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Experiential Methods For Acquiring Self Knowledge Essay

1514 words - 6 pages

Experiential Methods for Acquiring Self-Knowledge

Do people ever know enough about themselves to determine the direction of their career journey? Various strategies have been developed to provide guidance toward this end; however, as the realities of work change due to such factors as global competition and new technologies, it is necessary to develop new awareness of self in relation to work. This Digest examines various processes by which learners of all ages, elementary to adult, can expand their self-knowledge--their interests and the importance of those interests to their personal satisfaction, their strength and weaknesses in relation to their interests, and the ways in which their interests and abilities are applicable in the changing social, economic, and work environments.

Self-knowledge is the first of three integral competency areas in the National Career Development Guidelines (National Occupational Information Coordinating Committee 1989). The guidelines address the progressive acquisition throughout life of (1) knowledge of the influence of a positive self-concept; (2) skills to interact positively with others; and (3) understanding of the impact of growth and development. Studies conducted by Anderson (1995) and DaGiau (1995) among others demonstrate the influence that increased understanding of one's self-concept and its effect on roles and relationships has upon career maturity. According to Anderson (1995), "self-knowledge is a domain with many pathways" (p. 280). Historical self-knowledge--understanding of past experiences and influences that led to one's current level of development--is a key to shaping the future.

Ask any first-time job seeker the main reason employers rejected them and they will tell you "lack of experience." Although this may seem unfair to the student who has worked hard in school, it should not be a surprise that employers value experienced workers. Experience is integral to knowing and understanding oneself and how one relates to different situations, circumstances, and roles.

Experiential Methods for Acquiring Self-Knowledge

Many of the new ways of teaching and learning offer processes by which students can gain experiences that enhance their self-knowledge. One of these is problem-based learning, an instructional model based on constructivism, the concept that learners construct their own understanding by relating concrete experience to existing knowledge; processes of collaboration and reflection are involved. In problem-based learning, students are presented with an ill-structured problem--one that has no obvious solution and for which problem-solvers cannot be certain they have the right answer. The problem must be content relevant and represent a real situation faced by an individual, group, company, or community. Solving the problem takes students through the following processes (Savoie and Hughes 1994):

Engagement. Problem-based learning requires students to self-direct...

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