Posts Tagged ‘Career Development’

Middle Grades CTE: Teachers and Leaders

Tuesday, June 16th, 2020

There is widespread agreement that high school is too late to begin to expose learners to careers and the foundational skills needed to access and succeed in careers, but there remains a lack of consensus about what CTE and career readiness should entail at the middle grades level.

Advance CTE, with support from ACTE, convened a Shared Solutions Workgroup of national, state and local leaders to identify the core components of a meaningful middle grades CTE experience. This collaboration resulted in Broadening the Path: Design Principles for Middle Grades CTE and a companion blog series exploring each of the core programmatic elements of middle grades CTE defined in the paper. In this sixth entry in the blog series, we will examine the core programmatic element of teachers and leaders.

Delivering quality CTE experiences in the middle grades is contingent upon a cadre of educators with the necessary content knowledge and pedagogical skills. Educators working with middle grades students need specific, relevant content knowledge about career pathways as well as skills for working with middle grades students. While there are often shortages of CTE teachers at all levels of education—a situation that will likely be exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic—creativity and flexibility related to licensing and scheduling can help address this need. Professional development and other supports are critical not only for educators and administrators, but also for counselors, advisers and other career development professionals who provide career advisement to middle grades students.

States have implemented a variety of requirements and supports to facilitate quality instruction in middle grades CTE. In Ohio, middle grades students have access to both career exploratory courses and, in eighth grade, courses that are the equivalent of high school CTE introductory courses. For these high-school-equivalent courses, instructors must hold the appropriate subject-area-specific CTE teaching credential, but for other middle school CTE courses, only a standard teacher license is required. This allows the state to access a broader pool of teachers and alleviates some concerns about teacher shortages. To ensure that they possess the skills and knowledge to effectively teach middle school CTE courses, these teachers must complete online modules that cover the pedagogy of a CTE class and CTE standards.

To integrate grade 6-12 education and career planning more holistically across the education system, Georgia has developed a Teachers-As-Advisors Framework. The framework is linked to the National Career Development Guidelines and includes goals organized by grade level and by three domains: career management; academic achievement, educational attainment and lifelong learning; and life skills. For instance, career management goals for grade 6 address understanding decision-making processes, locating career information sources and trends, and identifying key 21st-century employability skills. The framework enables teachers and other professionals in the school system to support students in their career development.

In Arizona, AZ GEAR UP has partnered with the AZ College Access Network to provide online training focused on postsecondary access and career planning. Module 4: College and Career Advising in the Middle Grades addresses the skills and knowledge required to counsel middle grade students for college and careers, including career exploration, planning and transition, and the value of postsecondary education. Middle school teachers, administrators and counselors are encouraged to participate in this module, which is offered by AZ GEAR UP for free.

As you reflect on this element of middle grades CTE in your state, district or school, consider such questions as:

For additional resources relevant to CTE educators in the middle grades, check out the Middle Grades CTE Repository, another deliverable of this Shared Solutions Workgroup.

By Kate Blosveren Kreamer in Middle Grades CTE
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