Guidance is the process of helping individuals discover and develop their educational, vocational, and psychological potentialities and thereby to achieve an optimal level of personal happiness and social usefulness, Gladding (2000).
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The concept of Counselling is essentially democratic in that the assumptions underlying its theory and practice are, first, that each individual has the right to shape his own destiny and, and second, that the relatively mature and experienced members of the community are responsible for ensuring that each person’s choice shall serve both his own interests and those of society. Guidance and counselling is an integral part of each school’s total educational program.
It is a comprehensive program that includes sequential activities in Primary and Secondary schools through organized and implemented by certified, professional school counsellors with the active involvement and support of parents, students, teachers, and administrators.
The program is design to address the needs of all students by helping them achieve success in school.
Professional school counsellors assist students by removing barriers to learning and by helping students acquire competencies in career planning and exploration, knowledge of self and others, and educational and vocational development. The guidance counsellor has many functions and roles to play. Hence, as the roles and functions of counsellors are highlighted, it is hoped that insight will be gained on these essential roles and functions. The counsellor’s roles and functions include: Counsellor, Consultant, Coordinator, Agent for Orientation, Agent of Assessment, Agent of Prevention and Manager.
The Counsellor should be available to students for individual and group counselling and any other type of assistance necessary. Although one- to-one counselling may take correspondingly less of the counsellor’s time than counselling at other levels, the guidance counsellor should be available to meet individually or in groups with children referred by teachers or parents or identified by the counsellor or other helping professionals in need of counselling.
Also, guidance counsellors in primary or high schools can anticipate that individual students will come to the counselling offices for assistance, advice, or support. Such current social issues as substance abuse, child abuse are frequent basis for counselling. The definition and importance of individual and group counselling will be further examined. Individual Counselling: Working face to face with an individual is one of the most common functions carried out by counsellors in schools.
This focuses on a student’s growth and adjustment and problem-solving and decision making needs. It is client centred and demands confidentiality. This process is based on a relationship between the guidance counsellor and the client. The relationship continues depending on the progress of the counselling process. In short, individual counselling should seek to clarify issues, explore and plan options for resolution, implement strategies and evaluate success.
Group Counselling and Guidance: A group is two or more people who have common goals, a communication system or network, rules regarding behaviour of its members, and some type of leadership system in place (Serbalus & Brown 2001).
The counsellor’s function is to provide organize and plan assistance to individuals for a variety of needs. In schools, students with similar needs are placed in groups for occupational information and experiences that promote their career or educational understanding, personal and social growth, and adjustment. Group guidance activities for high schools usually centre on careers day or orientation day activities. Primary schools focus social and academic development.
This type of grouping usually serves a guidance as well as administrative function. Consultation: Gladding defines consultation as “a process between two professional persons, the consultant, who is a specialist, and the consultee, who invokes the consultant’s help in regard to current work problems”.
As a consultant, the guidance counsellor may confer directly with teachers, parents, administrators, and other helping professionals to help an identified third party, such as a student, in the school setting. In this role, the guidance counsellor helps others to assist the student- client in dealing more effectively with developmental or adjustment needs. The Guidance Counsellors consult with: •Teachers where they collect, organize, synthesize data on individual students; interpreting such to identify, individual differences and share this with teachers to enhance learning situation.
• School administrators to gather data descriptive of the characteristics of the student population and their needs, providing, useful information for educational planning (curriculum) and management; for improvement of the schools psychological climate; for boosting of staff morale Example: planning of stress management workshops. • parents where they assist in coping with/modifying student behaviours, improving interpersonal relationship skills, and adjusting attitudes, may consult in regard to children’s academic planning, progress or problems.
The counsellor’s roles and functions also involve that of being a Coordinator. In that, the counsellor is responsible for the coordination of the various guidance activities in the school. For example: career development activities, motivational talks, welfare assistance initiatives and also including the contributions of social workers or other professionals, intra- school and inter- agency referrals. Coordinating these with ongoing classroom and school activities is also desirable.
The guidance counsellor also conducts or participates in activities which contribute to the effective operation of the school. In this regard the guidance counsellor acts as an advocate for all students. The guidance counsellor assists school staff in the placement of students with special needs in appropriate programmes. Also, the guidance counsellor participates with the administration and faculty as team members in the implementation of the testing programs.
Agent for Orientation- As a human development facilitator, the school counsellor recognizes the importance goals and environment of the child’s orientation to the goals and environment of a new school environment. In this regard, he/she may plan group activities and consult with teachers to help children learn and practice the relationship skills necessary in the school setting.
Agent of Assessment- The counsellor can anticipate being called on to interpret and often gather both test and non- test data. The counsellor will also fall the task of putting these data into focus not only to see but to be able to interpret the child as a total being. Beyond the traditional data used for student understanding, the counsellor should also understand the impact of culture, the sociology of the school, and other environmental influences on student behaviour.
The assessment service is designed to collect, analyze, and use a variety of objective and subjective personal, psychological, and social data about each pupil. Its purpose is to help the individual to better understand herself. Conferences with pupils and parents, standardized test scores, academic records, anecdotal records, personal data forms, case studies, and portfolios are included. The school counsellor interprets this information to pupils, parents, teachers, administrators, and other professionals. Students with special needs and abilities are thus identified.
Agent of Prevention- In the schools, there are early warning signs of future problems for young children. These include: learning difficulties, general moodiness (unhappiness, depression) and acting- out behaviours (fights, quarrels, disruptions, restlessness, impulsiveness, and obstinacy.
There is an accumulation of evidence to demonstrate that children who cannot adjust during their early school years are at high risk for a variety of later problems. School counsellors (especially those at the basic and primary levels) are expected to develop programmes that seek to anticipate, intervene in, and prevent further development of these issues.
The school counsellor also plays the role of a Manager. In that, the counsellor creates and utilizes resources; completing administrative duties, planning and implementing the school’s guidance programme. School counsellors are key members of guidance and student services teams. Within the context of a collaborative, interdisciplinary team approach, school counsellors play a leadership role in the development and implementation of a comprehensive guidance and counselling program. Their roles and functions are extremely important and cannot be overemphasized.
Write an essay on the roles and functions of the Guidance Counsellor.
Gibson, Robert L. &Mitchell M.H(1999) Introduction to Counselling and Guidance. 5th Ed. Samuel T. Gladding Counselling A Comprehensive Profession Fifth Edition http://www.brandonsd.mb.ca/oxford/lamont/role_of_counsellor.htm http://www.unilorin.edu.ng/publications/idowuade/Prof.%20Idowu%20IJE%201989.p