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Vocational Guidance in Catholic Secondary Schools

by Sister M. Teresa Gertrude Murray - 1939

The study presented herewith is the outgrowth of an investigation of the present status of vocational and educational guidance in Catholic high schools.

THE study presented herewith is the outgrowth of an investigation of the present status of vocational and educational guidance in Catholic high schools1. After a cursory view of Saint Benedict's Rule as a foreshadowing of modern guidance, the development of the guidance idea is traced through Catholic educational literature over a period of thirty years.

Since complete statistics and analyses on Catholic high schools were not available, it was necessary for the writer to compile the necessary data from original sources. Statistics from public schools are also presented to furnish comparative data. The investigator wished not only to present a picture of existing conditions but also to check the facts obtained against earlier data on guidance in Catholic high schools supplied in the White House Conference Report—Education and Training—Subcommittee on Vocational Guidance, 1932.


The teaching loads of Catholic teachers have demanded their complete attention, so that few could be relieved for guidance purposes. Growth of guidance services has been retarded also by lack of funds and lack of trained personnel.

Provision for vocational guidance for students was reported by 50 per cent of the schools responding to the questionnaire, and informal guidance was reported by an additional 10 per cent.

Addresses by representatives of professions, by businessmen, and by teachers and other school officers have been the means most frequently used for disseminating vocational information.

Clubs, occupational field trips, and meetings after school (when an opportunity is not presented during school hours) were not used for guidance in the degree which the investigator expected.

The use of physical examination to confirm or deter vocational choice seems to have been overlooked, and very few schools have realized the value of discussing case studies of students' problems.

In the use of tests, Catholic schools have made a beginning, but aptitude and prognostic tests and personality rating sheets are not widely used. Both individual counseling, which has always been a technique in Catholic schools, and group counseling, which has grown up with vocational guidance, seem to have received a new impetus.

Placement and follow-up, two important phases of guidance, have decreased because of general business conditions—according to respondents' statements—and because of increased duties of school officers.

Data indicated that principals acted as counselors in almost one-half of the schools responding, and other school officers in about one-fourth of the schools. Counselors were found in 15.4 per cent of the schools; 10.9 per cent of these counselors had had training in various colleges and universities; one-seventh were full-time counselors, and Religious constituted almost one-half of those who served as counselors—principals, other school officers, and appointed counselors.


Catholic educators are increasingly alert to the student's need for vocational guidance. Evidence to confirm this statement is found in the following: the attitudes of interest expressed by educators in response to questionnaires and in letters to the investigator requesting information concerning courses, texts, and techniques; the emphasis on vocational guidance in educational conferences, literature, and research; the programs, both tentative and organized, in Catholic high schools; two diocesan programs already set up and functioning; superintendents of other dioceses urging or requiring inclusion of guidance activities; Catholic high schools co-operating with city or state programs of vocational guidance; the serious attempts of Catholic secondary schools, large and small, urban and rural, to include feasible guidance activities in their educational program.


1 By SISTER M. TERESA GERTRUDE MURRAY, O.S.B., PH.D. Teachers College, Columbia University, Contributions to Education, No. 754.

Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 40 Number 7, 1939, p. 651-652
https://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 8708, Date Accessed: 12/3/2021 8:55:15 AM

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