The future role of guidance practitioners in preventing drop out
Theoretical background Presently Europe is facing a key challenge to keep young people in the educational system, to maintain and to stimulate their motivation to develop as humans and professional in spite of the devastating economic crisis Europe is going through. Many see guidance as a key element in making this happen. However, in the Öresund region every fifth young person does not complete a youth education in spite of a massive focus on guidance of and support to young people in education. This paper presents findings from a Nordic project: “The future of career guidance and educational counseling” in which researchers and guidance practitioners from youth education institutions and guidance centers worked together in a research circle. A research circle is a method for developing practice which focuses on the interconnectedness between research based knowledge and experienced-based knowledge and on building knowledge on equal terms (Härnsten, 1994). The idea is that research circles support knowledge creation as a joint venture where joint venture focuses on both the development of theory and the development of practice (Mørck & Huniche, 2006). Purpose and Design The overall purpose of the circle was to investigate how future guidance practices can be structured in order to prevent young people from dropping out of the educational system. More specifically the practitioners in the research circle looked into the way in which how young people experience guidance practices and, they also made experiments with group guidance over a period of 18 months. In the analyses of the empirical material they looked for explanations for the drop-out rates and formulated possible suggestions to the way in which the role of guidance practitioners can be envisioned in the future. Findings, conclusions and implications for practice/ future research The findings suggest two major foci of change in future guidance practices. Firstly, future guidance practitioners should be seen more like social architects who are capable of instigating social practices in which young people can exchange their experiences, get proper and relevant advice rather than being looked at as expert professionals who provide information in 1-to-1 relationships with the young people. Secondly, the guidance practitioner should be given more credit for and responsibility as a kind of organizational catalyst in social systems. This implies that guidance practitioners are given a mandate in and also provided with educational skills by their organization that makes it possible for them to instigate and support activities which stimulate organizational coherence for the young people. However, more knowledge is still needed into why young people drop out and importantly, the challenges and limitations in doing guidance as we propose in this paper. References Dreier, O. (2009). Persons in Structures of Social Practice. Theory & Psychology, 19(2), 193-212. doi: 10.1177/0959354309103539 Härnsten, G. (1994). The research circle - Building knowledge on equal terms. Stockholm: The Swedish Trade Union Confederation. Mørck, L. L., & Huniche, L. (2006). Critical Psychology in a Danish Context. Annual Review of Critical Psychology(5). Persson, S. (2009). Research Circles – A Guidebook: Centre for Diversity in Education, R&D Children and Youth Directorate, City Office www.malmo.se/mangfaldiskolan. Reason, P., & Bradbury, H. (2001). Handbook of Action Research. London: Sage Publications.
research circle; career guidance; preventing drop out; young people; social architect; Vejledning; Ungdomsforskning