Teachers and counsellors both know how important middle/ elementary school development is. Schooling can be a time of transition and a gateway to the student’s potential future. Career development is important in elementary and middle school. This is not the time for making premature career decisions or making career preparations. Career development is a process that continues throughout one’s life. Students can explore new career possibilities and career ideas throughout their career development process. Teachers and counsellors can help students be prepared for their future career plans. Students create their visions for what they want to do in life and how they can contribute to society.
Need for Middle/ Elementary School Career Development
Many middle and elementary school students are not aware of the importance of school to their lives. Therefore, they use a career education curriculum to learn about the links between school, Twenty-first Century Skills, and school. Students gain self-awareness, intrinsic motivation, positive self-concept, and problem-solving skills about career options.
Benefits of Middle and Elementary School Career Development
Helping students reach the following goals in elementary/ middle school careers awareness will lay the foundation for future job exploration.
- Know your personality traits, interests, and aptitudes.
- Respect for diversity and awareness in the world of work
- Understanding the relationship between school performance (and future choices)
- A positive attitude towards work
Here are some positive outcomes for students who engage in career development activities
- An increased understanding of the world work can lead to greater opportunities for a variety of careers
- You will have the ability to make informed decisions, and solve complicated career information problems.
- Skills development in academic, personal, as well as teamwork
- Amplified career awareness and self-esteem. Sense of direction. Motivation for persistence.
Gradually, students who participate in career programs will drop out.
Models of Elementary and Middle School Career Education
There are major career development options.
- National Career Development Guidelines
- 21st Century Skills
- New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards
- Missouri Comprehensive Guidance Program
National Career Development Guidelines
The National Career Development Guidelines are designed to help you develop your career and skills. The NCDG Guidelines have three domains. They also include goals and mastery indicators.
These domains are:
- Personal social development (PS)
- Educational Achievement and Lifelong Learning
- Career Management CM
The following are the stages of learning competency:
- Knowledge Acquisition. Knowledge Acquisition (K) is the stage where students increase knowledge awareness and develop comprehension. They remember, recognize, define, clarify, clarify, clarify, discuss and explain.
- Application. Students who are in the application stage learn to apply knowledge to situations and their own lives. They search for new ways to use this knowledge. They can demonstrate, explain, solve, and even perform the knowledge.
- Reflection. Students at this stage of reflection analyse, synthesize and judge, as well as evaluate and value knowledge, in line with their goals, values, beliefs, and personal beliefs. They decide whether or no to incorporate new knowledge into their response to current situations and adjust their behaviour accordingly.
One example of the Personal Social Development domain is:
- HTML1.K2 Identify what your strengths, abilities, skills, and talents are.
- PS1.A2 Describe your skills, abilities, and talents.
- HTML1.R2 Examine the impact of your skills, abilities, and talents on your career.
21st Century Skills Model
The 21st Century Model (and Skills) is the result of the combined efforts of education and business. This collaboration results in a 21st Century Learning Framework. It outlines the fundamental learning, innovation, and technology skills needed to succeed at work today. A rich and well-designed learning environment supports creating, remembering, analysing, understanding, and evaluating. The 21st Century Model is designed to help people develop their knowledge, skills as well as motivations, values, and attitudes.
The following three key 21st Century Model areas of expertise are:
- Innovation and learning
- Digital literacy skills
- Learn life skills and career skills
Within them Skills for Life and the Career The emphasis is on:
- Flexibility & adaptability
- Leadership and self-direction
- Social and cross-cultural interactions
- Productivity and accountability
- Leadership and responsibility
New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards
The New Jersey Department of Education Content Standards connects the 21st Century Model with elementary/middle school career awareness.
- In the K-5 grade, students are taught how 21st Century living skills interact with personal, academic, as well as social development. These areas cover everything from basic financial literacy to career awareness.
- From grades 6-8, personal financial literacy and 21st Century lifestyle skills are developed. Students investigate careers, academic and individual interests, and aptitudes.
The New Jersey Department of Education provides four career education standards.
- Standards 9.1,9.2, and 9.3 include career skills and life lessons within the K-12 curriculum.
- Standard 9 offers specialized, career, and technical education skills for grades 9-12.
These standards apply to the following areas:
- Career awareness (grades K-4
- Career Exploration (grades 5-8)
- Career Preparation for Grades 9-12
A good example of one objective is:
Standard 9 – Use your knowledge to understand and plan for career exploration and preparation to navigate the highly competitive information age work environment.
These are examples of standard 9.3:
- 9.3.4.A.4 Identify required qualifications to pursue traditional or other careers and occupations.
- 9.3.4.A.5 Get career information using a variety of resources
- 9.3.4.A.6 Show why knowledge and skills in the elementary grade are essential for your future academic or career success
Missouri Comprehensive Guidance Program
The Missouri Centre for Career Education is a centre for career and technical learning that offers research, professional development, and an innovative instructional resource centre.
The Missouri Centre for Career Education is:
- Academic Development
- Career Development
- Personal and Social Development
The Big Ideas in each Strand CD: Area for Career Development are:
- Big Idea – CD.7. Career Exploration and Planning Skills for Success in Life Career Goals
- Big Idea CD 8. Knowing where and how to find information about the world of work and post-secondary education/training
- The Big Idea: CD.9. Developing Employment Readiness Skills, and the Skills to Make It Work.
The Big Ideas serve to build curriculum concepts and behavioural targets.
These are examples of HTML7 Big Idea
- Compare strengths and interests with those of global workers.
- Describe changes in occupational roles that have occurred throughout the six (6) career paths.
- Describe the feeling of satisfaction when you complete a work-related responsibility.
Tips for Finding the Right Elementary/Middle School Career Development Program
The National Career Development Guidelines, 21st Century Skills, and New Jersey Department of Education’s Content Standards are the basis of the key elements of a career program. They provide information on how to link job interests, key characteristics, and college majors with hobbies, skills, and related jobs.
Teachers and counsellors are aware that students have a variety of needs.
- You are curious
- You will love multimedia presentations that are vibrant and colourful
- To improve attention span and concentration, memory skills, comprehension, and understanding, use colours
- Explore your career options using your imagination and senses
For students’ assistance, teachers and counsellors can use career awareness programs.
- Explore career opportunities
- Encourage awareness of career interests, capabilities, skills, as well as values
- You can search for meaning, purpose, or direction.
- Look for potential careers that align with children’s interests.
- Know the connection between education, training, specific occupations
- You can find tools to help students plan and realize their potential.
- Clarify thoughts and integrate new knowledge to promote critical thinking
- Learn new information that will help you understand the concepts better
- Attention and retention are key to absorbing information
Middle and elementary development curriculum include career assessments, assessments, games websites, and books. The programs should be entertaining, informative, and not boring.
There are many career development programs available:
- Eye appealing
- Easy to use
- You will find plenty of resources
- These products are suitable for students’ needs
The best career education tools encourage students to explore their options. Your students will be able to explore their options through creative career tools. It is important to answer the question “Whom am I?” in your career development lessons. The question “Who am I?” and “What should my adult career look like?”
With the right resource, students can:
- Ask questions
- Find out who they are!
- Increase your knowledge, wisdom, and understanding
Steps to select the Right Career Development Program for Elementary/Middle School Students
How can you choose the best career awareness program? Three major areas are highlighted:
Ask these questions when looking at a career-education curriculum:
- What would you like to see your students do?
- What’s your budget for curriculum development?
- What resources are you able to use? Do you have a computer room?
These are the next steps:
- Find a middle/ elementary career awareness program that is relevant to your students. This will give valuable information about the careers available and help you choose the right one.
- Look for career lessons that follow well-known career patterns.
As students age, students will continue to learn about career models to increase their knowledge of themselves, their careers, and the college majors they choose.
Students can use career education curriculum to:
- Learn and use the academic material
- Be yourself.
- Develop self-esteem, confidence, and self-worth
- Establish relationships between the school environment, the school environment, and the workforce by identifying interests.
- Incorporate academic career tracks into classroom activities
- Learn communication, problem-solving, social, and academic skills
- Increase awareness about future job skills
- Find out the links between school learning, academic skills, job-related skills, and career opportunities
- Find out about career options
- You can see yourself as a contributor to the future workforce
- You can get empowerment
- Create self-determination
After completing the career-development lessons, students are:
- Higher grades
- Higher academic achievement
- School participation is improved
Increased career awareness in exploration and interpersonal skills