Teaching Career Development: A Primer for Instructors and Presenters 2nd Edition

Book Review By Judy Ettinger

Eds. Note - this book review originally appeared in the web magazine in 2016. Because of its significance to today's readers, we are re-running the book review now.

Teaching Career Development: A Primer for Instructors and Presenters 2nd Edition
Author: Debra S. Osborn, Ph.D. Copyright NCDA: 2016. 205 pages.

Teaching CD 2nd edThe second edition of Teaching Career Development reasserts the importance of teaching career development through undergraduate courses, graduate courses, in K-12 settings, online platforms, and in professional presentations. Published in 2016, this is one of the many NCDA monographs. The author, Debra S. Osborn, focuses on key components that should be taught with a special emphasis on active learning strategies. Within the publication there is an opportunity for the reader to reflect on current practices by completing worksheets that assist in solidifying concepts and generating ideas for the future. Osborn takes both a historical perspective and also has an eye towards the future as she contemplates the place of traditional teaching styles, active learning strategies and delivery of instruction virtually.

Challenging the Instructor’s Engagement
One of the challenges that Osborn encourages the reader to explore is one’s engagement in both higher order thinking and active learning strategies (ALS). Osborn talks about six stages of higher order thinking that begin at knowledge, move to comprehension, then to application, analysis, then to synthesis and finally to evaluation. She not only talks about higher order thinking conceptually but she also describes how activities can be transformed into higher order thinking activities. For example, a Level 1 activity might be to “Locate an article on a Fortune 500 company and identify what makes it successful”. Moving this to a higher order thinking activity might take one to the following assignment: “Locate and compare articles on two Fortune 500 companies and identify what makes them successful. What sacrifices seem to have been made? Were the sacrifices worth the outcome? How would you apply these factors to your program?”

Resources for Implementing Active Learning
This publication also strongly supports the use of an Active Learning Strategies (ALS) classroom and provides a description of important factors to consider as one creates an ALS Classroom that teaches career development to students and staff. Active learning includes experiential learning, inquiry-guided learning, and problem-based learning. Examples of these strategies are provided within the publication. Osborn understands the type of risk one takes as they move from a lecturing mode to an ALS classroom and has charted the amount of instructor risk needed versus the intensity of active student engagement. She recognizes the stress that is created by moving out of a low risk classroom which focuses on Stage One to one that focuses on higher order learning strategies. In response, she has provided a number of strategies and resources that will make that move easier for the instructor.

Issues with Online Instruction
For those readers who are contemplating delivery of a career development course online, there is a chapter that walks the reader through the decision of whether to teach online or not, forms of online teaching, myths of online teaching, and pros and cons of delivering a course electronically. She also considers ethical issues that might arise when one is teaching online. Those ethical recognize how access might impact on a student’s ability to succeed. For example, not all students might have hardware that would support the graphics of certain activities and others might have a slow internet connection that makes learning tedious and unpleasant. Privacy is also an ongoing concern. In addition, students may not feel and comfortable posting personal feeling and opinions online; they could be copied, forwarded or even misinterpreted. Another issue is knowing that the student completing the online course is the student who enrolled for the course. It is easy to pass around passwords and IDs so integrity is an issue that can come up.

Moving from Instructor to Presenter
It is uncommon to find a chapter on professional presentations in a publication such as this however the author recognizes the importance of making professional presentations to fellow colleagues who are also working in the field of career development. For many, professional presentations can result in difficulties and stress as one wonders if they will measure up to professional standards. Osborn does a fine job of walking the reader through the steps needed for putting together a quality presentation and then delivering that presentation. She begins with identification of what to share, where to present, and the importance of knowing one’s audience. The planning of the presentation is critical as one begins to assemble content. She also walks one through the process taken the day of the presentation and the adjustment midcourse when the unexpected happens. She emphasizes the important of timing, handouts, and evaluation of the presentation with a focus on what can be improved in the future.

Author Shares Experiences
The author includes an appendix and index containing many worksheets. Examples include: Quotes I Like, Create a Concept Wheel, What I Need/Want to Do on Day One of Class, Assignment Analysis Table, Online Teaching Rating Exercise, E-Teaching Quiz, What I foresee in My Virtual Class, and Taking Your Temperature – How Burnt Out Are You?

In summary, this book can help the reader see the “lights come on” in his/her classroom and audience when teaching a career development class. Osborn has experience in the classroom and doesn’t hesitate to share both the challenges she has faced personally and the successes that she has experienced.


This book is available in the NCDA Career Resource Store


Judy EttingerJudy Ettinger
, Ph.D., works at the Center on Education and Work at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is a GCDF Master Trainer and Instructor. She has been working at the Center for over 35 years and during that time has worked in the role of instructor, project manager, researcher, author, counselor, coach and supervisor. She can be reached at jmetting@wisc.edu



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