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See detailUsing the Empowerment Scale with unemployed people in lifelong learning: Is the tool sound and useful?
Meyers, Raymond UL; Pignault, Anne UL; Houssemand, Claude UL

in Psychology Research (2016), 6(11), 648-659

Empowerment is a widely used construct in research on social work, mental health and community interventions, but has only been exploited indirectly with the unemployed. But job finding is an important ... [more ▼]

Empowerment is a widely used construct in research on social work, mental health and community interventions, but has only been exploited indirectly with the unemployed. But job finding is an important dimension of empowerment and could be used to test the accuracy of the concept and of its measures. The Making Decisions Empowerment Scale was used with 97 unemployed people who had been jobless for 6 months. Even though the psychometric qualities of the 5 subscales and the total scale were mixed, convergent and discriminant validity with several adaptive and non-adaptive dimensions could be established for the global scale and for the Esteem, Power, Control and, to a lesser degree, the Activism subscales. The results were only marginally better for the 28 items global scale compared to the 9 items Esteem scale. Empowerment could be adequately modelled by using three dimensions: change coping, depression, and chance control of unemployment. Comparing 6 months later those who had found a job with the still unemployed, the 2 groups differed significantly on 2 of the 5 subscales (Activism and Control) though not on the total empowerment scale, nor on the other psychometric scales. The results throw some doubt on the accuracy of an aggregate measure that sums up divergent dimensions. Instead, it is proposed that more specific and individualized constructs be used, at least in unemployment research. [less ▲]

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See detailCompetences as seen by teachers and employers in an initial vocational training reform
Meyers, Raymond UL; Pignault, Anne UL; Houssemand, Claude UL

in Psychology Research (2016), 6(7), 426-429

Luxembourg has a dual system of initial vocational training, inspired by the German model, where training takes place alternately in enterprises as well as in schools. Since 2008, a competence-based ... [more ▼]

Luxembourg has a dual system of initial vocational training, inspired by the German model, where training takes place alternately in enterprises as well as in schools. Since 2008, a competence-based reform of vocational training is being implemented in the upper level of secondary education in Luxembourg. Semi-structured interviews were carried out with the relevant actors to analyse their strategies and perspectives during and after the reform. It appears that one major difficulty in the implementation of the reform is the difference between schools’ and enterprises’ understanding of what competence-based training is. The majority of teaching staff disagreed with training through competences as it was considered a more difficult and less manageable approach for them than the previous knowledge-based methods. When they adopt the prescribed approach albeit reluctantly, they often attribute it a meaning which is mostly school-based, where competences are seen as skills in exercises based on books and programs and not in professional situations. Enterprises were in favour of curricula based on competences, as they are more suited to the practical work expected in the professional domain. Pupils are confronted directly with practical professional situations at the workplace, but enterprises have problems in implementing explicit, systematic and progressive modular training. Coordination between these two main actors in the training system is poor and problematic; especially with regards to collaboration within the curriculum teams that are expected to develop and update the training modules. A general fatigue with the reform has spread, even if most actors agree, at least verbally, with its general philosophy; and this at a moment when the Ministry wants to implement new changes to the law. In order to make the reform viable, a newly negotiated agreement based on the interests of the different players, especially between enterprises and schools, should be achieved. [less ▲]

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See detailAdaptability, cognitive flexibility, personal need for structure and rigidity
Hamtiaux, Armanda UL; Houssemand, Claude UL

in Psychology Research (2012), 2(10), 563-585

IA (individual adaptability), COFL (cognitive flexibility), PNS (personal need for structure), and rigidity of attitudes, all have an aim in common to evaluate the person ’s self-perceived capacity to ... [more ▼]

IA (individual adaptability), COFL (cognitive flexibility), PNS (personal need for structure), and rigidity of attitudes, all have an aim in common to evaluate the person ’s self-perceived capacity to manifest a flexible or inflexible behavior in a given situation. However, these seemingly related concepts have rarely been investigated jointly. The goal of the present research is twofold: (1) to explore elements of discriminate and convergent validity of IA by relating it to COFL, PNS, and rigidity; and (2) to examine individual differences regarding gender, educational attainment, and labor force status in regards to the previously mentioned concepts. The results suggestthat these concepts are related but remain distinct constructs, and that they differ in their capacity to differentiate between individuals based on gender, education, and labor force status. [less ▲]

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