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Reconsidering career education in secondary schools: Counsellor and student perceptions of career counselling

Truong, Hanh Quah Theresa (2014) Reconsidering career education in secondary schools: Counsellor and student perceptions of career counselling. Masters by Research thesis, Murdoch University.



Career counselling is central to facilitating high school students’ postsecondary goals. Research studies have revealed student dissatisfaction with career guidance, but how do counsellors respond? Dialogue between counsellors who provide guidance and students who are discontent with career planning services is scarce. Counsellor and student opinions need to be collaborated and communicated to each other for practical and relevant practice. This thesis considers counsellor and student perspectives to inform effective career education in secondary schools.

A mixed methods approach was used to examine existing policies in place at one Ontario high school. A survey of 35 Grades 11 and 12 students assessed student initiative towards, and opinions about, counselling. Interviews with 2 counsellors provided a more in-depth understanding of the counsellor-student discourse, contextualised realistic practice, and suggested methods to manage student expectations and needs.

Findings indicated complementary results. Students were largely confident in their postsecondary goals, but a smaller percentage credited counsellors for their success. A majority of students sought advice from their counsellors, but responded differently on the quality of guidance received. Many Grade 12 students felt they were not receiving enough exclusive and specific attention. Counsellors’ multifaceted responsibilities did not allow for special attention to the graduating class. Differences between counsellor and student perspectives lay in their respective opinions about effective practice. However, both parties felt more counsellors or lower student-tocounsellor ratios would benefit their working relationship and improve provisions for student needs.

Results suggest the need to better define counsellor and student responsibilities. Assessment of student concerns and counsellor responses support a proposal to infuse career development into other high school subject areas. Career education needs to encourage student independence and enforce student accountability for their career development.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters by Research)
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Education
Supervisor(s): Perry, Laura and Schibeci, Renato
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