The school counseling program adopts methodologies that are user-friendly to both the students and their professional counselors. Participating Students must be engaged in pre-counseling interviews to obtain their informed consent in the subsequent process (Henderson& Thompson, 2007). Two important surveys are important namely; teacher/staff surveys that target to assess perceptions of student needs. A student survey is equally beneficial in helping students understand their perceptions regarding student needs. During these interviews, students are equipped with necessary skills such as the use of questionnaires, how to respond to surveys conducted by the counseling department as well as the approach to be used in analyzing observations.
School Needs Assessment
Based on the needs assessment in different backgrounds, students are then classified into small groups using a criterion that recognizes specific needs. Students are particularly sorted into different groups depending on their age, grade level as well as diverse cultural, national, and religious backgrounds (Osborn& Zunker, 2002). A statistical analysis of the quantitative data obtained from surveys conducted within the school environment and neighborhood is done. This information is recorded in specially created questionnaires that contain entries that incorporate the different aspects of concern the counseling department within the school. A multinational and multicultural school environment should exploit an inclusive school counseling program that recognizes student needs during curriculum development concerning their personal, academic, and professional aspirations. The program is therefore part and parcel of a course education that seeks to empower students with skills for academic excellence and future employment.
Classroom guidance prevention and intervention unit
Students’ behavioral development is also inclusive of the counseling program that employs appropriate techniques for the prevention of deviant behavior and reinforcing socially acceptable behavior (Patrick& Eliason, 2008). The techniques include the adoption of dialogue as means to help students engaged in alcohol and substance abuse in constructive conversation accompanied by rehabilitation. Professional counselors should therefore be integrated into the school’s guidance and counseling department depending on the different challenges and needs that students have. Their prior experience in handling special phenomena within and without a school environment is an important guide in recruiting and training counselors.
Group counseling unit
Surveys are conducted within and without the school, environment to establish the relationship between churches, homes, governmental and non-governmental organizations, and student welfare parameters. Students from different cultural backgrounds (in this case, whites-80%, African Americans-10%, Hispanics-5%) tend to maintain their cultural practice in socialization, problem-solving, and decision-making dimensions (Trusty& Brown 2007). School counseling programs are therefore instrumental in guiding classroom activities in terms of diagnosing and preventing deviations from the norm. Counseling, therefore, guides school administration in preventing indiscipline within the classroom and the general school environment.
Rationality for this Methodology
The socialization process that accompanies group discussions improves student welfare as a whole. This is because bad company destroys good morals due to the bad influence that members in a group could pass on towards each other. Behavior is learned within such groups through modeling and imitations (Henderson& Thompson 2007). Young people interact with one another to discover one another as well as make friends. Within their groups, they are bound to develop their own rules and values that identity with them. Essentially, students in schools are afraid of exposing their problems to their teachers. As such, they confine delicate issues to themselves to solve them. However, some of the issues that face young people are too complex for them to solve. For instance, they could be abusing drugs or watching pornographic movies which end up disturbing their emotional growth and development.
Effects of the collected data
The school counselor is therefore tasked to guide the young people especially in their groups of peers and friends from the background that problems that they encounter are similar. The majority of them are teenagers in the same age group which makes it easier for issues to be discussed effectively. As age mates, they can effectively understand the different situations that their peers could be facing and even admit to being having similar problems. Peer pressure often results in juvenile delinquency and other cases of indiscipline within schools (Henderson& Thompson, 2007). Groups formed for counseling in this case seeks to develop the young people through socialization to assist them to establish their careers in the long term. The background understanding informing such counseling is to provide some degree of accountability to one another given common goals and objectives among members in such a group.
Problems are shared with an open mind to promote transparency among members of the group. Since the group members are accountable to one another, they are expected to assist each other grow in both characters as well as a career through their mutual experiences (Osborn& Zunker 2002). For instance, when a group member fails to attend scheduled meetings, the entire group has to be concerned with the reasons why it happened to avoid a deviation from their esteemed values. The concern for each others’ welfare informs the principle of collective responsibility among group members who then ensure that they monitor the progress of individual members towards achieving their goals and objectives.
Counselors on the other hand direct group activities which include group discussions, sports activities meant for bonding, and the mutual understanding of each others’ needs. Different individuals have unique traits, talents, and gifts which can then be appreciated through group activities. Children are then effectively nurtured by counselors into responsible adults who are equally assisted to discover their strengths and weaknesses. Strengths include their different talents and academic achievements which are then reinforced through reward systems that recognize individual efforts.
Students need to prepare psychologically as regards the objectives of the counseling sessions at the individual and group levels. This improves their preparedness towards participation in the counseling sessions as well as ascertaining active membership in the activities. Interviews are conducted to screen individual students’ commitment to the counseling process. The interview also creates necessary awareness about their counseling groups in terms of the tasks, benefits, expectations, participation as well as the options available for appropriate alternatives (Henderson& Thompson 2007). This, therefore, establishes a working counseling group. After successful screening interviews, members are engaged in group discussions where they are encouraged to dialogue as a means to solve underlying problems in their careers and life in general. This demands that their group leader and members are made to understand their responsibilities about confidentiality. Counselors can equally develop a sense of belonging among the group members to foster trust in their interactions and deliberations. As such, it acts as a guide to the growth of the group through defined stages.
Students should be engaged in extra-curricular activities within the available sports facilities as well as their religious meeting points such as churches for Christians and mosques for Muslims. This is based on the background that these religious institutions also serve as community social halls where relevant communities gather to discuss important matters. Sports and recreational facilities also provide an appropriate ground for the development of talents among students within the school environment as scheduled in the school curriculum. Gender differences are realized within the classroom environment and the larger school environment in designing specific counseling elements for different groups, sexes, and ages. The median age for the entire student population is also applied in creating the small group in addition to the cultural dynamics and religious orientations.
In addition, members should be helped in processing the counseling experiences into appropriate remedial actions in their personal lives. Group counseling should therefore assist students in reconciling their needs in career progression with dynamic challenges in their daily lives. The outcomes for the group discussions should equally reflect the understated goals and the individual expectations for the members. The data collected by the team members need to be published in a proper statistical format which should then be evaluated by all stakeholders within the learning institutions (Patrick& Eliason 2008). Above all, the sessions should be done through the experiential learning model in an environment that does not demand to restrict students to a pure academic system. However, individual goals based on the needs assessment should be realized within the group perspectives to establish a win-win situation.
This translates to solving problems facing individual students within the group to guarantee the success of the communal group objectives. The group, therefore, creates an environment where a concerted effort is applied in counseling small groups on education and life issues. Accountability and transparency are then used to guide the process that recognizes an individual’s confidentiality as a professional and ethical yardstick in decision-making and problem-solving interventions. Both the classroom counseling and group counseling units are important pillars in mainstreaming goals and objectives within the school curricula for the mutual benefit of society and students. Students receive close attention in their studies within the classroom from their teachers based on their performance and recommendations from the counseling departments. As a result, their academic and career performance is monitored professionally. Their grades are bound to improve due to improved overall students’ concentration and focus in their classroom lessons.
Small group discussions also enhance a cohesive society within the classroom and school environments as a result of students appreciating one another despite their cultural and religious backgrounds. The overall effect is the creation of a favorable environment for the learning and development of talents. Students will also be empowered to discover their identity concerning their career development. An extensive counseling program shall also seek to train school personnel in guidance and counseling to solve disciplinary matters within their classroom and small groups. The school academic curriculum is finally designed taking into account cultural diversity, nationality, religious and social backgrounds to integrate the entire school community in a balanced education system.
Henderson, D. A. & Thompson, C. L. (2007). Counseling children. Michigan: Thomson/Brooks/Cole,
Osborn D. S & Zunker, V.G. (2002). Using assessment results for career development. New York: Brooks/Cole Publishing Company.
Patrick, J. & Eliason, G. (2008) Career Development in the Schools; Research in Career Development. Hague; IAP.
Trusty, J. & Brown, D. (2007). Designing and leading comprehensive school counseling programs: promoting student competence and meeting student needs. Michigan: New York; Thomson Brooks/Cole.