Academic journal article The Agricultural Education Magazine

Facilitating a Career Development Process in Agricultural Education

Academic journal article The Agricultural Education Magazine

Facilitating a Career Development Process in Agricultural Education

Article excerpt

"So, what do you want to be when you grow up?" How many times do you think you've heard this question in your lifetime? Personally, I would estimate that it's probably been several hundred times. I'd also venture to guess that the most frequent response from most youngsters would sound something like, "I want to be a fireman...I want to be a police officer...I want to be a lawyer. Some of you might be saying, "Hey, why don't students mention being an agricultural economist, environmental lawyer, food scientist, or agriculture teacher?" Now don't get me wrong, I'm a tried and true "aggie" but because agriculture isn't taught within most public schools, the odds that 'Johnny' or 'Mary' will aspire to a career in agriculture without some type of exposure to the field of agriculture isn't very realistic.

We all know that the mission of agricultural education is to "prepare and support individuals for careers..." and that most of us do a great job of this. However, I would argue that "preparing students for careers" is not the same as "facilitating career development." Webster ( 1999) defines preparation as "to make ready" or "training." That said, you could say that the mission of agricultural education is to actually make students ready or to train them for careers in agriculture. Sounds noble, but is this really what we want?

Many times students do not have the necessary information or assistance to help them make decisions that would engender success in their educational and career paths (Arrington, 2000). So, perhaps a more important question should be, "What are we doing to facilitate the career development process of our students?" Career development refers to the lifelong psychological and behavioral processes as well as contextual influences shaping one's career over the lifespan (Niles & Harris-Bowlsbey, 2002).

Careers unfold and develop throughout the life course. Hughey and Hughey (1999) state that, "one goal of career development activities is to facilitate career decision-making and help students learn the process of making career decisions" (p. …

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