Tem'S Impact On Adolescent Thinking

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Taking a gap year and studying abroad is done by more and more students nowadays. They see the opportunity to gain international experience and to learn and improve their skills in another country. This phenomenon can also be called transnational educational mobility (TEM). TEM encompasses all temporary stays abroad between and during secondary and post-secondary education, which can be in formal as well as in informal contexts. It includes all students participating in a study abroad program, children, and adolescents who moved temporarily to a foreign country because of international migration, or young people who decided to take a gap year (Waibel et al., 2017). However, is this costly education worthwhile or is it a waste of money? Does your infant indeed learn that much that it in future has better career opportunities or is that just fairytale? This is important to study, so that in the future, parents have more objective information regarding the benefits of studying abroad. There has been a lot of prior studies on this topic, all discussing the effect that TEM has on adolescents. According to Patterson (2012), studying abroad has a positive impact. Students made lifelong friends, they created an interest in travelling around the world, want to explore different cultures and develop a more sophisticated worldview. However, with respect to career plans, just less than a quarter changed his or her plans because of their abroad experience and less than 40% was influence by TEM to acquire a job abroad. Carlson et al. (1991) had almost the same findings. They also concluded that the studying abroad group developed a passion for travelling, which plays a role in their general development. Students also develop personal knowledge, independence, social abilities, self-confidence, and cultural awareness. Their language proficiency also increases substantially. However, they concluded that more than half of the students created a new area of career interest and took courses that broadened their cultural and academic backgrounds. This suggests that their experience abroad enabled them to expand their academic and intellectual horizon. Another thing is that the students who stayed at home are more determined to achieve their career aspirations, because they have more clearly defined career goals.

Then we have Teichler and Janson (2007) who concluded that the international experience has helped students to get employed for the first time, and that those students are more superior in many professionally relevant competencies than nonmobile students are. However, they do not believe that their status or income on average is superior to those who were not mobile. And the students do not think that it made a career enhancement compared to formerly nonmobile students. Although the effect of TEM on career planning skills, transition into employment, and income or professional status, was already studied, psychological measurements on career maturity have, to my knowledge, not received enough research attention. Therefore, my research question is: What is the relationship between participating in TEM and making mature vocational choices, based on psychological measurements? This will be studied based on three psychological measurements: Career Development Inventory (CDI), Career Maturity Inventory (CMI), and Vocational Self Efficacy (Waibel et al., 2017). The contribution of this study will be to investigate the impact of TEM of adolescents making mature vocational choices with a different empirical method. In this study, the empirical method is the three psychological measurement inventories. With researching this, there can be reached a more stable conclusion regarding the positive effect of transnational mobility as ‘transformational learning experience’ in the process of vocational exploration (Waibel et al., 2017).

Theoretical Constructs

In this study, there is one main independent variable, namely the Transnational Educational Mobility. This variable will be measured through three different psychological measurements: Career Development Inventory (CDI), Career Maturity Inventory (CMI), and Vocational Self Efficacy. These measurements are necessary to determine if participating in TEM has an impact on adolescents making mature vocational choices. First, there is the Career Development Inventory (CDI). This is an objective, multifactor, and self-administering inventory, which measures the vocational maturity of adolescent boys and girls. It contains three scale scores: two of them are an attitudinal factor and one is a cognitive factor. The first one is A, Planning Orientation, B, Resources for Exploration, and C, Information and Decision-Making. The eventual score is a measure of career and vocational maturity, the manner in which adolescents handle the vocational development tasks with which they are confronted through society (Supper, 1973).

Second, is Crites’ Career Maturity Inventory (CMI), which is based on Super’s vocational development theory. CMI has been seen as an important construct in vocational development theory. Career maturity has seen to be the extent to which an adolescent has mastered developmental tasks appropriate to their career stage. This is related to the career choice process and career choice content. CMI includes Independence in career decision making, Compromise, Orientation, Decisiveness, and Involvement. Compromise measures the willingness of adolescents to compromise reality and wishes, Orientation is about being familiar and relatable to the decisional process, Decisiveness measures how certain one is about the career choice, and Involvement is about how active you are participating in the process of making career choices (Hardin et al., 2001).

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Last, we have Vocational Self Efficacy. Self-efficacy expectations are beliefs about someone’s ability to see which actions are required to achieve elected types of performances. They are considered to affect adolescents’ choice of behavioural activities and their behaviour when getting confronted with obstacles. Research of Hackett and Betz (1981) suggested that the beliefs of self-efficacy influence achievements and decisions concerning career. Other research found out that the beliefs of career and academic self-efficacy relate to indices of career choice behaviour and that it predicts the success in certain academic majors (Lent et al., 1989).

The dependent variable is mature vocational choices. In this study will be researched if there is a difference in vocational choices between students who did participate in TEM and students who did not participate in TEM. Making mature choices is very important for adolescents, because it determines your future life. The transition from secondary school to postschool education or an abroad study, is an important time for young people to think about the future and their occupational career. The choice of a certain vocation is a developmental task which must be paid attention to during their younger years (Volodina & Nagy, 2016). There a number of different theories about vocational choices, connecting it to career decisions. Two of the most important theories are those of Super (1956, 1963) and Holland (1973). Super’s first theory focusses on characteristics and the differences in abilities, personalities, and interests. In his later work he focussed on self-concept: the choice of career makes clear what kind of person he or she is, because this choice coincides with their own perception of themselves. Holland’s theory also highlights adolescents’ characteristics and determines that people in different vocational groups have similar personalities. Her theory is an example of a ‘person-environment fit theory’, which connects the satisfaction in a job with the congruence between personality and the work environment (Portnoi, 2009).

Donald Super’s Vocational Development Theory, is a theory which links the variables TEM and mature vocational choices. To evaluate his theory, he had to wait until the career maturity and other instruments were developed. Without these instruments, his theory could not be measured. Super knew that his theory was not testable. However, he saw it more as a segmental theory, with each segment providing testable hypotheses and eventually yielded an integrated theory. To test this, the hypothetical variables must be measurable, using qualified inventories. Inventories that were eventually developed to measure this are, for example, The Career Development Inventory, The Work Values Inventory, and the Career Maturity Inventory (Salomone, 1996). Transnational educational mobility has a positive influence on adolescents making mature vocational decisions. Making mature vocational choices depends not only on where you are studying, but with the years you are getting older and get more life experience. This will help you with making better and responsible choices. You do not necessarily need TEM for that. There will not be a big difference, if it will be, between adolescents who did and did not study abroad.

Research Design

The research approach that will be used is the deductive approach, because a lot of information is already known about the topic. However, it will be investigated on a different level with different variables, so that it is a new contribution. As well as that a survey will be used as measurement, which collects numerical data, which is not arguable, and it is quantitative. Using stratified random sampling the population will be divided into the group that will still be studying in their domestic country and a group that will be studying abroad (thus participating in TEM). The participating members will then be randomly chosen from these groups. In this way the study is totally random, which makes it objective. There is no bias in choosing which participants are allowed to participate and who are not. Sample size: because of the large number of students who and who do not participate in TEM, we have to use numerous participants to make the study representative. For this study we questioned 500 adolescents who did participate in TEM and 500 adolescents who did not. In this way, it is still feasible to process all the data and get a representative outcome.

Type of participants: this will be adolescents, boys and girls. One group who is planning to go study abroad for a year and the other group, the comparison group, who will be studying or working in their domestic country. Their psychological knowledge will be measured before they will start their new study and after one year. In this way you can conclude if people who did participated in TEM now make better mature vocational choices, or just the people who did not study abroad. Measure: I will use a survey to research my research question. This is the easiest way to collect a lot of quantitative data and to question many adolescents, which makes your study more reliable and representative. In this way your study becomes more objective. Also, the questionnaire will be divided into three parts, because the independent variable will be measured based on three psychological inventories.

The scale of measurement that is used in the surveys is the interval scale. Participants have to say if they agree or disagree on the quotations that are asked. Analysing: the analysing work will be done mostly by the computer. When making the survey, the participants will do this on the computer, which makes it easy to process the results. Also, the participants have to write their name down, so that after year, we can make a comparison between the two test results and see if there is a big difference. Based on those results, we can make a conclusion if adolescents who did participated in TEM developed making better mature vocational choices, or the adolescent who stayed at home.

A limitation of this study, is that it is only based on these three psychological measurement inventories and based on that a conclusion will be drawn. However, when getting more in debt in the subject, you will find out that this is a contribution to early findings and that there is a coherent story. What actually needs to be happening, is that someone puts all these findings together in one research paper and draw from all these findings a conclusion on the effect of TEM on adolescents making mature choices. Also it will always be a sample group of participants, so your findings will not contribute to everyone. With this study we were taking care of the research ethics. In this study it is necessary to know the participants name, so that we can compare the results of the two surveys they filled in. However, we used this data very carefully and made sure that this data would only be in our hands. In this way, participants their privacy would not be violated.

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