An examination of the career aspirations of Irish children within the framework of goal contents theory
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Aims: This study explored the following questions: (a) what are students‟ career aspirations and goal contents? (b) are there predictive factors of students‟ career aspirations and goal contents? (c) how do students‟ career aspirations compare with those found in older studies, within the framework of Goal Contents Theory (GCT)? (d) what are the implications of students‟ goal contents? Method: A qualitative survey which included two-questions and a drawing activity was conducted by the researcher, with the assistance of the class teacher. Across nine primary schools, 209 fifth class students, aged between 10 and 11, were included in the current study. Students' goal contents were coded thematically, using the framework of GCT. Quantitative analyses were conducted to explore possible correlations between students‟ career aspirations and gender, SES (Delivering Equality of Opportunity in Schools (DEIS) or non-DEIS school), gender make-up of the school (male, female or co-educational) and location (urban or rural). Gender and SES were also examined as predictors of students‟ goal contents. Results: Students reported 92 different career aspirations. The majority of students expressed intrinsic goal contents while a minority expressed extrinsic goal contents. Gender significantly predicted students‟ career aspirations with males being more likely to pick a career in sports over other careers. Females were as likely as males to aspire to a non-professional career as a professional career. Females reported more careers than males. Students attending a DEIS school were more likely to aspire to a non-professional career than a professional career. Gender significantly predicted students‟ goal contents while SES did not. Location and the gender make-up of the school did not correlate with students‟ career aspirations. Conclusions: GCT is a useful framework for exploring students‟ career aspirations. GCT possesses implications for well-being depending upon the type of goal contents. Although careers that would generally be associated with extrinsic aspirations, such as youtuber have grown in popularity, the majority of students expressed intrinsic goal contents.
Goal content theory
Self - determination theory