1. In-service education for teachers, 2. Consultation services for teachers and parents, 3. Counselling services for children, 4.
Referral services for children, 5. Follow-up and research activities, and 6. Evaluation studies. The Counsellor Gives In-service Education: An effective programme of guidance services provides in-service education for teachers in the development and interpretation of pupil records. Since the average teacher will have neither the time nor the training to develop records which are complete and so organised that an analysis can be made with reasonable expenditure of time and energy, the counsellor must provide assistance in the collection of data, in the methods of recording, and in the interpretation of the development record. The development of a sound test programme is another aspect of the elementary guidance services. Counsellors can provide in- service education for teachers and can act as consultants in the development of the programme and in the interpretation of results.
The Counsellor Counsels: The Counsellor’s chief responsibility is to provide counselling for all children with usual interests or needs. Teachers can be helped to recognise these needs so that the children may be referred to the counsellor. The per cent of time devoted to counselling for personal adjustment will be greater in the elementary school than in the secondary school, and this is probably the greatest difference in guidance at the two levels.
Children, whether self-referred or referred by parents or teachers, may need help in many areas of personal development. The excessively shy child, the socially inept child, the child whose self-concept interferes with learning, the child whose behaviour interferes with work in the classroom, the child with educational deficiencies, and any child whose progress in school seems unsatisfactory—all find their way to the counsellor’s office. The counsellor’s office should be an attractive, even if small, room, with toys, books, and manipulative materials readily available to the child. Here a youngster who is overwhelmed by the experiences he is handling or who has reached “an explosion point” may work off tensions with clay, finger paints, darts, punching bags and return to class ready to try again. Toys play an important role in helping children verbalize and communicate. Teacher and child, sitting back to back, may hold ‘conversations’ over toy telephones even if the child is too shy to communicate in a face-to-face interview. Furnished classrooms and doll houses, erector sets, dump trucks, fire engines, and a host of other toys provide opportunities for a child to play and talk as he works with the counsellor. Whether the counsellor woiks with the individual child or with small groups, his office represents a neutral setting with many aids to help the child evaluable himself, set goals, and make choices.
Here the counsellor uses every competence he can muster. Training which includes knowledge of how personality develops, an understanding of counselling theories and techniques, and some supervised practice in counselling is essential if the counsellor is to meet the needs of the children who find their way to his office. Research indicates that many underachieving pupils have emotional problems and that counselling provided on a systematic long-term basis is essential before the pupil can begin to use his potentialities. Pupils respond more readily if counselling is available in the early years of school at the onset of underachieving. The Counsellor Makes Referrals: The counsellor makes referrals of pupils to other school services and utilizes the resources available in the community. He helps to provide continuity of the educational experiences through articulation services at the time a child leaves the elementary school to enter junior high school.
Adequate counsellor services should contribute to the curriculum through carefully planned research and follow-up activities which reveal the needs of children in the school and which provide evidence of the success with which the school is meeting these needs. The team approach: A definite trend in guidance is toward a coordinated team approach under the leadership of the principal. Principals, teachers, counsellors, and other staff personnel working as a team should evaluate the guidance needs within the school and assess the effectiveness of the service designed to meet these needs. Many staff people, including school social workers, school psychologists, nurses, doctors, speech creationists, reading specialists, supervisors, and consultants, are available to the modern school. Their services can be most effectively used if the principal arrange systematic case conference procedures.
In such case conferences the teacher and the counsellor share with other team members the problems of children which they have identified by their close contact. Teachers get some support and consultative help in planning for these children. Referrals for other services which are the result of these case conferences are usually more valid than referrals made without such conferences. The referral report is more detailed and often more accurate, and therefore the referral services will be more effective. Guidance in the elementary school is the responsibility of every member of the school team. Under the leadership of the principal the team constantly evaluates its objectives and plans for more effective guidance services.
Follow-up, research, and evaluation activities are essential aspects of the attempt to provide an educational climate in which each child work toward a healthy personality capable of achievement commensurate with ability.