Notes for Achievement, Careers, and
School of Family and
Consumer Sciences 400.404/504
Instructor: D. Witt
Challenge - Concentration -
Keeping in mind that
children and adolescents are developing within the confines
of their culture and society, there is the question about
whether or not the individual can keep up with social and
cultural change. The pace
of global change could influence adolescents to
adapt to societal and academic pressure, as well as to
encourage them identify strategies for reaching their goals.
Adolescents’ efforts to investigate
for themselves have an ongoing influence and appear
to be predictive of success in later life.
Elkind's Hurried Child is one theoretical response
to social and global change as it relates to the developing
individual. His view (some years ago in fact) is that
parents who are feeling pressure to generate family income
to the exclusion of individual family member development and
feelings of security, have the tendency to produce two
"types" of maladapted children:
Elkind points out that: success in life requires work on the
part of both parents and children. He mentions, as a partial
solution to the Hurried child, the importance of contracts
made between parent and child that will mediate between the
- the Hurried Child with demanding,
authoritarian parents, is forced to make life
decisions early, before he or she is developmentally
prepared to do so.
- and the Spoiled Child with lazy,
permissive parents hardly ever makes any decisions.
- It is Elkind's contention that the healthiest
position for a young person to be in is somewhere
between these two extremes. Citing the hours teenagers
work at part time jobs and the pressure brought on by
having to make actual career choices (college majors)
by the eighth grade, Elkind sees a real danger that
today's teenagers are at-risk for anxiety at the
minimum, and possibility stress related illnesses. He
cautions parents to offer relief from stress instead
of adding to the problem.
Such contracts could center around school achievement and
educational goals, and the extent to which these are
mediated by outside, leisure activities..
- individual freedom and individual responsibility
- commitment and loyalty
- support and achievement
Extrinsic motivation (encouraged
discouraged by external consequences) and intrinsic
curiosity, challenge, or knowledge) represent two major
factors that influence adolescent achievement. Motivation
can be influenced by the degree to which adolescents believe
they are self-determined and have personal choices and
responsibilities. One theorist, Csikszentmihalyi, describes
flow as optimizing motivation and
concentration resulting from agreeable levels of challenge,
concentration, and mastery.
Three types of mastery have been identified regarding an
individual's response to a challenge:
Parents, Teacher attitudes, and public policy all have both
direct and indirect effects on a teenager's responses. When
parents and others have high expectations for an adolescent,
that adolescent benefits. Mentoring improves adolescents’
mastery in school. College students can be mentors for
children and adolescents and play an important role in their
- Mastery orientation—focus is on the
task, show enthusiasm, generate solution-oriented
strategies Self-efficacy is the belief in an
ability to master a situation similar to mastery
- Helplessness orientation—focus is on
personal inadequacies, difficulties attributed to
- Performance orientation—focus is on
winning and success, not the process and skill
Goal setting, planning, and self-monitoring helps
Time Management, in turn, can help adolescents see progress
toward accomplishing their goals. Time management means
setting priorities and creating times plans, and it is a
learning process - a skill. Obstacles to achieving goals
include procrastination, anxiety, and the tendency to
protect one's self-worth by avoiding failure.
- define manageable short-term and long-term goals
- set specific and challenging goals
- measure progress toward those goals.
- manage time effectively
Ethnicity and culture
influence on achievement by children and adolescents of
minority groups. - Cultural differences may
influence students to demonstrate distinctly different
goals and patterns of achievement. The influence of
socioeconomic status, racial prejudice, conflicts in values
between minority and majority cultures, and characteristics
schools in large cities are easily mistaken by both
teachers and students to be “ethnic deficits.”
Cross-cultural examinations of adolescent performance
clarify the impact of teachers’ focus on academic subjects,
number of days in school, parents’ expectations, and
assistance for student achievement. Specifically, U.S.
students perform poorly in math and science in
cross-cultural comparisons of the top 25 percent of students
in industrialized nations.
Achievement - The
achievement orientation that characterizes U. S. culture
is "meritocracy", at least in principle, in which all
citizens are supposed to have an equal opportunity to
excel in school and work. As the story goes, only those
willing to work hardest will be rewarded the most. Is this
true ... in all cases ... in most cases? There is an
argument that idea been superseded by more selfish
orientations, and by the notion of privilege and
entitlement. Concepts like competition and
self-reliance stem from American Pragmatist philosophy -
Wm. James, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and John Dewey. The idea,
whether in school, at work, or on the gridiron, is to
devastate the competition by being better - to win at all
costs. Thus, Achievement Motivation involves the question
of why people behave, think, and feel the way they do
about getting ahead - What is the reasoning behind
competition? McClelland asserts that individuals vary in
how much achievement motivation they have - and that such
motivation can be measured. He terms it: "n" achievement, or
the need for achievement which:
- develops through interaction with others
- depends on the competitiveness of those others
- is reinforced by cultural standards to which the child
has been exposed (expectations).
- and the big factor, after living in a democratic
culture, was found to be independence training
Theories of Vocational Choice
Other theorists added to the
concept of Achievement
by considering the Achievement
Standards of the Culture.
In order think
about achievement standards, we have to decide against
what rule or measure we will judge our success? (something
your school administrators often fail to do
themselves). What are our models for success?
We often use superlative words like excellence
to describe ourselves, when we have little in the way of
actual measures of the term.
In the case of the developing teenager, these concepts are
personally owned, although they are externally derived,
through interaction with:
- friends who maintain high academic standards
- classmates in a school that maintains high
- groups of peers who maintain standards of dress or
behavior (again the importance of the peer group
Atkinson described another variable in the recipe for
achievement motivation he called Hope for Success
(Hope + Persistence - Fear
of Failure = Performance Outcome)
sounds a little like W.I. Thomas' famous self-fulfilling
prophecy known as The Situational Hypothesis
that are perceived as real will be real in their
(Weiner) - attempts to account
for the causes of success and failure - Here people are
defined as rational beings that want to know why they are
behaving the way they are. Knowing will help the cope
effectively with situations that confront them in the
future. Thus we attribute
causation to our behavior
(whether or not the
cause is real). When we do not know the causes of
our behavior, or the behavior of others, such behavior
will not make sense. We want to be able to attribute
qualities to success that are different from the qualities
Locus of Control
(the perceived location of control
over our lives. One who makes their own decisions and
feels is in control of his/her decisions and behaviors has
an Internal Locus of Control.
- Internal Factors are those events we can control
- External Factors - what we cannot control
- Stability factor - is it luck or ability - variable
following American history up
to the 1950s, suggested that American Society has moved
- an Inner Directed Locus of Control (early
pioneers, self-reliance, pragmatists) to
- an Other Directed Locus of Control (from
the industrial revolution to the 1950's, working for
the good of society and the group) to
- an Outer Directed Locus (from the 1950's to
now, dissatisfaction with oneself, searching for more
than life gives us.).
It was also about this time (the 1950s) that social
scientists thought they detected Social Class
Differences in Motivation.
- Middle class kids are more likely to exercise delayed gratification
in decision making while
- Lower / Working class kids are more likely to
stretch without delaying gratification.
They also thought they noticed Gender Differences
- boys are trained to be instrumentally competent
- girls are trained to be affectively competent and
have lower expectations for success in instrumental
- By the 1960s "Learned helplessness" emerged
as a a clinical term that could be applied to normal
- It is the belief that the rewards received are
beyond personal control. Failure is expected and
attributed to a vacant talent pool.
Likely, all these theories
are mediated by an additional motivating factor - occupational or vocational
choice. For many university students,
their happiest day in college is not the day they
graduate, but the day they finally decide on their major
after thinking it through, talking to classmates, and
spending some time with an adviser who cares enough to
Ginsberg's Stages of vocational choicing:
Super mention's self-concept
relation to vocational choice,.which is developed
in adolescence (keep Marcia's Identity Achievement theory
- Fantasy stage until 11 yrs. - kids imagine what they
want to be without concern for abilities.
- Tentative stage - 11-17 yrs - a period of transition
as kids are beginning to use evaluative skills to place
- Realistic stage - 17-late 20's - extensive search of
available occupations, focusing on the market and
specific training relevant to specific jobs.
Holland emphasizes personality types/traits and
vocational choice: Here individuals attempt to select
careers that match their perception of their personality.
- After some degree of sex-role identity and
self-acceptance, around 14-18 years of age, adolescents'
ideals about work that "mesh" with what they already
know about the world CRYSTALLIZE.
- Around 18-20 yrs. they narrow their vocational choices
and initiate behavior (SPECIALIZATION) that will enable
them to engage in some type of career.
- By 21-24 yrs. the IMPLEMENT their education and
training - entering the work force.
- By 24-35 yrs. they STABILIZE in a specific career.
- By 36+ they advance their chosen careers and reach
higher within their career status (CONSOLIDATION).
persistent view of adults that teenagers are lazy and
uninformed, we know that many teenagers actually work more
than their studies would allow. Part time work for
teens: 75% of all teens would work if given the opportunity.
Among those who do work, average 16-20 hours per week with
10% of them working over 30 hours each week in addition to
school. The benefits of work are developing an
increased sense of responsibility, self-esteem, competence,
and independence. The challenges are that jobs are
usually repetitive, routine, and low paying. Studies
consistently indicate that students who work more than 20
hours a week will pay for it in terms of academic failure
and low achievement, while reports also indicate that more
and more teenagers and college students are working more
than 20 hours per week. The dilemma: everything costs
more, especially college tuition, and work to help lower the
need for student loans interferes with school work, putting
the entire college endeavor in jeopardy.
- Realistic / masculine traits, physically strong,
practical and little social competence, truckers,
farmers, construction workers.
- Intellectual / oriented toward abstract thought,
thinkers and not doers, avoid interpersonal relations
and like math and science.
- Social / feminine traits - verbal stills and
interpersonal relations - people (unpaid) professions.
- Conventional / distaste for unstructured activities
- Bank tellers, secretaries, social service workers.
- Enterprising / leadership through verbalization,
dominating people, selling people on either issues or
products. Sales, politics and management.
- Artistic / expression, avoiding interpersonal
situations - art and writing.
In terms of actual growth in vocational fields (see http://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2007/dec/wk5/art04.htm)
The Bureau of Labor Statistics sees growth in your fields of
study - specifically over
the 2006-16 decade, professional and related occupations
and service occupations are expected to grow faster than
any other occupational group. Employment in each of those
two major occupational groups is projected to increase by
17 percent, compared with 10 percent for overall
employment. Within professional and related occupations,
computer and mathematical science occupations are
projected to grow by 25 percent—more than twice as fast as
the average for all occupations. But growth is projected
to be slower than it was during the previous decade as the
software industry matures and as routine work is
increasingly outsourced abroad. Fast growth in community
and social services occupations reflects an aging
population expected to require assistance from social
This accounts for over half the growth in expected 8.1
million jobs. Of course, these projections are from
2007 before the breakdown of some of our financial
institutions in late 2008. This brings up an important set
of points to make.
How to Get a Job after finishing college with a degree in
Family or Child Development.
First some points to which all college graduates should
Interpersonal Skills Development
Develop a Professional Appearance for interviews -
neat clean clothes appropriate for the work, a nice smile,
and pay attention to patterns of speech. Employers are
going to be ready to train you to do the specific work
they need, and they are counting on you to be ready to
learn the practical aspects of the job. Be ready to
sell yourself as that person - bright, eager to learn,
ready to give back to the community.
Consider the values they are looking for (taken from a job
performance questionnaire): :
Develop basic computer skills word processing, typing
skills, and maybe some familiarity with a spreadsheet are
almost a necessity.
- How well
does the worker complete tasks?
- Does the
employee satisfy your performance standards?
- Works at job
- Works at
- Carries out
timely information about absence, tardiness, or desired
job-related information to other employees
- Does not
disrupt or interrupt others
clarification for instructions
- Arrives at
work on time
what needs to be done next
- Offers help
appropriately to criticism
appreciation to co-workers
does not interfere with work
what others are saying
- Uses social
Develop organization skills by learning to work efficiently
Learn to visualize
Your Credentials: Major, Minors, and Certificates for
Use your time in college to acquire more than one credential
(your diploma). Use your elective credits to qualify for
majors, minors, and certification programs.
Use your internship to gain entry into the work that you
want to do.
Volunteer your time in places that interest you. Young
people are usually, by definition, inexperienced. Your
internship is a way to get experience fast. Read the
want-ads in the newspaper long before you need a job.
Find the jobs you think you'd like to have, and arrange for
a pre-employment interview. Find out what it takes from the
specific employer's point of view.
Resume and Samples of your abilities
Make up a portfolio of your skills, written work, special
projects (such as your internship report), and be ready to
supply a copy on request.
Put together a professional page on the internet that
includes your resume, and portfolio.
As you begin to look for employment, use all your resources,
friends who have jobs, newspapers, the people you know
through internship and volunteer contacts.
And don't forget your advisers, major professors, internship
supervisors, and others who know you and your work
Start looking for your job before you need it by asking
for pre-employment interviews. When ready, go on all job
interviews, whether or not you think you'd like to have
Take the best job you can get and be ready to move up and
away from it as better ones come along.
Some people have a resume that reads like this: For
the last five years, I have been in college. It was fun
and now it is time for me to go to work. I need a job,
so please hire me.
Other's have this