Zimmer Gembeck_Mortimer 2006

Zimmer Gembeck_Mortimer 2006 - Review of...

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Review of Educational Research Winter 2006, Vol. 76, No. 4, pp. 537-566 Adolescent Work, Vocational Development, and Education Melanie J. Zimmer-Gembeck Griffith University, Australia Jeylan T. Mortimer University of Minnesota This article examines the consequences of adolescents' employment experi- ences for vocational development and educational pursuits within varying his- torical and social contexts. Attention is directed to the changing social and cultural context for adolescent paid work, the balance of school and work, the influence of work experience on adolescent vocational development and edu- cational/career achievement, and theoretical approaches that guide contem- porary vocational development and career maturity studies. In light of current theories, research directions are suggested to enhance understanding of the influences of adolescent employment and work experiences on future educational pursuits and vocational pathways. School-based strategies and programs to promote adolescents' initiative, engagement, and vocational development also are considered. KEywoRDs: achievement, career development, employment, engagement, voca- tional development. Although working is an integral aspect of most teenagers' lives, in comparison to the vast literatures on family, peer, and school contexts, relatively little scholarly attention has been given to the developmental outcomes of adolescent paid employ- ment. Informed by our perspectives of lifespan developmental psychology and life course sociology, we review contemporary theoretical and empirical issues, with emphasis on how adolescent work experience may affect educational, vocational, and other development domains. Because adolescent engagement in paid work is widespread in North America, we also discuss future research directions that could build our understanding of the features of paid work that are positive forces in adolescents' concurrent and future lives, and we summarize ways that young people might be supported to take better advantage of their work experiences. We also suggest additional longitudinal research on vocational development that begins in preadolescence to enhance our knowledge of the normative develop- ment of vocational interests and establish the early antecedents of successful vocational trajectories. Our review is informed by Bronfenbrenner's (1979) dictum that multiple arenas of life must be considered in tandem to comprehend any one sphere's influence on human development. The use of this perspective as an organizing framework high- lights the social environment of adolescent development and the many activities 537
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that, when considered together, comprise the social ecology of adolescent life and influence the objective and subjective qualities of adolescent experience. We start with the macrosystem by providing some sociohistorical background on adolescent paid work. We then address how contemporary social and cultural contexts affect
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Zimmer Gembeck_Mortimer 2006 - Review of...

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