School counseling is not a new concept; it has been in existence since long; however, it is also true that school counseling at elementary and middle level is a later development as compared to high school and college counseling…
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School counseling is not a new concept; it has been in existence since long; however, it is also true that school counseling at elementary and middle level is a later development as compared to high school and college counseling.Academic counseling, vocational guidance and other forms of school counseling are offered in most schools these days for the students who need it. According to the Education Encyclopedia (2011), school counselors facilitate communication between students, teachers and parents while striving to make learning process a positive experience for all parties involved. This paper will provide a brief history and evaluation of the school counseling program specifically at elementary and middle high school level offered to students in the USA, focusing on the roles and responsibility of a school counselor. History of School Counseling In USA:Though existence of informal school counseling, where the teacher played the role of counselor is centuries long, almost as long as that of education itself; the history of formal school counseling can be traced back to the beginning of twentieth century. In the pro social reform movement period, when child labor was at its peak, counseling was introduced in many schools of USA, but this was mostly vocational counseling which aimed at transforming people in the workforce into productive members of the society (Education Encyclopedia, 2011). During its first half, the 20th century faced two world wars. Two noticeable events occurred in the post war era that cleared the way for counseling in schools as we know it today (Yau, 1988). One was the establishment of American School Counselor Association in 1950 and second was inclusion of aid for counseling in guidance in the national defense education act in 1958 (Education Encyclopedia, 2011). In 1970’s the focus of school counseling was further expanded to engulf the special needs department. Special needs students also fell under the department of school counselor as per the Education for all handicapped children act in 1978. The ASCA has also developed a set of national standards for school counseling program, which serves as a guide for all school counselors regarding their role and responsibilities (Sabella, 2006). Importance of School Counseling Professional school counseling helps in maximizing student success via promotion of a safe and supportive learning environment (ASCA, 2009). According to Gysbers (2003), identity issues, problems pertaining to academic learning, peer pressure, drugs and changing or disturbing family relationships are a common part of students’ daily lives in the USA today. The role of counselor is therefore very important. The school counselor not only identifies the students in need of assistance, but also serves to rectify the problems and help the students in solving their issues. This is attained via expanding communication channels and introducing the students to effective life coping strategies as per the requirement. 2. ROLE OF A SCHOOL COLUNSELOR A review of available literature was conducted in order to find out the current trends and issues in school counseling in the USA and to explore the roles of a school counselor in America. The ASCA have carefully developed a national model for professional school counselors to follow. This model is typically based on four areas, namely: foundation, delivery, management and accountability (ASCA, 2011). The element of foundation in the model points out that the counselors are to develop a philosophy in their work and then to follow it. Ideally, counselors create a mission statement in collaboration with that of the school they are working at to create a supportive environment for the students that encourages learning. Delivery refers to the provision of required and expected services by the counselor to the staff, teachers, students’ and parents. Management also falls within the realm f counseling. As per the national
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