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My ultimate career goal is to work as a school psychologist in either primary middle or high school, and to achieve my objective I must first complete my master’s degree in psychology at University of Phoenix; as indicated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (2009), school psychologists in most states are required to have a specialist degree but some states recognize a master’s degree; thus it is my intention to complete my master’s degree in 18 months and obtain work as a school psychologist while continuing to undertake further study; perhaps I will study within a specialist Ed.S degree in school psychology, which requires a further two years study, and a one year internship, which I could accomplish at my place of then current employment.
While studying COM505 Communication Skills for Graduates at University of Phoenix, I discovered a new area of knowledge related to learning styles and how personality factors influence career choices. In light of these findings, and because I have already decided on my career path, I will not be using the knowledge pertaining to my personality and learning styles as a means of determining a career. My objective within this paper therefore, is to determine why I have chosen the particular career path I have; in other words, whether my personality and learning styles have led me down this particular route.
On completion of the Multiple Pathways to Learning Questionnaire (Carter, Kravits, Bishop & Block, 2007, p. 41), I determined that my strongest intelligence in terms of current development is intrapersonal (ability to understand self and be self aware) and my second is interpersonal (ability to connect, motivate and cooperate with others), when matched with suggested majors and career paths I find that a major in psychology is an option for both intelligences and is also suggested as a career option in relation to intrapersonal intelligence. Related career options such as a social worker, a counselor and a teacher pertain to interpersonal intelligences. Discoveries therefore, appear to validate to some degree why I am so passionate about a career involving psychology and the behavior of children.
On completion of the Personality Spectrum (Carter et al. 2007, p. 46), results indicate that I am a ‘thinker’ and a ‘giver’, which again seems to support the attributes required for my chosen career. It will be my responsibility as a school psychologist, to deal with behavioral and learning problems that students may encounter and to assist teachers with the classroom management strategies. I will also need to assist parents with their parenting strategies, so it will be necessary to work together with teachers, parents and other school staff to generate and sustain a secure, wholesome and encouraging learning environment for every student, including, talented, gifted, and those with both physical and learning disabilities (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2009). The attributes of a thinker and giver are appropriate therefore for a career as a school psychologist.
Prior to embarking on my career in psychology however, I must first succeed in the master’s of psychology, and to best do this I need to consider the learning styles and strategies that are attributed to my personality. Study techniques best suited to people possessing strong intrapersonal and interpersonal intelligences include a quiet environment wherein keeping a journal, reflection of information, group study and discussion are effective, as too is tutoring somebody else, re-writing notes and outlining chapters (Carter et al, 2007). Study techniques best suited to thinker and giver personality types include reflection, independent learning, teaching others and group study; they but also include problem-solving and new approaches to issues (Carter et al, 2007). The specific strengths pertaining to my personality type and learning styles all point in the direction of the career I have already chosen.
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Based on my discoveries discussed above, together with adult learning theory I propose to further develop my learning strategies, time and stress management skills and techniques to ensure optimal learning of course information. As I already know that early morning and late afternoon are my best times to study, I will plan to use the early morning hours to best accommodate my ‘thinker’ personality; the environment will be quiet giving me the opportunity to revise and consolidate my readings and lecture notes and to prepare assignments. Adult learning theory addresses the issue of self-directed learning and reflection (Corley, 2008), both of which are my strengths as a student; and the optimal time to concentrate on both is between five and nine in the morning, when I find I can think more critically and best able to resolve problems. In the late afternoon I can then address the ‘giver’ component of my personality by taking the opportunity of working with peers, and undertaking any team commitments required by the program. Working independently and working as part of a team help in self direction of learning because rather than relying only on my own experiences I can use those of others to solve problems and real-life situations (Corley, 2008). Also working with others provides opportunity to question different ideas and consider multiple opinions and beliefs, thus assisting in transformational learning (Mezirow, 2000).
Additional planning of my time in terms of hours wasted during the day is also a short-term goal; I will try to use time I spend travelling or in train lines, for example, to see if I can better use that time to do some reading or revision (Wetzel, 2009). I know this will not be easy but I consider it important that I try, for self commitment, management and motivation.
As a student and later as a psychologist, I need to be emotionally secure, mature, and able to deal with people in a sensitive, compassionate way. I need to be an effective listener with good communication skills, and I need to lead and inspire others. All are particularly important qualities for effective counseling (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2009). Independent work and teamwork are integral to my study and my chosen career as a school psychologist, as too is patience and resolve; thus it is vital that I learn and implement techniques or strategies to minimize stress in my life, both in study and work.
Using effective techniques to manage stress will help me cope with any anxieties I may encounter in all facets of my life, and I believe the best means of doing this is not to allow one component of my life to take priority over another (Wetzel, 2009). Apart from time management skills already discussed I will try to avoid over-reacting to any situation and take things as they come in my stride and not take small issues too seriously (Wetzel, 2009); flexibility, open mindedness and a sense of humor will help alleviate any negative or pessimistic thoughts or attitudes that may influence my thinking, so I will try to remain optimistic at all times (Wetzel, 2009). I will also try to keep an open mind to new ideas from professors, tutors and, peers. The best strategies to eliminate stress, however, are to have a positive attitude, prepare for assignments and tests and not procrastinate (Wetzel, 2009). Writing a list of tasks that need to be done, prioritizing them and then working through them will also help minimize stress and help in achieving my short and long term-goals (Wetzel, 2009).
Knowledge of different personality and learning styles, together with adult learning theories helps me to focus on specific strategies that best help me to learn; I understand that surveys on learning styles and personality types are not conclusive in any way. They are merely a tool to assist in knowing and understanding myself and how I can best capitalize on my attributes and work on, and further develop my weaknesses. Specific strengths pertaining to my personality type and learning styles however, all point in the direction of the career I have already chosen.
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