12/01/2007

Book Review: Experiential Activities, Volume Two

Book Review By Sally Gelardin

 

 

The Contents

 

In this second volume of Experiential Activities for Teaching Career Counseling Classes and for Facilitating Career Groups, two very important topics are emphasized: technology and diversity. In addition, the second volume contains all the handouts as PDF files on an accompanying CD. It also includes more activities that can be used with elementary and secondary school students. Following the 76 activities, the book contains four appendices: (a) author biographies, (b) topic index, (c) handouts index, and (d) guidelines for experiential activities, with an invitation to the reader to submit activities for future volumes.

The Editors and Contributors

Editors Carole Minor and Mark Pope "walk their talk." The authors of this second volume of creative ideas and activities are committed to supporting NCDA's mission to enhance the preparation of counselors and other practitioners in facilitating the career development of all individuals. The authors, as well as their 59 contributors, are role models for the rest of us. They practice what they preach, generously sharing activities that apply career competencies.

The Audience

The intended audience is career counselor educators, career educators, career counselors and other practitioners. Career practitioners can use these exercises with clients and students of various ages, depending upon the activity. The activities can be used for teaching career counseling classes and for facilitating career groups.

The Process

In order to create these activities, each contributor first had to reflect on the principle, phenomenon, or idea that is illustrated by the activity, set forth learning objectives, describe the expected outcomes of the activity, specify target population and describe other criteria such as

  • group size,
  • time required,
  • setting, materials,
  • instructions for conducting the activity, discussion, references, and
  • suggested background readings.

What Makes This Book Special?

By viewing the wide range of activities created by career educators and practitioners, we have an opportunity to reflect upon how we can both use their activities with our clients and students, as well as create our own activities, perhaps even submit them for inclusion in future editions of Experiential Activities.

Titles of most of the activities are enticing; such as the following: "What are Hats For?" (Sherred), "Who Wants To Be a Millionaire?" (Craven), and "A Virtual Career Scavenger Hunt" (Osborn).

The CD with 34 handouts in PDF format is a very helpful addition to the book. Practitioners can print out the handouts, all of which include a reference to the volume, authors, and publisher.

Reviewer Suggestions to Improve the Book

  • In addition to "Learning Objectives" for each activity, it would be helpful for the contributors to describe how the learner and practitioner/educator will know if the learner has met expected outcomes or if, as a result of performing the activity, unexpected outcomes occurred. Some of the contributors included an assessment component in the discussion, in the handout, or in other sections of the activity, but it would be helpful to include an assessment of learning outcomes under a separate "Assessment of Learning Outcomes" heading.
  • It would be helpful for the authors and publisher to find out how practitioners are using the book. An evaluation questionnaire could help the authors create future editions that meet readers' perceived needs and desires.
  • Some of the activities' content would be better condensed or broken up into more sub-headings and paragraphs.

Conclusion and Moving Forward

The format for the activities in Experiential Activities for Teaching Career Counseling Classes and for Facilitating Career Groups is so appealing to the reviewer that she has adapted it to other publications and incorporates it into CDF and other training programs. The activities allow the career competencies to be digestible and applicable to everyday work/life.

The authors' concept of offering activities with specific criteria, created by a variety of experienced career educators and practitioners, makes sense. Writing a book with contributions of others spreads the wealth of knowledge more efficiently and effectively than if the two authors had composed all the activities by themselves. By including exercises designed by leading career educators, the authors set a precedence of excellence for teaching career counseling classes and for facilitating career groups.

To go a step further, we could encourage our clients/students to adapt the activities to their own life/work and even to create their own activities, in which they apply the career competencies.

Thanks to Carole Minor and Mark Pope and to their contributors, this volume of career activities gives us a glimpse into how real learning does and can take place.

 


 

This book is available in the NCDA online Career Resource Store


Sally Gelardin photo

Dr. Sally Gelardin is a career educator/counselor and author of The Mother-Daughter Relationship and Starting and Growing a Business in the New Economy: Successful Career Entrepreneurs Share Stories and Strategies (NCDA, 2007). She created Entrepreneur Kits and the Job Juggler's online employability course for career educators/practitioners and their clients/students (www.EntrepreneurKits.com, 2007). Most recently she co-developed, with Donna Christner-Lile, a Family Caregiver Counselor Certificate Program (www.AgingWorks.org). She can be reached at sal@gelardin.net


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