Career Development should Began as Early as Elementary School

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According to the article Career development in elementary schools: A perspective for the 1990s, career development should begin as early as elementary school. Personally, my memories of career education in elementary school are somewhat vague. One experience I do recall was the career day in which parents were invited into the school to talk about their job and why they chose their careers. As I entered middle school, I remember taking many different technology elective classes, each one having a specific area of focus. For example, one was about computers (learning Microsoft and Excel), another was more creative and artistic, and the last was basically a wood shop class. While I had a great time in these classes, it was never instilled in me that I may need these skills for a career.

In high school, there was definitely more of an opportunity to get involved with programs dealing with career options. However, I never took advantage of these programs. I went to a private catholic high school, and while the career planning and college process was left to the school counselors, there was also something called campus ministry led by the religion teacher. Campus ministry was a program where students could sign up to volunteer for several different things, such as working at a soup kitchen and going on trips to help build homes. In high school, one of the roles of a school counselor is to be the root of career planning. In my experience, I never had the opportunity to talk to my school counselor about my future or career planning. In fact, the only times I remember meeting with my counselor was once during my freshman year to be introduced to her and a second time when I had to hand in my college applications. Because I had such a limited amount of career planning and education, I was unsure about what I wanted to study during college. When I think back to this time, the one person whom I believe helped pave the way for college was my math and psychology teacher. He was the one who truly believed in me and gave me advice on how I could go about achieving my dreams.

Based on Eric Erikson's Psychosocial Stages, children in second grade are in the fourth stage, known as Industry vs. Inferiority. During this stage, social interaction and school play a large role in the development of children's self-confidence. This is the time where they are they are performing complex tasks allowing them to master new skills. If the child is not able to develop the skills they need in order to master specific tasks, they may end up developing a sense of inferiority. According to Super's Career Development Theory, second graders are viewed to be in the Growth stage of career development. This is the stage in which the development of self and self-concept occurs. At this age, children are just learning about whom they are based on the beliefs they have about themselves and how others behave around them. An appropriate career development education during this age may involve providing the children with visual representations of what careers look like. For example, showing a picture of a doctor and having them explain what a doctor's role is. By doing this, the children will be able to provide the information they already know, followed by learning more detail about what a career is.

High school students, on the other hand, are considered to be in the fifth stage of Eric Erikson's Psychosocial Stages, known as Ego identity vs. Role Confusion. During this stage, adolescence learns about the transition into becoming an adult. They are becoming more independent and are begging to think about the future in regard to college/career. In Super's Career Development Theory, adolescents are viewed to be in the exploratory stage of career development. In other words, during this stage, adolescents are learning about their career options and are beginning to sort through their options. An appropriate career development education during this stage in life would be providing students with a reference of career options.

High school students are aware of what jobs are out there. However, they may not know what the job entails or how to go about getting into that specific field. It is extremely important that they are provided with specific information to help lead them in the right direction.

The National Career Development Guidelines (NCDG) Framework is a set of guidelines of knowledge that youth and adults require for career competency. Under each goal is a list of knowledge and skills that one needs to achieve said goal. For second graders, based on the stage they are in, their element of career development is personal and social development. In this element, they have the goal of "developing an understanding of yourself to build and maintain a positive self-concept." Under this goal, there are several skills needed to achieve this element, such as identifying one's likes and interests and how you could use these interests in a potential career goal. An activity on the second-grade level that provides a career development education is to have the students choose someone they look up to, someone they consider to be their role model. After choosing their role model, they then have to explain why they are their role model and what it is this person does that makes them so important to them. This activity will provide the students with the opportunity to explain what is important to them and what they want to be like in the person they choose.

In High school, one important element, according to the National Career Development Guidelines, is an educational achievement and lifelong learning. In this element is the goal of "attaining educational achievement and performance levels needed to reach your personal and career goals." Many times, high school students have an idea about what they want to do or study in the future however, the path leading to the decision is very foggy. An activity that I believe would provide a career development education, in a way where they are learning about careers and how to increase educational performance to achieve their career option, is by having a career day at school. Career day is when parents are invited into the school to present to the students on their personal careers, achievements, and how they went about obtaining their job. This experience can potentially help students learn about their dream job, hear about careers they never thought of, and hopefully encourage them to improve their academic performance in order to achieve their future career goals.


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Career Development Should Began as Early as Elementary School. (2023, Mar 07). Retrieved May 21, 2024 , from

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