Critically Discuss any five roles of a school counselor. What are the implications of these roles in creating and fostering a healthy learning process Introduction School counseling is now done in most secondary schools throughout Zimbabwe. School counselors consult and collaborate with the school head, other teachers, administrators, parents and other personnel or agencies to support student success at school.
The school counselor therefore acts as a liaison between the school, the home, the community and other agencies to help the student function effectively and achieve their fullest potential. Some of the roles expected of a school counselor include providing direct counseling services to students in need, conduct class presentations and prevention programs on topics such as anti-bullying, HIV/AIDS, sexual abuse and social skills. The school counselor can also initiate and mediate in the process of direct parent-child or parent-school encounters.
The school counselling program is an essential part of the total educational program. School counsellors are advocates who provide support to maximize all students’ potential and academic achievement. In partnership with educators, parents or guardians, and the community, school counsellors establish a culture of high expectations where students are empowered to reach their potential while utilizing their unique abilities and interests. Definition of terms
McLaughlin (1999) characterises counselling as a helping relationship, individually or in a group, which explores a problem, a developmental process or an event. She identifies the skills required of the counsellor as listening, empathising, challenging and facilitating action, and these are used to help someone understand their own and others’ feelings, thinking and behaviours and be able to act on them in productive ways. In some countries, school counselling is provided by educational specialists for example, Botswana, China, United States) who are qualified and registered members of a professional association. In other cases, school counselling is provided by classroom teachers who either have such duties added to their typical teaching load or teach only a limited load that also includes school counseling activities (for example- India, Zambia, Zimbabwe). Typically, in Zimbabwe, the form teacher is the counsellor for that class and the senior master or mistress at that school can also offer counselling to students.
Older, dated terms for school counsellors were “guidance counsellor” or “educational counsellor” but “school counsellor” is preferred due to professional school counsellors’ advocating for every child’s academic, career, and personal/social success in every elementary, middle, and high school (ASCA (American School Counselling Association), 2005). The term “ role” in the title of this paper refers to the actual part played by school counselors in meeting the needs of student in three basic domains: academic development, career development, and personal/social development.
The term “fostering” suggests a promotion or cultivation or encouragement of a healthy learning process. School counselors therefore should promote, cultivate or encourage a healthy learning process for the students. A healthy learning process is one in which students acquire knowledge in an educational setting relatively free from internal and external disturbances such as poverty, abuse and lack of educational resources such as desks, chairs and text books.
The students should be allowed to participate and be responsible for their own learning with the teacher acting merely as a resource person. A healthy educational process allows the student’s mental capacity to grow and mature in stages such as that observed by Piaget and other researchers. Critically discuss these roles of the school counsellor: Although varied, the activities of a school counsellor help all stakeholders to get the best outcome from the school system.
The stakeholders are the students themselves, their familes, the school and the community. Students are helped to optimize their school experiences and understand their potential by being afforded individual counselling, small-group counselling, and classroom guidance lessons. The students are also assisted to understand the value of their educational experience and to also understand themselves and others in order to develop and maintain healthy and positive relationships.
The students are also assisted to develop and focus on their plans, goals, and achievements and are made aware of post-secondary educational and occupational options available to them. Parents are assisted to understand and appreciate their child’s abilities and progress in school and encouraged to create a home atmosphere that fosters the emotional security and personal growth of their child. The school is helped to address student needs and educational goals and understand the developmental stages of students as well as their behaviours at a certain age.
Lastly, the community is assisted to Identify needs of students and families and support academic preparation for student success in the workplace Develop school/work partnerships Chivore (1995)identified some specific areas requiring guidance and counseling in a school setting such as the counseling of students with personal problems, discipline and morals, career education, other educational matters, life skills, social relations and health education (including HIV/AIDS 1. Discipline 2. Personal problems 3. Careers 4. Social relations 5. Health and HIV counselling