guidance and counselling in 21st-century education

the British Journal of Guidance and Counselling is looking for ground-breaking articles

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Bill Law
5 June 2015

Dr Frans Meijers - editor
Dr Deidre Hughes - editor
Dr Bill Law - consultant

A changing world brings change in the way people manage their careers.  What that means for people's lives and for professional responses needs to be thoroughly understood.  The British Journal of Guidance and Counselling has therefore commissioned an editorial team, listed above, to develop a special issue examining why change is occurring and how it is being managed.


  • the challenge

The 21st century society is a ‘risk society’.  Surviving and thriving means managing lives proactively.  People are enabled to develop career narratives which articulate their life experience.  And, in this process, the development of critical thinking is increasingly important. 

In uncertain times students need to find explanations concerning both their inner lives and the social and cultural world they live in.  This is especially important for people who do not readily find opportunities that reflect their needs, wishes and abilities. 

All of this means that up-to-date guidance and counselling cannot be separated from overall educational reform.  But we must face a critical tension between progressive and regressive tendencies - in both education and careers work.  

The journal's special issue will, therefore, examine innovative solutions originating in both careers work and education.  


  • the possibilities

The editorial team has a particular interest in academic articles setting out thought and action concerning...

  1. ...students learning critical thinking and developing a career narrative
  2. ...learning cultures managing the troublesome emotions evoked by significant learning
  3. workers attending to students' feeding-back their experience and harmonising that with a feeding-forward need for systemic change
  4. ...educators dealing with the conflicts between demands for recordable outcomes and the importance of transferable processes
  5. ...programme managers considering the values of outsourcing for resources and the marketisation of products
  6. ...leadership styles emerging for careers-work programmes run by individual career workers, or in shared responsibilities or in emerging collectives

Six examples can only indicate the possible range and scope of thinking. This is not an exhaustive list of topics.  The development of 21st century careers work and education calls for deeper and wider thinking and action.


  • your response

The editorial team is looking forward to receive proposals for articles from you and your colleagues.  They should be sent to

Deirdre Hughes at 


Frans Meijers at

Kindly note:

> proposals should include the title, an abstract of no more than 500 words, and names of authors - including contact details for the corresponding author

> please submit proposals by September 1st 2015

> full papers will be requested for submission by April 1st 2016, but should be submitted earlier if possible.

You can open initial contact, for any enquiries, by e-mailing one of the three members of the editorial team.

Feel free to circulate this information among your colleagues.

Meanwhile, you can make a general response to these ideas by registering above and contributing to the discussion below.


Extra content

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Dave Redekopp
3:34pm 30 June 2015

I would be interested in reading articles on topics such as:

  • the role of education in balancing two processes - creating 'passion' (i.e., helping children form values/beliefs/interests), and recognizing/leveraging inherent/intrinsic 'passion' (i.e., building on strengths/personality traits; giving over to who the child really is) - recognizing that these need to shift as the student develops
  • what would education look like if it was in the service of career development (vs. career development being in the service of education, which always seems to be the default assumption)? (this may be an article I submit)
  • how can the drivers of the opportunity structure  (e.g., economy, employers) meaningfully participate without dominating the agenda?


Clair Leitney
4:36pm 11 April 2017

A relatively inexpensive reform specifically addressed to low-SES students would be to run a few pilot programs in low-SES areas focusing on improving vocabulary in the pre-K and early elementary grades. 
Research shows that low-SES students start school with dramatically smaller vocabularies than middle/high-SES students. Common sense suggests that, if you have a smaller-than-average vocab, you will have greater-than-average difficulty learning new words from context and will have greater-than-average difficulty reading in general. The low-SES students who start school with a very small vocab will fall further behind in vocabulary size each year and will fall further behind in reading level generally each year. Reading and school work in general will become increasingly difficult/frustrating as the students move through later elementary and middle school. Frustration will encourage minor misbehavior. If many/most of the students in the class are similarly frustrated, the minor misbehavior will become endemic and reinforced by peer pressure. 
If all this is true, we could perhaps short-circuit this cycle by improving the pre-school/early-elementary-grade vocabularies of the low-SES students. Much easier to do than ending poverty and much cheaper than providing improved social services (although both would be sensible long term goals). And, it would be easy to implement/test in a few pilot programs.


C Leitney

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