WITH the evolution of children’s rights, dealing with them in schools has become more intricate than it had been just a few decades ago. The current crop of students is more enlightened and critical. They are fully aware of their rights and freedoms.
The demise of the use of corporal punishment in schools has ushered in a new method of addressing issues of discipline, namely guidance and counseling.
How many teachers and school administrators understand what guidance and counseling means or how it works remains unclear. The fact that there are calls for more training of school counselors (who would then subsequently be posted to different schools) is an indicator that much more needs to be done.
Different researchers examining the factors hindering the success of guidance and counseling in schools have been pointing out almost similar trends. One such research in one of the districts in Kenya pointed out lack of trained counselors in schools, a well structured legal framework and counseling materials as the major barricades to the full implementation of counseling programmes in schools.
Need for counseling in high school
High school is the final transition into adulthood and the world of work as students begin separating from parents and exploring and defining their independence. Students are deciding who they are, what they do well, and what they will do when they graduate.
During these adolescent years, students are evaluating their strengths, skills and abilities. The biggest influence are their peers They are searching for a place to belong and rely on peer acceptance and feedback. They face increased pressures regarding risky behaviors involving sex, alcohol and drugs while exploring the boundaries of more acceptable behavior and mature, meaningful relationships. They need guidance in making concrete and compounded decisions. They must deal with 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.
High school years are full of growth, promise, excitement, frustration, disappointment and hope. It is the time when students begin to discover what the future holds for them. Secondary school counselors enhance the learning process and promote academic achievement.
School counseling programmes are essential for students to achieve optimal personal growth, acquire positive social skills and values, set appropriate career goals and realise full potential to become productive, contributing members of the world community
Secondary school counselors implement the counseling programme by providing:
• Academic skills support
• Organisational, study and test-taking skills
• Post-secondary planning and application process
• Career planning
• Education in understanding self and others
• Coping strategies
• Peer relationships and effective social skills
• Communication, problem-solving, decision-making, conflict resolution and study skills
• Career awareness and the world of work
• Substance abuse education
• Multicultural/diversity awareness