The Internationalization of Educational and Vocational Guidance

Article excerpt

The authors identify and discuss the main themes from the discourse on the internationalization of educational and vocational guidance at the 2004 Symposium on International Perspectives on Career Development, cosponsored by the International Association for Educational and Vocational Guidance and the National Career Development Association. Participants from 46 countries discussed international perspectives on and comparative features of educational and vocational guidance. They concentrated on issues of designing and adapting models, methods, and materials for career education and counseling. Three additional themes revolved around the importance of public policy initiatives, training enough practitioners to meet the growing international need for career services, and the promise of information technology for expanding the delivery of educational and vocational guidance and for supporting career counselors.

Globalization of the world's economies is causing diverse cultures to become more alike through trade, immigration, and the exchange of information and ideas. It is also changing the way the world works. Today, individuals around the world are experiencing a transformation in forms of work, the social organization of occupations, and the personal experience of careers (Herr, Cramer, & Niles, 2004). This break with past practices in the work world has been accelerated by rapid advances in information technology and the emergence of knowledge societies. In response, educational and vocational guidance practices in many countries are changing to better assist the world's workers adapt to their new situations. As occupational roles have become more alike in different countries, guidance practices in these countries have also become more similar. This growing similarity among guidance practices in many countries has made it possible to envision the internationalization of educational and vocational guidance. This international perspective may be evolving, in part, because more counselors are receiving their training abroad and more counselor educators are attending international conferences and studying abroad. Through the exchange of information and ideas in international journals, Web sites, and national conferences with international participants, the internationalization of guidance even touches counselors who choose to stay at home. Internationalization of guidance denotes the process of designing career interventions and services so that they can be adapted for local use in various languages, regions, and cultures. Internationalized applications of guidance interventions should be easily adapted to the customs and languages of users around the world. The localization of these practices, of course, requires the addition of local components, data, and sensitivities.

The internationalization of guidance differs from cross-cultural and multicultural approaches to guidance. A cross-cultural approach examines how cultural differences in developmental, social, and educational experiences affect both individual vocational behavior and career guidance practices. A multicultural approach seeks to transform guidance so that it critiques and addresses holistically current shortcomings, failings, and discriminatory practices in career services while advancing social justice and equity. We view cross-cultural guidance as comparing features between countries and multicultural guidance as comparing features within countries among diverse groups. In comparison, internationalization of guidance deals with the process of "globalocalization," which means importing general knowledge about work, workers, and careers and then adapting it to the local language, customs, and caring practices of each country (Savickas, 2003).

To promote the internationalization of guidance, the International Association for Educational and Vocational Guidance and the National Career Development Association cosponsored the 2004 symposium on International Perspectives on Career Development. …

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