We explore the possibilities of career intelligence through this week’s practical tips

We’ve learned about multiple intelligences, been told to develop emotional intelligence in ourselves and in others, dabbled in the notion of moral intelligence and now career intelligence is making its debut. But what does this old friend in new clothing actually mean for professional learning leaders?

Practical Tips Since the days when good old ‘intelligence’ was what was focused on in schools, we’ve seen big changes to the meaning of the term. We now embrace the concept of multiple intelligences, seek to develop each one, and integrate skills into a better rounded ‘whole’. Emotional intelligence stole the limelight for a while until we all absorbed it into the very fabric of what we are trying to achieve with young people. Next came moral intelligence, and the drive to focus on the skills to determine what’s ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ and the myriad shades of grey in between. Now, however, the latest in this run of intelligences seems to be ‘career intelligence’, and very timely it is too.

The great thing about career intelligence is that it is not necessarily innate and can certainly be developed over time. If you’re keen to develop career intelligence in the staff you work with, or at least an understanding of the concept and the potential benefit this kind of thinking can have on careers and wellbeing, consider these ideas:

  •  It’s good to keep abreast of the ways in which careers are developed and aspirations managed in other schools, not just for professional learning leaders but for all staff too. Aim to encourage dialogue between schools as well as within your school for this purpose.
  • How can teachers and other staff get a feel for promotional roles in your school in order to make an informed decision about where they may want to go next? This kind of information is a crucial contributing factor to career intelligence. Get staff members talking and shadowing.
  • Think about developing an in-house CPD bulletin for staff in your school which carries a regular reminder to hone career intelligence skills.
  • Just as your school has a development plan, teachers and other staff can adopt this approach too with an individual development plan and link it to whole school priorities.
  • Encourage the informal mentoring of new staff, particularly those who are new to the profession. There are great reciprocal benefits to these arrangements.
  • Being aware of what causes frustration and what causes joy and excitement in a career is sometimes surprisingly difficult to determine, yet essential if maximum potential is to be derived. Encourage staff to be aware of these features of their working lives.
  • Explore the extent to which staff members consider themselves to be physically and mentally fit for their careers. Each dimension of our wellbeing – physical, mental, spiritual, emotional and so on – contributes to the degree to which we are able to focus on our careers and the professional and personal development which can further them. Looking at the bigger picture for an accurate perspective will help staff to determine when it is appropriate to push forward and when it is best to consolidate.
  • Blended careers are worth exploring for the career intelligent. Traditionally these have tended to be linked careers, but increasingly people are diversifying and exploring very different skills through a range of simultaneously pursued careers. For example, one teacher I met recently worked as a teacher and an air hostess, spending alternate months flying and supply teaching. As a ‘career’ supply teacher she diligently worked on her skills through professional and personal development, balancing this with a career in the air. Perhaps an extreme example, but increasing work flexibility makes options like this a possibility.

Quote of the Week

“Intelligence is not to make no mistakes, but quickly to see how to make them good.”

Bertolt Brecht

Issues and Information

Call for papers… Open Educational Resources

Open Educational Resources (OER) are teaching and learning materials that are free to those licensed to use them. Available online from the European Commission’s e-learning portal eLearningEuropa, OERs offer numerous advantages and opportunities for teachers and learners.

The materials available have evolved greatly over time, with a spirit of sharing and collaboration which is precisely what eLearningEuropa set out to achieve. Now, with improved technical platforms in place to help teachers to discover exactly what content is available and how it might best be used for the context in which they work, the resource looks set to become even better.

The portal’s publication eLearningPapers is inviting contributions in the area of OERs and has requested that the papers focus on one or more of the following themes:

  • Lessons learned and best practices within OER projects, tools and initiatives
  • New findings, facts and figures about OER development and usage
  • Discussion and position papers on how the OER movement can be supported
  • Pedagogical innovations and OER – does OER make any difference?
  • Transferability and usability of OER
  • OER as a way to create and support sustainable development
  • Business models around OER

 You can find writer guidelines on the eLearning Papers website.

You can also email [email protected]  to request more details.

The deadline for the submission of papers is 30 June 2008 with a provisional publication date of 30 September.

Career intelligence covers the skills and aptitudes which lead to a fulfilling and successful career. Crucially, it does not equate fulfillment and success with promotion and money! Rather, it encompasses a holistic approach to the experience of having a career.

This e-bulletin issue was first published in May 2008

About the author: Elizabeth Holmes qualified as a teacher at the Institute of Education, London and is the author of several books specialising in the areas of professional development and teacher well-being