Counseling: Counseling can be defined as the professional advice given to a person concerning a certain problem. It is a process that enables an individual to sort out issues and come up with a decision that is affecting one’s life. It can also be defined as a skilled and principled use of a relationship to facilitate self knowledge, emotional acceptance and growth and the optimal development of a person (Garry, Carol & Eric 2002, p.1). Counseling aims at enhancing the psychological well-being of a person so that they are able to discover their full capability. It is a theoretical process that helps people in solving their everyday life problems. This process helps an individual gain clarification of his or her problem and how to think, feel and behave. It involves addressing and solving various issues, making informed decisions, managing different crisis and developing individual insights together with wisdom. During counseling, a person co-operates with the counselor and uses a variety of skills to assist the person in need by examining one’s situation so that it may be solved. The main purpose of counseling is to enable the person to get solutions to their issues so that they can be able to experience life with more happiness, self consciousness and create more positive changes in their day-today living. The counselor and the client work together to address the problem and identify areas that require change and come up with the best solution. Each session is tailored to an individual’s needs or culture.
Counseling is more supportive mostly during an important life event and offers a good environment for the counselor and the client to solve the issues and make rightful decisions.
It involves interacting with people with an aim of helping them address their issues or facilitate creation of an environment that will help an individual in understanding and in improving their values. The main aim of counseling is to provide an opportunity for the client to work towards living in a more fruitful and self satisfactory life. Counseling usually occurs within a frame work of a specific contract in most cases of about one hour, on a regular basis and a specific setting. It can be subdivided into three main sections Psychoanalytical. This focuses on the subconscious or unconscious relationships patterns that have evolved from childhood and humanistic reality which focuses on here and now. Behavioral; focuses on the behavior of a person contains the fact that basic learning comes from primary experience. Cognitive; focuses on what is in the mind.It is believed that our imaginations are directly connected to how we feel and act. Counseling in school involves helping students individually or as a whole to be able to deal with difficulties they are experiencing. There are four levels of counseling that need to be availed in schools: Use of counseling techniques in the classroom to provide a positive learning environment and promote high levels of students self esteem.
Use of counseling in form of a tutor to help students solve their day-to-day problems Individual or small group counseling available from a well trained specialist; school counselor. Well established referral procedures to help student’s access professionals outside the school environment. Counseling should be seen as the first step along the path to facilitate the development of young people so that they can be all they ever desired. (Garry, Carol & Eric, 2002)
Education This is a process of teaching, training and learning especially in schools and colleges to improve knowledge and develop skills. Good results of education are determined by the knowledge impacted on important skills or discipline of character acquired. It can also be defined as a slow process of acquiring knowledge. It is a series of instructions and discipline. Education can also be seen as an important tool that contributes to different aspects of a person’s life in order to take advantage of what have been learned and how to productively use it to either better their personal or professional life. Therefore, education can be viewed as the key that allows people to rise high up in the world, seek better jobs, and hence succeed fully in life. The core reason of education is to teach learners how to develop surviving skills and preparing them to deal with every day challenges. The training involved is in theory form. They have to be taught to think creatively and by doing this they are taught basic knowledge that has been acquired in the past-and be reared to grasp more knowledge by the effort they put. Education serves as the main way of bringing wanted change in society. It develops a generation of virtually upright individuals and hence contributes to the development of respectable people. Education can be seen as one of the most important seed of life and without it, a student cannot be able to take life to its maximum and to go further than beyond or to live life to the fullest. It can be classified into; education that teaches us how to make a living, and the other how to live. This types of education that expose’s us to the real world are formal education and informal education. Formal education is classroom-based, provided by well trained teachers while informal education takes place outside the classroom setting, in out of school programs, through community-based organizations such as museums, libraries, or even at home. Formal education should meet the set educational standards and should always stick to a well defined school curriculum. Informal education, on the other hand, can be more flexible with their content. The fundamental importance of education is to facilitate the acquiring of knowledge, to bring about discipline and become competent in life. It serves as a process of growing in all aspects of human life; be it physically, mentally and socially. It makes a person a better thinker and very effective in decision making. Education achieves this by combining knowledge from the external world, teaching the student how to reason, and acquainting them with the past history, so that they become better judges of the present. The importance of education to the youth can be seen in terms of molding them into respectable individuals of the society. Education gives the best time for the youth to cultivate the best virtues of life, make well researched career choices and begin the pursuit of one’s goals and objectives in life.
Education involves training which an extension of one’s area of interest. The teachers should counsel the learners in defining their career objectives, and facilitate them in achieving success in their various fields of interest. It also involves empowering the students to be able to develop a sense of control of their lives and objectives in life. Education should be used to target at helping the youth mostly in acquiring skills and encourage them to work on them to develop expertise in the fields of their interest. Education should be made friendly by introducing courses that can help the young people in their careers choices and aims of life. The importance of education is to mold responsible students who are all rounded. It is also important maturity of one’s character and fundamental in development of one’s personality. Education is very important to the student for career opportunities.it is a common fact that the people are not well educated struggle to make the ends meet by working more hours while the educated people require half the time to make more money.
Relationship between counseling and education
Social justice can be seen as an approach to school counselling based on; acknowledgement of broad, systematic societal inequities and oppression and the assumptions of the inevitable. These assumptions in turn lead the school counsellor to take responsible action that eliminates systematic oppression in the form of racism, sexism and other forms of biases (Holcomb-McCoy 2007 p.18). The fundamental purpose of education is equipping the pupils to be able to deal with everyday challenges. However, the curriculum used cannot incorporate all aspect of life and the time provided to cover this curriculum is not enough and therefore a need arises for extra program for counseling that enable the students cope with the changing society.
School teachers are strategically placed to help students in developing strategies to deal with educational, personal and social challenges that may interfere with the education process. The counseling programs assist the students in solving their emotional, social or behavioral problems and helps them in becoming responsible human beings. Well established counseling programs are essential to school and fundamental elements in improving students’ achievements. The main aim of school is to facilitate students to gain self knowledge and emotional acceptance, and also aim at promoting personal growth and optimal development of each student’s potential. This can only be achieved by integrating both counseling and education to produce resourceful, contented and productive citizens.
Everyday life can be challenging even to the most resilient students. Like home, schools are considered essential for supporting, nurturing and facilitating educational, social and moral development of students in their quest of becoming young adults.
Counseling should be an important element of the pastoral (part of education which is concerned with assisting in the areas of personal, social and moral development and educational guidance). The goal of counseling in schools is to facilitate the development of young people so that they become all that they can be. The role of the school teacher as a counselor is to develop the skills of the pupils in general, giving special attention to those who are talented and innovative by discovering their areas of interest, and by responding to their needs in a way that will achieve the anticipated benefit for themselves and for the community at large. Effectiveness of school counseling program has three elements: an educative function whereby attention is focused on the social development of the student within the school context; a reflective function which explores the possible impact of the school practices and societal conditions on the personal and mental health of the student, and a welfare function which is concerned with planning for and reacting to issues that affect the student’s welfare. The main aim of the intervention is for the student to gain an understanding and the context of himself or herself in which case individual differences become a sensitive and even problematic issue. School teachers urgently need to be provided with the appropriate skills in the areas of education and psychology so that they are capable of providing guidance to students and thereby respond to their needs in a way that will boost the educational process in the school.
Students have moral values, not only in their mental capacity, but in their effective development. According to statistics one in twenty percent of the children have emotional problems above those expected in normal development. Majority of children’s problems are overlooked by teachers because they have not been trained to identify them. The main problems that affect school going children are: Generalized anxiety, depressive disorders, phobias behavioral disorder, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. In order to help children experiencing these problems teachers need to develop basic level of counseling skills. They need to be able to listen attentively and use some basic counseling strategies. For teachers to use their counseling skills effectively, they need to be aware of their boundaries and values, particularly those that are likely to interfere with their ability to help certain students. To be an effective counselor is to be able to normalize the situation of a student without denying the reality of the problem. As a counselor, the teacher must not be an agent of control but instead help the students develop responsibility (Robert, 2002).
The importance of counseling in schools
Students are pressurized by their parents, teachers and the ever competitive world. Every student needs to talk to someone whom she or he is open to and communicate with him or her free and frankly about their dreams and, future aspirations and problems. Counseling helps students clarify career goals, and understand the world of work.
It helps students in building confidence and empowering students in making them aware of their career opportunities and promoting the balance of life and education. Counseling enables students manage and plan their learning and career pathway in accordance with their future aspirations.
Counseling assists schools to have well motivated students who take responsibility for their own learning and towards their goals realization. It reduces the number of school dropouts and back tracking within education systems. Counseling also improves the flow between different levels of education, thus raising national levels of educational achievement.
The current generation is frequently faced by many challenges like; cultural diversity in the cultural practices, ever evolving technologies and expanding opportunities. Therefore, for the students to become the next generation of leaders, and responsible citizens, they to be nurtured well, counseled and given opportunities in their childhood (which is a period of rapid growth and change) to freely express themselves.
Adolescence and counseling
Adolescence is a time of psychological, cognitive and physiological changes. It is marked by a shift in emphasis and alliance from family to peer groups (Thomas & Douglas, 2007). The teenagers begin to assert themselves in search for an identity separate from their parents.
Behavior wise they shift from comfortable compliance to a suspicious opposition towards the adults, so they need time to understand and integrate all the changes taking place.
Peer pressure to have sexual relationships and talk about it in a competitive manner, experiments with alcohol, hard drugs and other potentially risky activities place great stress to adolescents, therefore, they require tact and sensitivity in handling them. In order to engage their attention sufficiently and enlist their cooperation they need a counselor who is able to normalize their situation as much as possible under the circumstances prevailing without denying the reality of their problem.
It is through introduction of such programs like guidance and counseling, developmental and preventive measures which help students become successful in school are propagated.
The main Areas of Counseling
Self esteem development: Students have many talents and potentials. Identification and development of these talents is of ultimate importance for them to lead a joyous and successful life. They should be made aware of their physical, psychological and intellectual body. Students observed to have low self-esteem lack motivation and confidence in their everyday endeavors. Inferiority complex makes them introverts (a quiet person who is more interested in their own thoughts and feelings than in spending time with other people).
Emotional Intelligence: Students have tension and pressure because they are in capable of regulating their feelings and emotions. They can make mistakes in their personal life, which can hinder their success. Therefore, they should be told the importance of respecting the feelings of others and to regulate their emotions in a very knowledgeable way.
Make informed Career choice according to their potentials: The teacher should discuss with each student on an individual basis. He or she should then be in a better position to identify the individual’s potentials, interests and talents and will guide the student to the best educational career possible.
Importance of teachers as counselors: Recognition of cultural implications of traditions of school counselling practice and theory encourages counselors to consider ways in which the societal structure and the status quo privileges them and the students.
Teachers are better placed to understand the students and their needs and help them in achieving not just in academics but in all other aspects of their lives like socially, emotionally and psychologically (Holcomb-McCoy 2007 p.19). The teachers provide specific instructions and implementation of different techniques in guiding the students such as the use of role playing to help students refine the assertiveness. (Garry, Carol & Eric 2002 p.46). It is a requirement that teachers should identify and help in developing their students’ capabilities and help them in developing their attitudes and behavior which then enhances life skill competences (Garry, Carol & Eric 2002 p.45). There are many cases of school violence which involves the students as the culprits. Some form of aggression may include habits like verbal abuse, indulgence in fights and bullying among others. The teacher is well informed about the everyday events of the school more than the outside counselors and therefore can be able to pinpoint the students involved with violence. They are involved with day to day progress of students and can be able to point out students that need help. They see student regularly over a long period of time and have extensive experience of children’s development and are able to identify children experiencing difficulties. Due to the long hours of contact with the student teachers can provide a wide range of counselling sessions from helping, directing, coaching and supporting to delegating. Teachers can also help the students in consolidating the changes they have made over the counseling period; by making sure that the students are committed to bring about the changes required in their lives and also making sure that the students have realistic and attainable goals (Garry, Carol & Eric 2002 p.46). Teacher’s main objective and goals should be is to make the students learn useful skills and knowledge that they require to live a self satisfactory and fulfilled life.
Emotions can tamper with a student’s learning abilities and therefore, the teacher is supposed to ensure that student is free from emotional and physiological problems. The teachers in their area of jurisdiction are supposed to keep order in class and school, so they are in the best placed position to detect disruptive behavior among the students and can back track it to emotional problems the student is experiencing. Teachers can help the students in joining other with similar challenges for moral support and prevent possible relapses. It’s a cost effective plan in that the school does not pay extra money for specialized services by employing a qualified counselor who does not double up as a teacher and also pay transport for temporary counselors. It is also an easy system to implement as no prior adjustment in order for it to fit in the regular school schedule. There are always two sides of the coin’. Despite the fact that the students are entitled to counseling any time they require it, there is still existence of some doubts in the effectiveness of teachers as counselors. The student may hesitate to discuss with their school teachers about their emotional and social turmoil therefore, putting some doubts whether the school environment is the best to handle counseling. Student may be reluctant to disclose their problems to teachers because of embarrassment, peer pressure and the belief that the teachers may not understand them and the belief that teachers are not the appropriate adults to talk to. Most of the teachers lack training to deal with children and adolescent mental problems. Lack of trust by the students in cases where the teacher is the cause of the problem or if the way the teacher acts towards a student has affected the student in favoritism and biases also affect effectiveness of the teacher as a counselor. When schools are mainly concerned with delivering an academic curriculum, other aspects of the school are over looked such as providing personal and social education. This leads to insufficient attention being given to the needs of counseling. Lack of appreciation of the key role which teachers play to meeting these needs may demoralizes the teachers.
Although the issue of distrust is prevalent to most students according to some statistics, it is unfair that they can trust them to provide good education but consider them incapable of handling their emotional and personal matters. The issue of teachers as counselors is more of a necessity more than an advantage. Students who feel anxious, stressed or unhappy cannot be able to perform very well despite being bright and talented. Given an opportunity to talk through their problems, they will be much more productive. For a teacher to be of use to the students the teachers should propagate sincerity and should always be approachable to the students by answering all the questions including those that the student feels are ‘wrong question’ or topics that are embarrassing to discuss. The teachers should use simple and direct words in counseling. All these can be summarized by teachers’ open mindedness and the willingness to help make a difference. The school board should at least take time to put the teachers through counseling in order to be able to cub the extra cost of hiring a counsellor who in most cases might not take other roles like teaching or administrative work.
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