Academic journal article International Electronic Journal of Elementary Education

Structural Relationships among Variables Affecting Elementary School Students' Career Preparation Behavior: Using a Multi- Group Structural Equation Approach

Academic journal article International Electronic Journal of Elementary Education

Structural Relationships among Variables Affecting Elementary School Students' Career Preparation Behavior: Using a Multi- Group Structural Equation Approach

Article excerpt

Introduction

As the Fourth Industrial Revolution unfolds, transforming and disrupting many existing models and processes, the job market has come to be characterized by instability and unpredictability. Resultantly career education, especially for adolescents, is now a subject of great importance. Some developed countries are developing and operating career development programs from the elementary school level in order to prepare for such a future society (Coogan, 2016). Recognizing this, the Korean government enacted the Career Education Act (June 22, 2015) and the Enforcement Decree of the Career Education Act (December 22, 2015) to establish the basic direction and a support system for career education, which included putting in place national career education goals and achievement standards. The government has also placed specialist career teachers in secondary schools and introduced a system for career education in primary and secondary schools.

The 2015 amendment specifies the goals of elementary school career education as being creating a positive selfconcept, recognizing the importance of employment, and fostering basic career development skills through developing key skill-sets such as job searching, planning and preparation (Ministry of Education, 2015). Career education in elementary schools focuses on the career recognition stage. In particular, the 5th and 6th grades of elementary school are seen as a vital time for students to consider and even select their own careers, and a time when it is necessary to provide opportunities for systematic career searching (Lee, Lee, & Lee, 2016). In recent years, several studies (Ahn, 2008; Chung, 2014; Gushue & Whitson, 2006; Han & Cho, 2016; Han & Oh, 2014; Seo, 2016) have been conducted on the variables that affect career preparation behavior and how they fit into career education for adolescents. In particular, variables that have been studied extensively in career preparation behavior research include parent support, career decision self-efficacy, and career maturity. Career preparation behavior is usually understood as the concrete and practical behavioral efforts undertaken in the process of achieving career goals. Career preparation behavior should be undertaken as part of the process of finding a reasonable and suitable career, and it includes all actions to implement a decision about a career after that decision is reached (Kim, 1997). Parent support is an environmental variable that represents the perception of children about the way that their parents provide educational and occupational efficacy information (Ahn, 2008). Parent support is information that allows children to believe that their parents are caring and loving, that they are proud of their children, and that they are members of an accountable communication network (Cobb, 1976). Following Ahn (2008), in this study, the researchers define career-related parent support as the perception of children about how their parents provide educational and occupational efficacy information. Hackett and Betz (1981) applied Bandura's concept of self-efficacy to career development theory as an important cognitive variable affecting career decision process. They conceptualized 'career self-efficacy' specifically for the individual's efficacy related to career choice and adaptation. Career decision self-efficacy can be defined as beliefs about the individual's ability to successfully perform tasks related to career decisions according to the definition of Hackett and Betz (1981). Career maturity is defined as the degree to which an individual understands and evaluates himself/herself and selects and adapts his/her career path (Chung, 2014).

Previous studies demonstrate positive relationships between the variables of parent support, career decision self-efficacy, career maturity, and career preparation behavior. Firstly, Gushue and Whitson (2006) and Pečiulytė, Ustinavičiūtė, and Norvilė (2014) found that there was a positive relationship between high school student's parent support and career decision self-efficacy (Pečiulytė, Ustinavičiūtė, & Norvilė, 2014). …

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