understanding attitudes and behaviors
  • Decision-making and problem-solving
  • Interpersonal and communication skills
  • School success skills
  • Career awareness and educational planning
  • Community pride and involvement
  • These areas focus on specific life-roles that are
    needed to achieve life-role readiness.

Fostering Life-role Readiness and Life-role
  • In elementary and middle schools counselors can
    introduce students to the primary roles of life
    (e.g., student, worker, family member, citizen).
  • Students can talk about and decide the importance
    of each life-role.
  • Middle school and high school students can be
    encouraged to participate in activities that
    foster the development of life-role readiness.
  • Students can examine the relationship between
    their goals and their current life-role
  • Counselors can achieve this by asking questions
    about what life-roles students are involved in
    and which are most important to them or their

Fostering Life-role Readiness and Life-role
  • Patterns of life-role salience are significantly
    influenced by ones immediate family, cultural
    heritage, level of acculturation, economics, and
    environmental factors.
  • Counselors should make students aware of how they
    are influenced and help them in their decision
  • Group and individual guidance can both be helpful
    in discussing various cultural perspectives that
    are generally assigned to specific life-roles.
  • Borodovsky and Ponterotto (1994) suggested using
    a genogram as a useful tool for exploring the
    interaction between family background, cultural
    perspectives, and career planning.

Activities to Foster Life-role Readiness
  • Once one has established how contextual factors
    influence ones life-role salience, counselors
    must engage students in activities to further
    develop life-role readiness.
  • Super (1957, 1977) suggests that to develop
    life-role readiness we must plan for what the
    student is about to encounter. For instance, if a
    student is college-bound, one should plan for the
    academic tasks ahead to see if they match the
    abilities of the student.
  • Another intervention would be to plan a
    life-role portfolio where students are
    encouraged to plan, explore, and gather
    information for each of their major roles in

  • A major goal of professional school counseling
    programs is to facilitate student development
    toward effective life-role participation.
  • Professional school counselors must initiate
    appropriate developmental guidance activities in
    elementary school (e.g., self-awareness,
    curiosity) and facilitate culmination of this
    process with assistance in the transition to
    school, work, and a variety of life roles.