Finnish guidance counselors’ conceptions of career management skills
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The world of work is constantly changing due to various factors including globalization and technological advancements. Responding to this change, career theories and career education paradigm have evolved. The current paradigm emphasizes individual agency and the development of career management skills (CMS). Many countries are increasingly integrating career education in their school curricula and focusing on developing students’ CMS. Finnish career education is a leading practice in the world. Yet, there is limited research on how career education is implemented in practice. Since implementation derives from teacher conception, this study aims to explore Finnish guidance counselors’ conceptions of CMS. This is a phenomenographic study intending to discover the qualitatively varying ways participants conceive CMS. Eleven guidance counselors from lower and upper secondary schools were interviewed. During the analysis process, transcripts were read and visited repeatedly to remain faithful to the data. Therefore, the study results stem from the data alone. The findings show how Finnish guidance counselors conceive CMS. Guidance counselors conceive CMS as (1) information-based knowledge, (2) personal skills development, (3) interpersonal skills development, and (4) autonomous application of skills. These four hierarchical categories are differentiated into five dimensions of variations: understanding of CMS in curriculum, responsibility, teaching practices, evaluation, and attitude. This study contributes to the field of career guidance by providing a tool for practitioners to map and develop their own conceptions of CMS ...
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