02 SES 08 A, Assessing outcomes of VET
In the daily global challenges of educational and training activities, the importance to help students, mainly young kids, to develop a personal resilience is paramount. Entrepreneurial and digital skills, creative thinking are only some of the main key elements pointed out in the recently approved EU New Skills Agenda (EC, 2016). At national and regional level, the gap between the educational system and the job market is wider and wider, due to both the decrease of public investment in education and the rapid changes in the economic context where new skills are required. It is crucial, then, to strengthen the connection between schools and work through school-job rotation, apprenticeships, internships and extracurricular activities. These opportunities can be more effective if connected to educational pathways aiming at developing new requested skills, namely learning to "stay employable" and to grow the attitude of long life learning.
Anyone interested in understanding the dynamics that drive the movements of individuals in the labor market cannot ignore the recent psycho-social analysis on the dynamics of personal achievement). The aim of these studies is to identify the reasons why some people perform better than others in education, job and personal life. In particular, the research on mindset shows that a fixed belief by students that their failure can be permanent, can prevent academic success; on the contrary, it is important to teach students how their brain is capable of changing owing to challenges, as it helps them to persevere and develop a growth mindset (Dweck, 1986; 1988; 1995). Mindsets, according to Dweck, are beliefs connected to the implicit theory of intelligence: those who have an entity theory consider intelligence as a fixed quantity, while those with an incremental theory believe that intelligence is malleable and expandable.
For those with a growth mindset, the primary goal, regardless of the assigned task, is to improve by learning new strategies of resolution of problems; all circumstances, positive and negative, are exploited as an opportunity to achieve that goal. For this reason, it is crucial to identify which approaches and methods can better succeed in educating new generations to an incremental mindset. Recent studies have focused on the educational processes, identifying two approaches:
a) to work directly on the mentality of the students through psychosocial interventions (Dweck, 2013). The results of some studies show that the mere knowledge of the existence of the dynamic mindset (by reading articles or testimonies) can induce changes in the way people think about themselves and their lives. (Blackwell et al., 2007; Aronson et al., 2002);
b) to work indirectly on the environment by changing structures and practices at school or class level (Farrington et al., 2015; Eccles et al., 1991) in order to ensure a coherence between the context and the message.
This paper concerns the link between the training and educational practices proposed by the vocational training in Cometa Formazione VET school and the development of a proper mindset in line with the demand of the current job market. In particular, the research will analyze how vocational training, especially during the training experience, can develop a "growth mindset".
Cometa Formazione VET school has consolidated a practice structured in different services aimed at promoting the employment of its students through the acquisition of a greater awareness of themselves and the job market. This practice starts since the first year of school attendance through a training unit called “UF STAGE”.
The research will point out whether and to what extent the internship experiences affect the change of mindset and how the activities included in the UF Stage have an impact.
- Aronson, J., Fried, C. B., & Good, C. (2002). Reducing the effects of stereotype threat on African American college students by shaping theories of intelligence. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 38(2), 113–125. http://doi.org/10.1006/jesp.2001.1491 - Blackwell, L. S., & Trzesniewski, K. H and Dweck, C.S. (2007). Implicit Theories of Intelligence Predict Achievement Across an Adolescent Transition: A Longitudinal Study and an Intervention. Child Development, 78(1), 246–263. - Dweck, C. S. (1986). Motivational processes affecting learning. American Psychologist, 41, 1040–1048. - Dweck, C. S. (2006). Mindset: The new psychology of success. New York: Random House. VERSIONE ITALIANA: Dweck, C. S. (2013). Mindset. Cambiare forma mentis per raggiungere il successo. Franco Angeli. - Dweck, C. S., & Leggett, E. L. (1988). A social-cognitive approach to motivation and personality. Psychological Review. http://doi.org/10.1037/0033-295X.95.2.256 - Eccles, J. S., Midgley, C., & Lord, S. (1991). What are we doing to early adolescents? The impact of educational contexts on early adolescents. American Journal of Education, 99, 521–542. - Farrington, C. A., Roderick, M., Allensworth, E., Nagaoka, J., Keyes, T. S., Johnson, D. W., & Beechum, N. O. (2012). Teaching Adolescents to become Learner. The role of noncognitive factors in shaping school performance: a critical literature review. Chicago: The University of Chicago Consortium on Chicago School Research. - Yeager, D. S., & Walton, G. M. (2011). Social-Psychological Interventions in Education: They’re Not Magic. Review of Educational Research. http://doi.org/10.3102/0034654311405999
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