The Guidance and Counselling Role of the Teacher in Higher Education
As discussed in Module 1, learners in the higher education system come in with a wide variety of backgrounds. There is diversity in their entry socio-economic and academic profiles. This diversity translates into a differential in their behaviour patterns. Yet our desire is to ensure that all are found worthy in learning and character to justify the degree or diploma given after the course of study.
Seckle (1999) has stressed the need for specialised support in guidance and counselling in higher education, noting that each tertiary education lecturer/teacher should be familiar with the basic principles by which problems can be identified and appropriate interventions suggested to learners. The need for support for the tertiary teacher is becoming increasingly important. As we discussed in Module 1, learners in the higher education system come form a diversity of learning backgrounds. This means that there is diversity in their entry socio-economic and academic profiles, which translates into a differential in their behaviour patterns. Attention was paid to the subject of guidance and counseling in light of this diversity of quality higher education. There is the need to identify specialists who are trained to offer guidance and counseling services. The higher education teacher who is not trained should not be expected to offer such specialised services.
The variety of mix in preferences, interests and cognitive competencies in the school system require that learners are assisted in focusing and addressing their own particular interests if they are to receive quality higher education. This is done through guidance and counselling. The goal of guidance and counselling is to make it possible for an individual to see and explore his or her unlimited endowed options (Odeck, 1999). Educationally, guidance should involve those experiences which assist each learner to understand and and accept oneself so as to live effectively in society.
Down through the ages, a scheme of guidance and counselling has been found to be essential for all categories of learners. At the higher education level, this need becomes accentuated as we have the greatest mix of interests, preferences and cognitive competencies in the school system. Attention is turned in this module to the subject of guidance and counselling as a way for improving the quality of higher education.
At the end of this module, you should be able to:
Note: It must be noted that there are individuals who are specifically trained to offer Guidance and Counselling services. The higher education teacher who is not so trained is NOT expected to offer such specialised services. The intention in this module is to give a general hint (drastically watered down) on what such specialists do. More importantly, the thrust of the Module is on informing higher education teachers about non-specialised guidance and counselling services they could offer their learners in order to promote meaningful learning.
At the end of this Unit, you should be able to
What is Guidance and Counselling ?
Guidance and counselling are two sides of the same coin. The goal in both cases is to give an opportunity for an individual to see a variety of available options and thereafter, assist the person in making a wise choice. Guidance is the process that is put in place at a time a choice is to be made. Counselling on the other hand
i) helps with considering all sides of a potential choice even before the choice is made;
ii) takes place when a choice has been made and there is a need to modify, reinforce or abandon such a choice.
Consider a new student in a university who is to register for courses in a programme. The course list has two categories - compulsory and elective courses. The compulsory courses are mandatory. The elective courses offer some choice. Your effort at assisting the learner to select suitable elective courses provides an example of guidance service. Assume after registration and some way into the programme, the learner has problems with some courses. Perhaps the learner is unable to cope with the rigour of work or is having some problems with a course lecturer. Offering informed advice on how to cope with emerging problems is counselling.(though counselling is far more than advice since, among other things, it requires input from the counsellee )
Guidance is a broad term that is applied to a schools programme of activities and services that are aimed at assisting students to make and carry out adequate plans and to achieve satisfactory adjustment in life. Guidance can be defined as a process, developmental in nature, by which an individual is assisted to understand, accept and utilise his/her abilities, aptitudes and interests and attitudinal patterns in relation to his/her aspirations. Guidance as an educational construct involves those experiences, which assist each learner to understand him/herself, accept him/herself and live effectively in his/her society. This is in addition to the learner having learning experiences about the world of work and people therein.
Guidance can also be looked at as a programme of services to people based upon the need of each individual, an understanding of his/her immediate environment, the influence of environmental factors on the individual and the unique features of each school. Guidance is designed to help each person adjust to his/her environment, develop the ability to set realistic goals for him/herself, and improve his/her total educational programme. As a process, guidance is not a simple event but it involves a series of actions or steps progressively moving towards a goal. As a service, we can isolate three major services, that of educational, vocational, and personal and social guidance.
1. Educational Guidance
Educational guidance is so far as it can be distinguished from any other from of guidance, is concerned with the provision of assistance to pupils in their choices in and adjustment to the schools' curriculum and school life in general. Educational guidance is therefore essential in counselling service. Guiding young people to pursue the right type of education in which, for example the right balance is met for accommodating the human resource needs of a nation.
2. Vocational Guidance
Vocational guidance is a process of helping individuals to choose an occupation, prepare for, enter into and progress in it. Vocational happiness requires that a person's interests, aptitudes and personality be suitable for his/her work. It plays its part by providing individuals with a comprehension of the world of work and essential human needs, thus familiarising individuals with such terms as `dignity of labour' and `work value'.
3. Personal and Social Guidance
Personal and social guidance is the process of helping an individual on how to behave with consideration to other people. Primarily, personal and social guidance helps the individual to understand oneself, how to get along with others, manners and etiquette, leisure time activities, social skills, family and family relationships and understanding masculine and feminine roles.
Counselling is usually viewed as one part of guidance services; It is subsumed by the general term, guidance, in that it is one service within guidance rather than a synonym. It is difficult to think of one definition of counselling. This is because definitions of counselling depend on the theoretical orientation of the person defining it. Let us examine some of these definitions.
Counselling is learning-oriented process which usually occurs in an interactive relationship with the aim of helping the person learn more:
Counselling is a process in which the helper expresses care and concern towards the person with a problem to facilitate that person's personal growth and positive change through self-understanding. Counselling denotes a relationship between a concerned person and a person with a need. This relationship is usually person-to-person, although sometimes it may involve more than two people. It is designed to help people understand and clarify their views of their life-space, and to learn to reach their self-determined goals through meaningful, well-informed, choices and through resolution of problems of an emotional or interpersonal nature. It can be seen from these definitions that counselling may have different meanings.
List any four activities you have carried out in your department within the last one year that are (a) guidance and (b) counselling in nature.
From your list, indicate the elements which distinguish each activity as either guidance or counselling.
In fact, counselling is provided under a variety of different labels. For example, there are instances where counselling is offered in the context of a relationship which is primarily focussed on other, non-counselling concerns. For example, a student may see a teacher as a person with whom it is safe to share worries and anxieties. In such a situation it seems appropriate to see what is happening as being a teacher using counselling skills rather than engaging in an actual counselling relationship. The teacher is counselling but not being a counsellor.
Guidance programmes and the counselling service within them, usually deal with situational and environmental conditions. Counselling is often seen as assistance given individuals to attain a clear sense of identity. Counselling, as well as the total guidance programme, stressed rational planning, problem-solving, and support in the face of situational pressures. The counselling relationship is usually characterised by much less intensity of emotional expression than that found in the therapeutic relationship. Counselling services are usually located in schools, universities, community service agencies, and pastoral organisations, while psychotherapeutic services are usually found in clinics, hospitals, and private practice. The recipients of counselling are `normal' individuals rather than those who exhibit abnormal or extreme modes of adjustment. Psychotherapy exists for individuals with psychological disorders. Counselling helps the essentially normal individual remove frustrations and obstacles that interfere with development, while psychotherapy attempts to deal with disabling or disintegrating conflicts.
Counselling focuses upon helping the individual to cope with development tasks such as self-definition, independence, and the like. Attention is given to clarifying the individual's assets, skills, strengths, and personal resources in terms of role development. Counselling approaches, are based more upon emphasising present conscious material (material available within the individual's awareness) while psychotherapeutic approaches tend to emphasise historic and symbolic materials, relying heavily upon reactivation and consideration of unconscious processes.
Still More Views
1. An appraisal service which is designed to collect, analyse, and use a variety of objective and subjective personal, psychological, and social data about each student in order to better understand them as well as assisting them to understand themselves.
2. An informational service which is designed to provide students with a greater knowledge of educational, vocational, and personal-social opportunities so that they may make better informed choices and decisions in an increasingly complex society.
3. A counselling service which is designed to facilitate self-understanding and self-development through dyadic or small-group relationships. The major focus of such relationship tends to be upon personal development and decision making that is based on self-understanding and knowledge of the environment.
4. A planning, placement, and follow-up service, which is designed to enhance the development of students by helping them select and utilise opportunities within the school and in the outside labour market.
The aims of counselling are broad. They may, in certain cases, depend on the situation and environment, and also on the training. The basic aims of counselling include the following:
Go through the statement of views on the meanings of guidance and of counselling. Review these views with a colleague in the department. Agree on a meaning for each of the two terms (guidance; counselling). What are the commonalities in your meanings (or definitions) and those listed above?
Need for Guidance and Counselling
In Module 1, we found that higher education learners come in with a motley assortment of characteristics. In that module, we also identified what their exit profiles should be. Between entry and exit, we have some intervention, which include curricular, co-curricular and extra-curricular activities. Guidance and counselling come into play in this intervention to enable us achieve our goal of producing good quality graduates.
The table below summarises some of the major reasons why we need guidance and counselling in higher institutions.
Table 6.1 Need and Focus of Guidance and Counselling in Higher Education
|Need||Focus of Guidance and Counselling|
|To improve the internal efficiency of the system||Academic
- less able students thus reducing repetition, dropout and wastage
- average students to sustain stability, and improve;
- able students to enhance progress from one level (class) to the other.
|to reduce/eliminate anti-social activities on campus||-
Advice on social and academic clubs to join
- counselling and dialogue on matters that can generate friction and students' unrest
Counselling on emotional problems
|To enhance career and job prospects of learners||- job
and career advising
- Relationship between course of study and world of work.
GUIDANCE AND COUNSELLING IN HIGHER EDUCATION
The major service areas of guidance and counselling are:
Counselling could be conceived as an interactive relationship between two or more persons that can take a variety of forms. It may address non-educational issues or even non-counselling concerns. Counselling should be seen as a service provided to normal individuals to assist them remove or cope with frustrations and obstacles that interfere with their development.
Guidance and Counselling in Teaching
In institutions of higher learning, guidance and counselling should address learners difficulties. These difficulties encompass the whole spectrum of student life in institutions of higher learning. A number of them may have negative impact on the teaching/learning process. Counselling should probe what students difficulties are and then approach them systematically. For example, in diagnosing learning difficulties the lecturer should focus on the following aspects:
In such cases where should the information come from? The sources of relevant information about learners can be found or gleaned through the following:
This requires that individual lecturers are keen in noting any strange things that happen to the students or with the students. The observation should arise out of a genuine desire to help and get involved with the students.
Students invariably make statements and comments which are indicative of the struggles that they may face. The lecturers should be prepared to note these comments and statements which are indicative of or are symptoms of other things that may appear later.
Student records and follow up
These usually yield information that would facilitate a lecturer to assist a student whose problem may have been ignored or brushed aside for along time.
Major Service Areas
The major service areas of guidance and counselling include:
Educational guidance and counselling
This aspect of counselling should concern itself with assisting the students in their curriculum and school life choices. Students need assistance in subject choice and planning for the courses that they take at these institutions of higher learning. All lecturers could be involved in this without any need for specialised training in counselling.
Vocational guidance and counselling
This aspect of counselling addresses the learners problems as regards to vocational choices. Again here the lecturers are best placed to give relevant advice to learners since they know their academic strengths and weaknesses in areas that may pertain to specific vocations, occupations or jobs. The fact that the lecturers know the interests and aptitudes of most of their students makes them the best persons to assist their students in areas that are related to their vocations.
Personal and social guidance and counselling
This aspect of counselling refers to the very personal problems that students meet. These problems may range from financial needs to interpersonal relationships. Although the lecturers may help to reduce these pressures, there is need for more specialised assistance from professionally trained hands. The fact that the lecturers may have an upper hand in interaction with the students only goes to show how crucial it is that they should get involved. As role models to the majority of students it is important the lectures are made aware of their crucial role in social guidance.
ASPECTS OF COUNSELLING
1. Educational Counselling
First coined by Truman Kelley in 1914 (Makinde, 1988), educational counselling is a process of rendering services to pupils who need assistance in making decisions about certain important aspect of their education such as choice of courses and studies, decision on interest and ability, choices of college and high school. Educational counselling increases pupil's knowledge of educational opportunities.
2. Personal/Social Counselling
Personal counselling deals with emotional distress and behavioural difficulties that arise when an individual struggles to cope with developmental stages and tasks. Any facet of development can be turned into a personal adjustment problem, and it is inevitable that everyone will at some time encounter exceptional difficulty with an ordinary challenge of life. For example;
- Anxiety over a career decision
- Lingering anger over an interpersonal conflict
- Insecurity about getting older
- Depressive feelings when bored with work
- Excessive guilt about a serious mistake
- A lack of assertion and confidence
- Grief over the loss of a loved one
3. Vocational Counselling
Vocational counselling is defined as individual contacts with counsellees in which the counsellor's main purpose is to facilitate the counsellee's career development process. This definition and category would encompass counselling situations such as:
- Interpreting an occupational interest inventory to a student
- Assisting a teenager in deciding what to do after school.
- Helping a student apply for a course in a university or technikon.
Characteristics of Counsellors
The following are some of the characteristics of a higher education teacher as a counsellor;
- abiding interest and faith in students capabilities
- understanding of students' aspirations
- sympathetic attitude
- sense of humour
Prepare a checklist using the characteristics listed above (and others you may think of) for assessing the guidance and counselling traits of a higher education teacher. Use the checklist to carry out a self assessment. Administer the checklist on other staff in your institution. How will you rate yourself and your colleagues who responded to the checklist? How can your ratings be improved?
Tips for the Higher Education Teacher when Counselling Students
2. List any four things that your students refer to you for guidance and any four that they refer to you for counselling.
3. Why do you think students do not like coming to their lecturers for conselling?
Guidance and Counselling at Three Points in Higher Education
Table 8.2 shows guidance and counselling activities that are commonly provided at point of entry, during and at the point of exit into higher education.
Table 8.2 Guidance and Counselling Activities at Three Points in Higher Education
|Guidance Functions/Activities||Counselling Functions/Activities|
|Guidance & Counselling at Point of Entry||
|Guidance & Counseling during the Course /Programme||
|Guidance & Counselling on Exit||
The internal efficiency of the higher institution is the success rate in the use of available human and material resources for the pursuit of organisational goals. Some of the prominent indicators of internal efficiency are the success rates in the transition of students from one level to another, repetition rate, dropout rate and graduate output. For example, a college where 90% of its first year students move successfully to the second year can be said to be more internally efficient than one with 85% transition rate.
There are several factors which can positively influence internal efficiency. One of these is guidance and counselling. If repetition and dropout are indicators, guidance and counselling, therefore, have booster roles to play. Through proper guidance and counselling, students who would have otherwise dropped out are retained and have success stories to tell.
Guidance and counselling are needed to reduce and possibly eliminate anti-social activities on our campuses. There is a rising tide of campus unrest, gangsterism, closures and lockouts. If the tempo of dialogue and counselling is increased, there is little doubt that the tempo of crises in our campuses will drop.
It is not only the fresh entrants and the seniors that need and could benefit from guidance and counselling; those students who are about to graduate need job and career guidance. How do I know where the vacancies are? How do I apply? What should I look for in job positions? These are some of the questions this category of learners ask. The question are best answered through a carefully planned guidance and counselling scheme.
There are general circumstances as well as circumstances that are specific to your institution that demand the use of guidance and counselling services. Prepare a table such as that of Table 8.1 that is specific for your institution. In the table, list the needs of your institution and indicate the corresponding focus of the guidance and counselling service.
2. Study Table 8.2 and map out various things you would do in each segment of the students stay with you.
Academic, Social and Career Guidance and Counselling
There are different types of guidance and counselling services that can be offered to learners in higher institutions. The focus of our attention should be to determine what kind of non-specialised guidance and counseling service higher education teachers can offer in order to promote meaningful learning. Some programmes that could be instituted include, mentoring, tutor systems, pre-university/college and specialised programmes for teaching assistants. These needs could be accommodated by academic/institutional development centers where they exist. Other suggestions include the setting up of `help desks to deal with such issues as drug or excessive alcohol related disorders and sexual abuse. It is also necessary to explore the provision of job placement and career advice services. Establishing clinics on campus for social, health and legal aid need to be considered as essential student services. It is suggested that awareness could be enhanced by celebrating certain days for particular events, e.g. such as HIV/AIDS awareness days. Financial aid centers are also appropriate to cater for students who are increasingly required to pay their own way. Let us now shift attention on academic, social and career guidance and counselling.
Academic guidance and counselling is mainly on the curriculum-related needs of the learner. Courses to enrol, how to carry out assignments and projects, how to prepare for examinations, effective study habits, and how to remedy weaknesses in particular courses are some of these needs. These form the core of the business the learner routinely engages in academic institution. The finer focus of this module will, therefore, be on this category of guidance and counselling service.
Since the learner is constantly interacting with peers and significant others in the university or college, some form of guidance and counselling is necessary to enable the learner make the best of such social interactions. Guidance on social clubs to join, advise on use of free time, counselling on the use of drugs such as cigarettes and alcohol and guidance on burning issues that could precipitate crisis in the school are some of the social guidance and counselling issues. To the extent that they determine the internal and external images of the institution, to that same extent could one say that social guidance and counselling is important in higher education. A university or college with poor record of students' unrest and drug abuse is probably one with a poor scheme in social guidance and counselling.
The third category is career counselling. It is not only at the pre-university level that career guidance is necessary. It is estimated that not less than 10% of university or college students would want to undertake courses other than that to which they were admitted. The Physics student prefers to be in Engineering. The Biochemistry student prefers to be in the Medical School. The History undergraduate would feel happier in the Law Faculty. On graduation, many of these students feel disillusioned since they lay the recognition that there are equally exciting career options in Physics, Biochemistry and History. The goal of career guidance and counselling at the higher education level is to address the needs of the students.
Tunde has just enrolled in a university. He found his first few days to be exciting. He also found that life in the university was quite different from that of the secondary school. He concluded his course registration and participated actively in the orientation for freshmen. Unfortunately, Tunde is yet to secure accommodation in the hall of residence. Also the little pocket money he got from his poor parents had gone into settling unexpected expenses. Three days later, he was approached by two students who asked him to join a club that has been banned by the University management but which was still operating underground. Only two weeks into his studentship in the university and Tunde is confused and in a great deal of emotional stress.
Assume Tunde is a student in your Department. After his first lecture in your course, he walks up to you and ask for an appointment in the office which you share with another colleague, he narrates his ordeal.
1. After listening to Tunde's story, which of the following will you do and why?
(a). Refer him to the Head of Department/Dean
(b). Ask him to see the University Guidance Counsellor
(c). Refer him to appropriate sections of the university
where his problems can be solved.
(d). Offer him advice on all the problems.
(e). Tell him you are not a trained Guidance Counsellor
and he should seek help elsewhere.
Ngozi is a final year female undergraduate. She is easily one of the most brilliant in class. Within the last two semesters. Her attention had been diverted by her boyfriend to social rather than academic activities. She justifies this shift by claiming that she has to get married to her boyfriend immediately after graduation to avoid his being `snatched' by other girls. By her engagement in social activities. She cuts classes and galls to do most of her assignments. Her Grade Point Average (GPA) fell drastically. The sudden drop in GPA was noticed at a meeting of Senate. As Head of Department, you were asked to investigate and counsel Ngozi accordingly.
Describe in detail your plan for tackling this Senate assignment.
Ethics of Guidance and Counselling
Some ethical codes of behaviour should guide the manner in which we offer guidance and counselling services. These apply to both the counsellor (person offering counselling service) and the counsellee (person being counselled). Adherence to such ethical behaviour is important if successful practice is to be assured. Confidentiality is one of such ethical behaviours. The identity of the counsellee, problems discussed and advice given should be within strict confidential limits. It is out of place during a lecture or public discussion to narrate what student `A' told you about a problem he/she had and what you gave as advice. Apart from the public embarrassment to the student, such student and many others will hesitate to come again to you for guidance and counselling. Tolerance is another behaviour that should be maintained by the person offering guidance and counselling service. You must be sufficiently tolerant to hear out the counsellee. As much data as you can get must be sufficiently tolerant to hear out the counselllee. By being tolerant, you get full information and hence vantagely positioned to offer good advice and counsel.
The request for guidance and coounselling service should be voluntary. It is improper for the counsellor to force the service on the counsellee. On the part of the counsellor, it is the prerogative of the counselle to elect to take up the service. This is in a way similar to selling insurance. You are not forced to take the insurance. If you are, however, convinced in favour, you then go ahead to buy the insurance.
Objectivity is another ethical issue. We must remain completely impersonal in proffering advice. The counsellee should have the benefit of objective views on the matter at hand. Final decision making lies with the counsellee. The counsellor provides possible options, stating their merits and demerits. On the basis of the prevailing circumstances, the counsellee is then assisted to make a decision. The counsellor's point of view should not be forced on the counsellee.
The Practice of Individual Counselling
Counselling involves two people in interaction. The interaction is highly confidential and since counsellees discuss themselves in an intimate fashion, it is highly private and unobserved by others. The mode of interaction is usually limited to the verbal realm, the counsellor and counsellee talk with one another. Counsellees talk about themselves, their thoughts, feelings, and action. They describe events in their life and the way they respond to these events. The counsellor listens and responds in some fashion to what the counsellee says to provoke further responses. The two think, talk and share their ideas and feelings.
The interaction is relatively prolonged since alteration of behaviour takes time. In contrast to a brief conversation with a friend in which distortions or unconscious desires are usually maintained and usually only temporary relief is gained, counselling has as its goal the change of behaviour. It is assumed that through the counselling interaction the counsellee will in time revise his distortions and alter his behaviour.
THREE STAGES OF THE HELPING MODEL
1. The Present Scenario
i. Help clients become aware of and overcome their blind spots and develop new perspective on themselves and their problem situation; Many people fail to cope with problems in living or fail to exploit opportunities because they do not see them from new perspectives. They lock themselves in self-defeating patterns of thinking and behaving. Using imagination and brainstorming in the service of problem management and opportunity development is one of the ways counsellors can empower clients. Challenging blind sports is not the same as telling them that what they are doing is wrong. It is helping them to see themselves, others, and the world around them in a more creative way.
iii. Help client search for leverage: The clients should be helped to identify and work on problems, issues, concerns or opportunities that will make a difference. Leverage includes three related activities. First, the cost of the problem has to be screened in terms of effort and time to be spent on it. Secondly, if clients, in telling stories reveal a number of problems at the same time or if the problem situation discussed is complex, then criteria are needed to determine which concern to be dealt with first. Lastly, the problem, issue concern, needs to be clarified in terms of specific experiences, behaviours and affects (feelings, emotions).
2. THE PREFERRED SCENARIO
"What would this problem look like if I was managing it better?"
"What changes in my present life styles would make sense?"
"What would it look like if it looks better?"
Clients should be helped to find right and realistic models. Another ways could be reviewing better times or getting them involved in new experiences. A writing approach and use of fantasy and guided imaginary has also proved beneficial for most clients.
ii. Help clients translate preferred scenario possibilities into viable AGENDA: The variety of preferred scenario possibilities developed constitute possible goals or desired outcomes of the helping process. The client is helped to choose the possibilities that make the most sense and turn them into agenda; a set of goals that need to be accomplished.
iii. Help clients identify the kinds of incentives that will enable them commit themselves to the agendas they fashion: ideally the agendas a client chooses are on their face, appealing. If not, then incentives for commitment need to be discovered. The goals that are set in the agenda need to be owned and appealing to the client. It is better if they are chosen from among options. The focus should be on those that will reduce the client's crisis or pain. Challenging goals should not be avoided. The counsellor can help clients see ways of managing current dis-incentives that stand in the way of goal attainment. Contracts can also help clients commit themselves to choices and the client needs to be helped to identify action strategies for accomplishing their goals.
3. STRATEGIES (GETTING THERE)
ii. Help clients choose a set of strategies that best fit their environment and resources. "Best" here means the single strategy or combination of strategies that best fit the client's needs, preferences, and resources, and that is least likely to be blocked by factors in the clients environment. They should be clear and specific, tied to the desired goal, realistic, effective, owned by the client, and in keeping with his or her values.
iii. Help clients formulate a plan that is, step-by-step procedure for accomplishing each goal of the preferred scenario. A plan then takes strategies for accomplishing goals, divides them into workable bits, puts the bits in order, and assigns a timetable for the accomplishment of each bit. Formulating plans helps clients search for more useful ways of accomplishing goals, that is, even better strategies. Plans provide an opportunity to evaluate the realism and adequacy of goals. They tell clients something their strategies. Clients are also helped to uncover unanticipated snags or obstacles to the accomplishment of goals.
1. List four ethical behaviours of a counsellor
2. Give descriptions of four unethical behaviours of a counsellor, giving examples in each case
4. Why do some lecturers use the confidential discussions they earlier had with some students as examples in the open class? How do you rate such a behaviour?
Limits of the Teacher in Offering Guidance and Counselling
Most higher education teachers are not trained guidance counsellors . This lack of formal training places limits on the extent to which the untrained can go in offering guidance and counselling services. One hates to believe also that only the supposedly trained and qualified guidance counselor can attend to the guidance and counselling needs of the learner. There are some services that the untrained can offer on account of personal experience. In all circumstances, the important thing to note is that we should not be "Mr. Know All". We should carry on only to the limit of our knowledge and experience. We should, thereafter, identify other resource persons in and outside the school community that can fill the gaps.
The typical higher education teacher is tooled to offer mainly academic counselling. Most are able to guide learners in their discipline of specialisation and counsel when students have learning difficulties in these areas. If this is your limit, stay within it and do not stray into unfamiliar territory of social guidance. Perhaps the school counselling office will fill the gap.
After completing this Unit, you will be able to;
INSTRUMENTATOON IN GUIDANCE AND COUNSELLING
We need as much information as possible from learners in order to make a success of guidance and counselling, It is when most, and perhaps all the information is in that we can take a global look at the problem and offer meaningful guidance. The tool for gathering information is known as the instrument. Such tools include tests, questionnaires, inventories, interview guides and observational schemes. Just as the thermometer is an instrument in the hands of the scientist, so also is the questionnaire the instrument in the hands of a guidance counsellor. For data collected to be useful, the instrument should be valid and reliable. In this section, you will learn to develop instruments for data collection and adapt existing instruments for your case. First, let us see the different types of instruments.
Types of Instruments
Several typologies exist for classifying instruments. For example, instruments can be grouped on the basis of (a) what they measure, e.g. cognitive (achievement tests); affective (attitudinal inventories and questionnaires); psychomotor (practical skill tests); and (b) how they measure e.g. power and speed tests. For the purpose of this Module, we shall adopt the scheme presented in Table 8.3.
Instruments for the Guidance Counsellor
|PURPOSE||TYPE AND USE|
Tests; e.g. for measuring intelligence Quotient (I.Q),
cognitive style/preference; self concept, reasoning
skills and problem solving.
Achievement Tests: for measuring achievement in cognitive domain such as subject matter test.
For measuring attitudes, perceptions and affective behaviours.
Practical skills inventory
For measuring different aspects of practical abilities
Instrument Development and Validation
Figure 8.2 gives the stages in the development of any of the instrument listed in table 8.2
|PREPARATION OF BLUEPRINT|
|FIRST LEVEL VALIDATON AND REVISION|
Domain Specification; This is where the construct, attitude or skill to be measured is identified and specified in both general and specific terms.
Preparation of Test Instrument This is an important stage of preparing the plan or blueprint for writing items for the instrument. The plan showing coverage of the instrument in terms of objectives and domain content are put on a grid. This is to ensure that the domain in focus is covered in breath and in depth.
This is the process of composing the first draft of the instrument by writing its component items. The structure of the instrument starts developing from this stage. It is perhaps the most intellectually demanding step in the process of instrument development. The process ends when the distribution of items in the test blueprint is completely covered.
First Level Validation and Revision; After the first draft of the instrument is composed, it is subjected to validation for face and content validity. Comments from the validation items are used to revise the structure and items on the instrument.
Pilot Testing; The revised draft is pilot tested on a sample of the population for which the instrument is meant. Further refinement of the instrument is made on the basis of pilot test data.
Finalisation; Data from the pilot testing exercise are used to further refine the instrument. At this time, the reliability values are determined.
Sometimes, it is not worth the effort developing and validating a new instrument if standardised forms exist. It could be like re-inventing the wheel Most times however, it may not be able to use the standardise instrument in the pure form without adapting it to our situation.
Adaptation could be with minimum modification. The modification could also be major. The direction of modification are usually in the areas of -
- Degree of fit with the test blueprint
- Cultural bias
After modification, the instrument should be subjected to validation and reliability examination as if it was a new instrument.
|Develop and validate
the following instruments which could facilitate your
providing objective guidance and counselling service to
your students (refer to Module 5 for further assistance.
2. A questionnaire to measure their attitude towards the course you teach.
3. A 50 item achievement test in your course which will reveal the learning difficulties of your student.
Data Collection and Processing
Instruments can be administered individually or to a group of learners. After administration, the responses should be scored and the data recorded in a manner that is amenable to processing. Data processing can simply involve manual calculation (using the hand-held calculator) of percentages and means and drawing of graphs to show the distribution of scores. It can also be through the use of a personal computer for more elaborate analysis.
Processed data should be stored in such a way as to facilitate retrieval when needed for offering guidance and/or counselling to individuals or groups of learners.
|1. Administer the
questionnaire you developed in 6.4 for measuring the
attitude of your students towards your course. Score the
items in the questionnaire. Remember to reverse scoring
for negative terms. Take the total for each section of
the questionnaire and for the whole instrument. Calculate
the mean for the group. Record the scores for each
student in the different sections and also the total
scores. What counselling decisions need to be taken on
the basis of the graph?
2. Call selected students on individual basis and get to know them better based on item 5 of exercise 6.3. e.g. "You said in class that you were xyz, but efg is what I knew of you. Can you explain further? Or can you help me reconcile the two views about you?
Group and Individual Interview
The interview is a good technique for getting in-depth information that could otherwise not be obtained from most instruments. In a relaxed atmosphere, the interviewee (the person being interviewed) could furnish the interviewer (the person conducting the interviewer) with a large volume of information. In order not to be drowned by the avalanche of information, we need to systematically plan for, execute, and follow-up interviews that we conduct during guidance and counselling exercises.
Planning The following steps need to be taken in planning and interview:
Identification of characteristics of the interviewee
Arranging the sitting, audio/Video recording
Developing an interview guide
|Step 3||Pilot testing the instrument|
|Step 4||Finalisation of the interview guide|
Executing: In executing the interview plan, the interviewer needs to -
- Avoid forcing the pace of response
- Take notes as the responses are given.
Follow - Up
- Develop the interview transcript
- As follow-up questions if there are areas that need clarification from the interviewee.
For group interviews, target respondents should be identified. Agreements should be reached by the group on a subject before being recorded by the interviewer.
Group and Individual Observations
Observations are designed to provide perspectives to data gathering that are not capture by test administration and interviews. These perspectives include non-verbal behaviours and interaction patterns. A sad look, a look of excitement, gait when walking, shy tendencies in class, and aggressive tendencies are some of the characteristics of the learner to be counselled that a questionnaire may not reveal in full. By observing the learner, we are able to record in graphical and direct form, such physically observable behaviours.
The development of an observation instrument is the first step to be taken. We should follow the sequence shown in steps 1 to 4 on the previous page. After developing the instrument, we could use it in gathering data by observing the group as a unit or for observing individual students with specific problems.
There are two main types of observation. The observer, in this case the teacher, participates in the activities given to learners. This enables the teacher pit himself or herself in the place of the learner (empathy). In non-participant observation the observer looks from a distance and records unobtrusively. This is the more common mode of observation in guidance and counselling.
This is record of snapshots of significant events in the life of the learner. The events can be recorded either by the teacher or by the learner. Whichever way, the teacher keeps the record for the purpose of having insights into the behaviour patterns of the learner. This record is important as the teacher prepares to attend to the counselling needs of the learner.
This is an organised scheme for offering guidance to students. The focus is usually on academic guidance although it could be stretched to include social guidance if social activities in the life of the learner impacts negatively on learning.
In many institutions, the scheme is department based. Each lecturer in the Department is assigned a group of students. The students are expected to meet periodically with the Advisor, as a group or individually. Where such schemes exist, they have been known to be effective in helping students overcome their learning difficulties.
Records to be kept by the Teacher/Counsellor
Records of Achievement
A good record of achievement test can serve as an effective instrument wit which we can measure an individual's performance with (a) those of others in his group and (b) his past achievement. With this one can diagnose his weakness and strength. School progress of each student can also be measured, need for remedial measures determined and the progress of the entire students improved. For instance, a Mathematics test if well constructed could provide information as to whether or not, students weakness is in the fundamental operation.
Personality Information Records
Personal qualities and interests are equally important as factors which affect one's success in occupation, life, social life, and in school. The only way to measure personality is by observing how the individual behaves in different situations. Such observations can be made in the classroom, at playground, during social gathering, etc. when the individual is quite himself or herself.
Personality records should contain the following views about the students;
(b). Responsibility - unreliable, somewhat dependable, usually dependable, conscientious, assumes much responsibility.
(c). Emotional stability - hyper-emotional, excitable, usually well balanced, exceptionally stable.
Though the university teacher cannot have this, it is necessary that the school counsellor has a record about student's health. This should be made up-to-date indicating the type of disease from which the individual must have suffered, the duration of illness and the time of the year, if possible. Medical statements about student's ears, eyes, teeth, posture, nervous symptoms, or speech defects should also be included. A cumulative up-to-date health record will help the school counsellor refer particular students at different times to specialists for treatment. This also helps to decide the type of job to which a student can be assigned. A research fellow on school discipline has suggested that the offence should not determine the punishment but instead type of punishment recommended should depend on the physical strength of the individual offender. It therefore follows that a detailed, up-to-date health record will help remind the counsellor and the school authority of the importance of individual differences in dealing with the children.
The home is one of the major factors which affect the education of students. An unstable home causes the student emotional imbalance. The family record should include name and address of parents, their nationality and occupation, and the socio-economic status.
If family records are kept and maintained up-to-date by the counsellor, clues can be found in an attempt to spot out student's difficulties with the aim of helping to alleviate his or her suffering. A good knowledge of the family records of the student will help to foster the triangular relationship, which should exist between the teachers, the parents and the student.
The counsellor should examine the cumulative records of each student to;
(b). Help students who are not working up to class level to cope with their problems. The under-achievers and those students who need remedial courses are this identified and helped.
(c). Identify gifted students and other students of unusual ability and help them by finding appropriate and challenging work for them.
(d). Find out students who attend classes irregularly and encourage them towards regular attendance.
(e). Study the personality traits of students who misbehave and suggest ways for their learning other adaptive behaviours.
(f). Help the counsellor to study students for whom special aids, such as scholarship are being considered.
(g). Gain background knowledge about students before assisting them in the choice of course for study.
(h). Gather some information about a student before conferring with his parents.
In this Unit, you will
(a). review general practices in academic, social and career guidance and counselling; and
(b). carry out exercises that are aimed at improving such practices.
General Practices in Academic, Social and Career Guidance and Counselling
In higher institutions, there are various schemes of guiding students and counselling them on their academic, social and career needs. Practice varies from one institution to another. At one end, we have institutions with well-developed central Guidance and Counselling Office. As well as Faculty/Department levels offering such service. Trained counsellors with access to data on each student and a host of other resources are found in such institutions. At the other end are institutions without any of such facilities. Many of the higher institutions in Africa are in between. In some, a central office exists without Faculty/Departmental branches. In others, there is no central facility. The Department/Faculty organises guidance services for the students.
The practice that is most common is to have a University/Technikon/College Guidance and Counselling Unit. Such Unit takes responsibility for academic, social and career guidance of the students. At the time of registration, packages are handed out which provide the learner with basic information on the operations of the institution. This is expected to serve as a road map for the activities of the learner. The office has one or more trained Guidance Counsellor. There are consulting hours during which students with problems have sessions with the counsellor.
There is also the Orientation Committee. In all higher institutions, arrangements are made fpr the immersion of the new entrant, usually from the secondary school, into the higher education sub-culture. This is done during what is popularly known as the Freshstudent Orientation week. The typical programme for the Week includes lectures, symposia, guided tours and social events. Students get to learn about life on campus, rules of the institution, rights of the student, teaching and learning styles and procedures as well as assessment and grading systems.
Another common practice is informal counseling of freshmen by seniors. This is important in the breaking-in process. There are several elements in the hidden curriculum of the institution that need to be known by the fresher. The seniors are in the best position to transmit the contents of such curriculum. This is done through information interactions, chats and guidance in the hall of residence and lecture rooms. How you can succeed in X; understanding the behaviour of Lecturer Y; and the attitude of the Management of the institution to certain students' behaviours are some examples of the information the seniors pass on to fresh students.
- Give a critical review of existing guidance and counselling practices in your institution stating the strengths and weaknesses.
At the end of this Unit, you should be able to;
(a). diagnose students' learning difficulties; an
(b). offer guidance to students with learning difficulties.
DIAGNOSING LEARNING DIFFICULTIES
Many learners including the supposedly brilliant, have difficulty with understanding some concepts. Cell biology may be easy while physiology may be difficult for Student A. for student B, the reverse may be true, while Student C may find both aspects of biology difficult. Learning difficulty is expressed in poor performance in the concept and in a demonstration of negative attitude towards the subject or a particular topics in the course.
When students find difficulty with learning some concepts, frustration results. Further learning may also be impeded. It is useful, therefore, to detect students learning difficulties and through a systematic regimen of guidance, assist the learner to jump the barrier posed by the difficult concepts. How do you as a teacher know that a learner has difficulty with learning? What techniques do you employ to detect students learning difficulties? These question will be addressed next.
Diagnosis During Instruction
Use of questions: As the lesson progresses, well-structured and modulated questions that are thrown to students in a random manner would reveal those with learning difficulties. Even if the learner does not signify intention to answer the question, the teacher should still direct the question to the learner. Those with `wobbly answers give away their deficiency in understanding the concept being taught.
Apart from oral questions, written tests should be given. Questions should be set in a way that would expose learning difficulties of students. Questionnaires could also be administered to provide an insight into students attitude towards the concept.
Use of Concept Maps: Ask your students to prepare concept maps from the lesson you just completed. The maps will give a detailed clue of misconceptions and aspects of the concepts that students have difficulty with.
Observation of Class Behaviour: a frown on the faces when the lesson is progressing could give indication that there is some problem with getting the gist of the lesson. Their manner of response and their show of anxiety are other pointers to how easy or difficult they are finding the lesson. Available facilities permitting, audio and video recording of lessons are useful ways of capturing classroom climate and in detecting learning difficulty.
Diagnosis after Instruction
Item Analysis of Performance: In scoring the test given to students, score and record item by item. Analyse performance on each item. Summarise your findings. Such a summary will give a good view of understanding of students on the concept to which each item is directed. If a questionnaire was administered, it will provide a feel of the attitude of students towards the concept. This information is important since negative attitudes impede learning.
Group and Individual Interview of Students: Interview the students in a group and then a random sample of individual students. Use the procedure in 6.2.4 to conduct the interview. The thrust of the interview is to find out where students find difficulty with learning the concept. Students should also give suggestions as to how the difficulties encountered can be removed.
Analysis of Audio/Video Recordings:
Analyse the audio/or video recording of your lesson . From the transcript, make notes of your actions (and inaction) that contributes to the difficulty that students had with learning the concept presented during that lesson.
Describe three ways by which you can detect students learning difficulties in:
2. After assessing a test you gave to students, you discovered that none of them had a pass mark.
What will be your most immediate reaction?
What would you do to find out what was responsible for such a poor performance?
Summary and Conclusion
In this module, we discussed and carried out exercises aimed at enhancing the skills of the higher education teacher in guidance and counselling. These activities are expected to:
As we wrap up the discussion, we should note the limitation of the teacher. Specialised cases should be referred to the specialist- the trained guidance counsellor.