Counsellors lend a sympathetic ear

A school counsellor is trained to address issues acrossa broad spectrum of students.

Schools today need to be equipped to assist students of all ages to cope better with the challenges of learning while transitioning from childhood to young adulthood. Students generally face pressure from multiple quarters. And this is where the role of a school counsellor becomes important. A school counsellor gives students the support they need and helps strengthen their coping skills. 

Discussion holds key

Counselling is designed to let students safely discuss their problems, to learn conflict resolution techniques, to improve behaviour, and to help with social development. School counsellors work with young students from kindergarten to high school students, each with their unique sets of challenges and at crucial turning points in their lives.

Schools these days prioritise student well-being in a number of ways, including having highly qualified counsellors for various sections like kindergarten, elementary, middle, and high school.

Apart from having full-time counsellors, schools should also provide an environment that is open, fosters acceptance, and encourages students to bring their concerns to the foreground facilitating counsellors and students to work through them together.

In addition to supporting students who may go through difficult times, counsellors are also available for students who need advice and support with social and educational challenges. Counsellors work with parents and families to support positive parenting skills and help understand their children.

In highly diverse schools, families come from all over the world, each with their unique ideas about family, discipline, and support.  In these schools, counsellors help bridge this gap and connect them to the school culture. Counselling also helps students overcome behavioural problems, improve their time management and organisational skills, establish academic goals, resolve interpersonal problems with other students, and work through personal problems.

Emphasising on mental well-being is imperative to help students grow into successful individuals. A school counsellor is trained to address issues across a broad spectrum of students. The counsellors are proficient in helping students deal with peer pressure, academics, and in improving their outlook on school, family, and the future.

Counsellors prepare students for the academic year, career, and social challenges by relating educational agendas to their success in the future. They help encourage students to be motivated learners and to express themselves.

Counsellors conduct group and individual counselling sessions if and when required. Sometimes parents and teachers are involved in sessions for issues that might require outside support. 

Be selective

Getting a school counsellor can be tough because counselling is a sensitive profession, especially school counselling. Schools need to be selective to recruit counsellors who have the minimum educational background and the experience of working with children of different age groups.

Counsellors require exceptional communication and interpersonal skills to support students with varying needs. They need to work actively to serve as a support system with whom students are able to trust and confide in. It is also imperative to have counsellors for students of different age groups as they require different types of support. An elementary school counsellor and a secondary school counsellor are necessary with the addition of a boarding school counsellor if boarding is offered in the school.

School counsellors are an integral part of a school’s student welfare and learning support committees. As part of these committees, school counsellors also develop, coordinate, and assess initiatives that promote student welfare and improve learning standards.

The biggest benefit of a well-trained and effective school counsellor is in the way they help prepare students for academic, career, and social challenges.

They can help motivate students to learn and explore the world around them and help figure out what they want to do with their lives. They should encourage their students to have these types of conversations with their parents and peers.

They should lend a sympathetic ear to students whenever necessary.

Parents, teachers and students should know that they can open up with counsellors if there are concerns to be discussed. So, if anyone has anything to talk about, don’t hesitate to approach your school counsellor.

(The writer is with Canadian International School, Bengaluru)

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