Social Development and Guidance: The purpose of education is to help young people acquire the knowledge, develop the habits and skills, and attain the attitudes and ideals that are essential for adjustment to modern life and for its progressive improvement.
Although individual instruction may be more effective than group work in the acquisition of knowledge and in the development of useful habits and skills, providing such instruction is quite impossible. Moreover, there are some distinct advantages in class or group organisation in learning to live and work together, to accept restrictions essential to effective learning, to respect the rights of others, and to cooperate with others in enterprises that are planned by the group and have value for all. Group work utilizes the social instinct of human beings.
Guidance has a major responsibility in assisting youth to organise or choose groups that have useful objectives and that are suited to the desires, needs, and abilities of the individuals of the group. Assistance to youth in social adjustments is a function of the entire school. The administrator, librarian, teacher, and counsellor all have a definite responsibility for giving such help. Every pupil should feel that he is accepted by his teacher and by every other member of the school staff who has contact with him. The entire atmosphere of the school should be permeated with this spirit even though corrections, restrictions and punishments may be necessary. Pupils should always feel free to come to any member of the school staff for help. The desire to be accepted by someone is universal.
We all want to have a feeling of belonging, to be needed and wanted. No acceptance or open rejection often results in reprisals and in destructive activities. Guidance can also help in assisting in the organisation of such activities as student clubs in the secondary school. Very often the organisation of clubs that are constructive and useful prevents the formation of clandestine groups that have undesirable objectives. In many schools certain clubs are purely traditional and, although once useful, do not now meet real needs.
Such clubs should be eliminated or their purposes changed. It has been suggested that the choice of a new member of any club be based on his mental ability as compared with that of the members of the group, that is, that a club made up largely of pupils of high mental ability should choose only those students who have high mental ability In some cases where the activities of the club demand high ability, this might be desirable; but in most cases this is not the case. Studies seem to indicate that the selection of a new member is more often based on personality traits than on mental ability. Student organisations should be helped to realise that they are very important elements in the overall school programme and should be so organised and administered that they will be of maximum value to the entire student body and not merely self- perpetuating clubs for certain types of students. The problems occasioned by organisations and other elements in the school programme designed to increase social adjustment call for guidance services.
The finest programme of clubs, classes, and activities will not help the student who has not been guided in making best use of his available opportunities.