The roles of guidance and counseling cannot be overstated. Guidance and counseling is needed in schools in order to make education more holistic and cater to the affective domain of students’ development.
In this article, I will be highlighting 15 ways in which guidance and counseling helps the educational system— the school as a whole, the teachers, as well as the students.
Importance of Guidance and Counselling in Elementary and Secondary Schools
Guidance and counseling play the following roles in secondary and elementary schools:
1. Help achieve educational goals
The educational goals of elementary and secondary schools cannot be achieved without the effective implementation of guidance and counseling in the school.
For schools to be a place where the total being of students are developed, counselors need to be brought into the scene to cater to the affective domain of students’ development.
2. Create conducive learning environment
Guidance counselors are trained in paying attention to the unique needs of the students and the school as a whole through the conduction of yearly or termly needs assessments, which is not part of the responsibility of teachers.
Through these needs assessment programs, necessary adjustments can be made in the activities of the school and new strategies can be implemented that will create a better learning environment in the school.
3. Reduce cases of bullying and social vices
The presence of guidance counselors in schools can help reduce the cases of bullying and social vices we are faced with currently as a nation.
Counselors will both help in developing the moral character of students as well as notice the rise of new trends in the school before they escalate or get out of control.
Also, because students are more comfortable around counselors than teachers who might be strict or not listening, they can open up cases of maltreatment by other students so necessary actions can be taken.
4. Aid effective administration of the school
School guidance counselors can help in the effective administration of the school because they aid the flow of information between administrators and teachers, students and teachers, and students and administrators.
In most schools, there is usually bureaucracy in reaching other stakeholders, especially from students to administrators. But students can easily relay their complaints to the counselors who will then take them to the administrators.
5. Keeping and updating of the Cumulative Record Folder
Counselors are in the right position to keep the cumulative record folders of the school. This will ensure that it is always up to date, confidential, comprehensive, and easily accessible.
If the keeping of CRFs is left with teachers, much information that should be recorded will be left out since the teacher is mainly busy with other activities and might not be skilled in assessing the affective domains of students.
Importance of Guidance and Counselling to Students
Guidance and counseling play the following roles for students
6. Counsellors can help students overcome psychological and mental health issues
Students are not exempted from the waves of mental health issues that are rampant in our society today. Since schools are where students spend most of their time, providing an environment that can help them overcome these issues will be beneficial to them.
Also if schools do not cater to the mental and psychological well-being of students, it will affect the academic performance of the students too.
7. Counselling can help students develop effective study habits
Effective study habits are necessary for students to perform well academically. But there are no facilities in the school that help students develop effective study habits.
This makes the presence of counselors a huge advantage to the students. Not only are they catered for affectively, but their cognitive domains will also benefit from the services of counselors.
8. Career guidance
Guidance and counseling is necessary to help students choose and progress in careers that best maximize their potential and fit their unique strengths and personality.
In the ever-changing and dynamic world of work, students need guidance so they can make the right choices.
After choosing their preferred careers, students need guidance to know the right subject combination for that career, they need to be enlightened about the demands of the world of work and be exposed to opportunities for growth.
All these cannot be achieved without the presence of guidance counselors in schools.
9. Orientation programs
Counselors are useful in helping new students adjust to the school environment. If students do not receive good orientation as they are enrolled in the school, they wouldn’t be able to maximize all the opportunities that their school environment provides.
Orientation is one of the core guidance services of guidance counselors.
10. Help shape students’ behaviors
The presence of guidance and counseling can help the school be a ground for the development of good moral behaviors. Counselors can help students increase desired behaviors, eliminate undesired behaviors and learn new desired behaviors through several behavior modification techniques.
Importance of Guidance and Counselling to Teachers
The presence of guidance and counseling in schools benefits teachers in the following ways:
11. Reduces workload on the teachers
Schools that do not have guidance counselors usually expect that teachers play all the roles of counselors (like behavior modification, career guidance, development of morals, and so on) in addition to their regular activities of teaching.
While teachers can support in these areas, they aren’t their primary assignment.
These excessive workloads on the teachers will reduce their overall effectiveness and negatively affect the school’s/ students’ output.
12. Aids effective continuous assessment of students
For the continuous assessment of students to be cumulative and comprehensive, there should be the input of the school counselor to provide information about the students that aren’t cognitive.
And since the counselors are in charge of keeping the Cumulative Record Folders of each student, they can easily compare current test (both performance and psychological test) results with previously recorded results and this will make the aim of continuous assessment (tracking step by step progress) better achieved.
13. Counsellors can teach teachers basic counseling skills
Since teachers spend significant amounts of time with students, guidance counselors can teach them basic counseling skills that they can use in relating with students instead of leaving students unattended or always waiting for the counselors to intervene.
Simple moral misbehaviors can be effectively/professionally handled by the teachers if they are taught while more serious cases are referred to counselors.
14. Counsellors can advocate for the teachers of the school
Since one of the expected activities of counselors is to conduct a periodic needs assessment and relay feedback to the school administration on what needs to be worked on, counselors can advocate for the welfare of teachers by making the administration see how poor teachers’ welfare is affecting the school.
15. Teachers can also benefit from one on one counseling
Counselors are not only trained to counsel students. The presence of a counselor in schools means teachers who are going through one issue or the other can easily walk up to the school counselor and seek professional help. Counselors can help teachers overcome work stress and attain work-life balance.
Needs of Guidance and Counselling in Education
There you have a few of the various ways guidance and counseling helps the entire educational program of schools. Schools that embrace the services of guidance counsellors have more to gain than what it would cost them.
Guidance and counselling helps the school achieve its curricular goals, helps the students become all-round developed, and helps the teachers offer more effective services to the school.
Olusegun Iyejare is a career coach and certified counselor. He helps individuals discover and maximize their potential to live satisfying lives regardless of obvious limitations holding them back.