Becoming Adult How Teenagers Prepare for the World of Work

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Author, Barbara Schneider, Author, Barbara Schneider, Joint Author Basic Books $27.5 (320p) ISBN 978-0-465-01540-5
Are American teenagers getting the preparation they need to be ready for tomorrow's jobs? In a five-year study, psychologist and bestselling author Csikszentmihalyi (Flow; The Evolving Self; etc.) and sociologist Schneider (The Ambitious Generation) collected data on more than 1,000 middle- and high-school students across the country. Their findings: ""The average teenager has quite positive educational, occupational and lifestyle expectations."" About 80% expect to complete four years of college, and many hope for careers in the professions--a pattern that holds across race, ethnic, class and gender lines; indeed, expectations among African-American, Hispanic and low-income youth tend to be higher than those of affluent whites. More troubling, though, is that teenagers generally lack realistic knowledge about their preferred careers, and schools don't necessarily help them develop the skills and attitudes that Csikszentmihalyi and Schneider believe will best prepare them for the rapidly changing workplace. Adolescents, they argue, need a solid foundation in math and science. They also need opportunities to experience ""intense concentration in any activity that requires skill and discipline,"" and that teaches them to enjoy challenge. Individual projects and community internships, among other programs, provide such experiences, yet sadly, they are seldom available to lower-income families. The authors interpret their data clearly, discuss the importance of parental guidance and role modeling from other adults, and offer sensible recommendations for educational policy. Sure to be of major importance to educators and social scientists, this study will also benefit parents and general readers. (July)
Reviewed on: 05/01/2000
Release date: 05/01/2000
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 289 pages - 978-0-465-01541-2
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