I’m just about to head off and dive into the iCeGS symposium. I’m kicking things off with 10 minutes or so on theory and I’m going to hand out the following text. Thought I’d share it with the blog for further debate and disagreement.
Theory Questions (10 questions in 10 minutes)
I thought that I would try and set out 10 questions that would help to orientate the way we see the theory that underpins the study of careers and the giving of careers advice.
These questions are a starting point for thinking rather than an attempt to be definitive.
How can the concept of career be understood? What is it important to take into account when considering how individuals pursue their careers through the labour market and society?
1. What about change? How important are social and economic changes in your thinking about career? Do theorists and careers professionals have a role as agents of change?
2. Do you believe in free will? How far do you think an individual’s career is an outcome of the social and economic structures that they find themselves in and how far is it an outcome of their own agency?
3. What is a career? How is the concept of career constructed? Does it relate to a series of definable stages or is it something more fluid that is repeatedly constructed through narrative?
4. What is your discipline? What discipline does the study of career most belong to?
5. What role do formal interventions have? Where do formal interventions such as IAG fit into a wider career theory?
What underpins the interventions that professionals make in people’s careers?
1. Why are you doing it? Why is career guidance useful? As a practitioner are you engaged in a process of support and smoothing for clients (amelioration) or in a process of changing their consciousness and the structures within which they operate (reform/revolution)?
2. Who are you serving? As a guidance professional are you most focused on the opportunities that are available (employers), the social function you are being asked to play (usually mediated through government policy) or the aspirations of your client (independence).
3. What are you? What professional grouping should guidance be considered to be a part of? Are guidance professionals educationalists, counselors, youth/social workers or involved in labour market management? Is there enough common ground for it to be considered as one profession?
4. What are you doing? How do you see the guidance intervention? Is it about teaching lifelong career management skills or about providing a critical intervention. Are you teaching people about career or supporting their career decision making at key points in their life?
5. How do you do it? How should guidance be delivered? Does the one-to-one conventional IAG interview have a special place in your practice? Are you equally happy delivering career via one-to-one, classroom/group sessions, online, through computer mediated guidance systems or via experiential learning e.g. work placements? Could you imagine guidance without the one-to-one interview?