School Counselors: What and Why? Nauveen Dubash MS/M Phil Clinical & Counselling Psychology Institute of Psychology Beaconhouse National University WHAT: THE ROLE OF STUDENT COUNSELORS • School counselors are certified/licensed educators with a minimum of a master’s degree in school counseling. • They are vital members of the education team. Through collaborative efforts with the teachers, parents & school administration, they help all students in the areas of i. Academic achievement ii. Personal/social development and iii. Career development What Do School Counselors Do? i. Individual & group counseling and advisement e.g., Resolve conflicts, identity development, specific student concerns (adjustment, social class, substance use, poor grades, peer pressure, etc.) ii. Consultation—working with administrators, teachers, and staff to meet student needs e.g., Educate the staff about various student issues (suicide and loss) iii. Supporting students and their families in case of personal problems where the issues start affecting their academics, interpersonal relationships with peers, family and others. iv. Classroom observations on behaviors, relationships and providing feedback to teacher, students, parents, staff. v. Work with school staff and administration to implement school safety and improvement programs. vi. Provide information and guidance on postsecondary options for training and careers as well as for financial assistance for further education. • For this they collaborate with teachers and community partners to ensure that student transitions to postsecondary education and the workplace with essential knowledge, attitudes and skills for success • Therefore, School counselling plays an important role in supporting the personal, social and intellectual development of each student. • According to studies conducted in Georgia in 1997, school counselors a. impact students’ academic performance b. can increase the on-task, c. Increase productive behavior of students and reduce disruptive behaviors. WHY DO WE NEED STUDENT COUNSELORS ? • Secondary School is the final transition into adulthood and the world of work as students begin separating from parents and exploring and defining their independence • During these adolescent years, students are evaluating their strengths, skills and abilities. • Adolescents face unique and diverse challenges, both personally and developmentally, that impact academic achievement . Common areas where Secondary school Students need counseling : i) Changes associated with puberty and adjustment. ii) Peer Pressure & Bullying (victim & perpetrators). iii) Risky behaviors (smoking, alcohol) iv) Sex Education v) Adjustment issues vi) Low self-esteem (withdrawn, lonely) vii) Attention & Concentration problems (social networks, cell phones) viii) Terrorism ix. Low academic achievement (poor grades) x. Conflicts with peers and teachers xi. Aggressive, argumentative or defiant behavior. xii. Personal problems (parental conflicts, divorce, dominating parenting styles, financial problems, relationship issues, bereavement or loss etc.) xiii. Exam anxiety xiv. Most importantly, academic pressures as they face high- stakes testing, the challenges of college admissions, the scholarship and financial aid application process and entrance into a competitive job market. Secondary School Counselors Implement the Counseling Program by Providing: i. Learning, study and test-taking skills ii. Post-secondary planning and application process iii. Career planning iv. Coping strategies v. Peer relationships and effective social skills vi. Communication, problem-solving, decision-making, conflict resolution and study skills vi. Substance abuse education vii. Goal setting, academic plans, transition plans viii. Individual and small-group counseling ix. Individual/family/school crisis intervention x. Consultation/collaboration xi. Referrals Conclusion School counseling programs are essential for students to i) achieve optimal personal growth, ii) acquire positive social skills and values, iii) set appropriate career goals and iv) realize full academic potential to become productive, contributing members of the world community. Secondary School Counselors Collaborate with: a) Parents i. Academic planning/support ii. Post-secondary planning iii. School-to-parent communications iv. One-on-one parent conferencing b) Students i. Academic support ii. Peer education program iii. Crisis management iv. Transition programs c) Teachers i. Classroom guidance lessons on post-secondary planning, study skills etc. ii. Academic support and education to help students succeed academically iii. At-risk student identification and implementation of interventions to enhance success d) Administrators i. School climate ii. Academic support interventions iii. Behavioral management plans/positive discipline plans Benefits for Students i. Introduces them to their personal traits, interests, skills and aptitude. ii. Helps them choose their careers according to their personality and lifestyle. iii. Trains them to be successful in their educational and professional careers. iv. Provides them with training in personality development. iv. Enhances their interview and live communication skills. v. Makes them learn time management skills. vi. Provides them with necessary help to make a realistic educational plan. Benefits for Teachers i. Counseling services for teachers (relaxation) ii. Sharing the workload (as teachers already have too much on their plate) iii. Improving & managing classroom environment. iv. Communication with parents. Benefits for Schools i. Turnaround in the school's internal and board results. ii. Improvement in the public image of the school iii. Helps the school make a realistic educational plan iv. Increases the strength of students.