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Article

Barbara A. Kerr and Robyn N. Malmsten

There are many special characteristics and needs of gifted girls and women throughout the lifespan. As young girls, gifted girls can often be identified by early language development and precocious reading, and often need early admission to schooling, the opportunity for alone time, and encouragement and specialized training in the domains of their greatest interest. Adolescent gifted girls are often bored in school, conflicted about relationships and achievement, and eager for mentoring; they may need to advance through high school and early entry to college course-taking as well as strong relationships with master teachers and mentors. Gifted teens also need clear information about sexuality and sexual identity, particularly about the association of early sexual activity with lower achievement. Gifted women struggle throughout the world with gender relations, that is, the requirements by most societies that they bear an unequal share of the work of marriage and family life. How gifted women negotiate the dual demands of their societies often determines whether or not they will achieve eminence in their fields. Long-standing controversies concerning sex differences, women’s education, and definitions of eminence continue to have an impact on the educational and career development of gifted girls and women. Moderate sex differences favoring boys and men in sub-factors of cognitive abilities, like spatial-rotation abilities, continue to be highly publicized and are often interpreted to mean that gifted girls and women are less able than men to achieve in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields. Differences in adult gifted women’s and men’s STEM achievement are also attributed to preferences, when research shows that the most important variable associated with highest achievements are responsibilities in marriage and child-rearing, or gender relations. Controversies over single-sex education continue, with research both supporting and disputing the superiority of single-sex education for women; it may be that gifted women benefit more that average women from this kind of higher education. Whether single-sex or co-educational, the presence of a mentor may be most important to gifted women’s academic and career development. Finally, the concepts of eminence and genius are increasingly under scrutiny by scholars who claim they are highly gendered, with genius nearly always being associated with male dominated professions. Each of these controversies can affect gifted girls’ self-confidence, engagement, and persistence.

Article

Subjective well-being (SWB) emphasizes individuals’ emotional evaluation and cognitive appraisal of life quality, taking life satisfaction (LS) (both general and specific), positive affect (PA), and negative affect (NA) into consideration. Traditionally, SWB research has been conducted on adults; that on adolescents and young students has been limited. Moreover, SWB has generally been explored as an outcome variable related to people’s learning, work, relationships, and health. However, SWB should be considered a dynamic and agentic system that may promote an individual’s self-development as well as social development. Among student populations, SWB has been proven to affect academic achievement, health, and developmental variables such as personality, life quality, school engagement, and career development. Schools and higher educational environments are not only places in which young people acquire academic knowledge and capacities; they are also places in which students connect with others, develop their personalities, experience all facets of society, and construct their life meaning, sense of self-esteem, and career identity. Furthermore, from a developmental and constructive perspective, some empirical evidence supported the idea that SWB may be a pivotal variable affecting student development. Nevertheless, whether SWB can benefit development among young students is controversial, as is whether SWB is a predictor of individual development or a developmental outcome. Therefore, in examining the research beyond the relationship between SWB and health or academic achievement, studies on the contribution of SWB to student development must be reviewed.

Article

School-based professional development for beginning teachers must be seen as a dynamic identity and decision-making process. Teachers as lifelong learners from the beginning of their career should be able to engage in different forms of teacher education that enable them to progress their learning and development in ways that are relevant to their own individual needs and the needs of their schools and pupils. Teacher individual professional learning is necessary but not sufficient for sustainable change within groups in school and within school as an organization. It is helpful to consider three elements. First, note the importance to schools of recruiting and developing high-quality teachers. Teachers are among the most significant factors in children’s learning and the quality school education, and the questions why and how teachers matter and how teacher quality and quality teacher education should be perceived require serious considerations from academics, policymakers, and practitioners. Second, understand teacher education as career-long education, and problematize the issue of teachers and coherent professional development within schools, asking key questions including the following: “how do schools create effective opportunities for teachers to learn and develop?” Third, focus on the particular journey and the needs of beginning teachers because their early career learning and development will have an impact on retention of high-quality teachers. It is important that coherent lifelong professional education for teachers is planned and implemented at the level of education systems, individual schools, teaching teams, and individual teachers.

Article

Teachers’ quality and abilities are the most significant school-based factors contributing to student achievement and educational improvement. Helping new teachers in their transition and socialization into school contexts and the profession is important for their teaching careers. However, despite heavy financial and educational investments to enable their teaching careers, a large number of beginning teachers quit the profession in their first years. Researchers claimed that induction programs with effective mentoring in the early teaching years are capable of positively affecting beginning teacher retention and student achievement as well as reducing the waste of resources and human potential associated with early-career attrition. Due to the overall school leadership role, school administrators are responsible for ensuring that adequate teacher development and learning takes place in their schools. School administrators’ engagement is vital for the success of the induction and mentoring processes in schools. Implicit in much of the literature is that school administrators have an “overseer” or “manager” role in the teacher induction and socialization processes. In order to explore the administrators’ specific roles and responsibilities in induction and mentoring programs, the empirical literature that directly or indirectly makes reference to the formal or informal involvement of in-school or building-level administrators (e.g., school leaders, principals, head teachers, headmasters, and vice and assistant principals) in the beginning teacher induction and mentoring programs was reviewed. The review of the literature on role of the school administrator in teacher induction and mentoring programs elicited the emergence of the following four categories: (1) objective duties and responsibilities for early career teacher support; (2) types, patterns, and formats of support; (3) benefits and impacts of school administrators’ involvement; and (4) leadership and commitment to programs. Implicitly and explicitly, the majority of the sources indicated that school administrators had an overall objective responsibility for supporting beginning teachers’ personal and professional development due to their legal and rational role of duty as leaders for teacher development and support in their schools. Various formal and informal duties of school administrators were discussed in the reviewed literature, varying from informal interactions with beginning teachers to scheduled formal meetings and teacher supervision, whereas assignment of mentors to beginning teachers was the most widely detailed aspect of the school administrator’s role. School administrators were found to play an important role in teacher induction and mentoring program implementation through the provision of various types of support to beginning teachers. School administrators’ core tasks in terms of teacher induction program success included recruiting, hiring, and placing new teachers; providing site orientation and resource assistance; managing the school environment; building relationships between school administrators and teachers; fostering instructional development through formative assessment; providing formative and summative evaluation; and facilitating a supportive school context. Studies noted direct and indirect impacts of the school administrator on the effective outcomes of teacher induction and mentoring programs and ultimately, teacher retention and development. In contrast, researchers also found negative outcomes of school administrators’ perceived lack of involvement or provision of support for early career teachers. Finally, literature noted the significance of school administrators’ leadership and commitment to the program if teacher induction and mentoring programs are to succeed.