Career Education in Middle Schools
Many middle school programs can help students plan for a career even if they do not provide specific training for a vocation. The most effective programs combine general middle school education strategies with vocational education. Middle school student can explore career options by doing the following:
- Recognize ones interests, aptitudes, and abilities, and understand adult roles.
- Understand the broad scope of work and career possibilities available currently and in the future.
- Broaden aspirations beyond the stereotypes of gender, socioeconomic status, and ethnicity.
- Integrate vocational and academic education to promote intellectual development, and the acquisition of higher level thinking and problem-solving skills.
- Focus on development of social skills, personal values, and self-esteem.
- Learn how one can successfully live and work in a culturally diverse world.
- Seek assistance from family members that support career aspirations.
Career planning is integrated into middle school curriculum in several ways.
One way is Work-Related Skills Development. Curriculum can introduce students to the world of work by providing career information and by integrating learning with working. Students can participate in monitored work experiences, pre-apprenticeships, entrepreneurships, job shadowing, and community and neighborhood service. These experiences can also help schools prevent students from dropping out. An important part of curriculum involving work is support from adults. These adults include parents, school staff members who act as advisors, brokers, troubleshooters or behavior modifiers, and community and business mentors.
Another way for students to learn work skills is to integrate teaching them with teaching academic skills. Academic skills are learned by performing certain vocational tasks which provides a real world context for academic skills.
Students can learn academic subjects, integrate the use of technology, and explore career opportunities in the community by studying local hospitals, restaurants, and other places of business that provide goods or services.
Adapted from the article “Preparing Middle School Students for a Career .” © 2006 parentsassociation.com/. Reprinted with permission. Visit http://www.parentsassociation.com/education/mid_school_career.html to read the full text.