Title Career Learning as a Success Factor for Lifelong Learning
Project Number 510069-LLP-1-2010-1-NL-LEONARDO-LMP
Project Type Development of Innovation
Country EU-Centralised Projects
LL is one of the pillars of the EU employment strategy, lifelong guidance is by extension pertinent to EU and national employment strategies. The Cedefop report on modernising VET 2009 confirms the importance of Information, advice and guidance (IAG) for achieving the Lisbon goals. However, these targets are not reached, IAG has to be modernised. In recent research the need for a holistic, not fragmented approach in IAG appears as a major issue. A promising concept is the notion of career learning, i.e. in essence to connect the self to work.
In some EU countries, schools started projects based on the idea that personal agency is the key to success. Self-efficacy, resilience, adaptability, responsiveness to change, self evaluation, critical reflection are stipulated as dispositions that students need to cultivate in order to prosper in the early 21st century. Schools are experimenting with concepts such as portfolio and personal development plans.
However, the idea that students are responsible for the development of their own learning is not without problems. Effect studies and brain research question the ability of younger people to become self-directing and to shape a career identity. Decision-making is apparently a complex process. However, the partners stipulate that education can and should contribute to this objective of personal agency; hence, the question is to which degree can the development process be accelerated or promoted?
Recent research shows that career guidance is often restricted to giving the right information, mostly in the form of a monologue. Students, however, prefer a dialogue, wanting to be taken seriously in these matters. Finally, the theory and training practices developed by Dweck concerning growth and fixed mindsets look promising here.
The partners of the project feel committed to examine these theories in connection with their own situation and to develop some practical applications for a balanced approach of personal agency.
Nowadays society demands people to be capable of self-directing their professional and personal lives. Everyone has to make choices, has to handle changes, has to deal with uncertainty. Most people cannot do this by nature, they have to learn it. The lifelong learning (LLL) policy of the EU is a way to stimulate and facilitate citizens to enlarge their capability of self-directing their career. This policy will be more effective if young people are involved from the start. The best place to learn this is in school when pupils/students have to make choices with regard to further education and career. However, Dutch research shows that the current way in which this is organized in schools is not very effective.
A promising approach is guiding pupils in a dialogic way at their development of a work-identity: the concept of career-learning. Therefore, this project starts from the hypothesis that career-learning is a success factor for LLL. The project will produce new work methods, supportive instruments and materials, specifications and outlines for teacher training and finally a strategy on how to implement this.
The partners are fully aware of the differences in school systems, roughly to be divided in the academics (EN, ES, FI, PL) and the vocationals (BE, AT, DE, NL), and qualify these differences not as hindrances, but as a positive dynamic factor for real learning during the project.
The project group will work in close consultation and co-operation with 8 local student and with 8 teacher panels. This co-creation method will supply a balance between the local situation and the general (evidence based) concepts. At the same time it will offer a good view on and concrete examples of suitable ways of implementing these new policies and work methods.
A website will be built to create digital workspaces for participants in the project as well as a means to disseminate, to monitor and to report on the project.
Reforming career guidance provision runs the risk of associating the improvement of career guidance for example with reducing drop out, rather than continuously supporting all students to learn career self-management skills, a universal preventive and educational approach. Positioning such skills as an integral part of general and vocational education is more likely to bring about long-term work force preparation and development benefits than could be achieved by external and time-bound impulses and funding. It could be the ultimate new skill for new jobs because this career learning is about the complex and personal nature of career decision-making: issues of personal identity, values, and the role of work in one’s life. Career learning is a blend of information and guidance and career-related activities to help young people discover who they are. Career learning is not only integrating the ‘what’ en ‘how’ but above all the ‘why’ of learning; therefore, it could be the true motivator for initial school learning as well as for further lifelong learning.
Reforming work methods and practices of schools cannot be designed behind a desk. Innovations in schools will be successful if firstly, teachers and trainers are really involved in the development process. Secondly, if a good training programme for teachers is available, a programme developed in close cooperation with the target group, i.e. teachers. Therefore, this project will develop scenarios, work methods, supportive materials for the benefit of student career guidance and learning, and the outlines and design criteria for teacher training programmes. Where possible existing materials from the partners will be integrated in the intended new work method and teacher training programme.
Reforming student career guidance makes the involvement of students in the development process desirable in a comparable way as for teachers. Therefore, local student panels will have a prominent position in this project.
Utilization and distribution of results
Information and Communication
* Guide for Teacher and Student Panels.
The guide will provide the participants with their context and role in the innovation process. For the work sessions it will provide: work methods , time schedule and the content.
* Digital reader and bibliographies
* Key findings of student and teacher panels per partner country
* Synthesis of Findings: concluding report on the teacher and student panels across the partnership