He has a chance to observe evidences of mental ability and Special talent or of incipient problems or faultiness in development. Better still, the teacher has the opportunity to foster the child’s natural curiosity; stimulate his intellectual understanding; help him to acquire knowledge and the listening, looking and reading abilities that are necessary to acquire more of it; approve successive steps in his achievement in thinking, feeling and doing; and to quote Anatole France, “make lovable those things that he ought to love.” Moreover, the teacher is the first to recognize severe personality problems and to refer them to the proper source of help.
The school counselor is the second line of defense. As a specialist, he should use his talents and skills in dealing with problems for which the teacher has neither the lime nor the technical know-how. In many instances, the counselor will not have sufficient time for all his specialised duties; however, he will have been less time if he does not draw on all resources available to him within the school and in the community. Classroom teachers generally want to contribute to the guidance programme; and the counselor who is short-sighted in recognizing this major resource limits his contribution to the pupils.
On the other hand, if the teacher is to provide effective guidance, he must draw upon the counselor for assistance. The well equipped counselor’s office contains descriptive material on standardized tests; descriptions of occupations and the training required to enter them; data on educational opportunities of every kind that are available to high school graduates; information on scholarships and other special literature.
The guidance consultant can help teachers plan the guidance aspects of lesson units and homeroom programmes. The teacher may expect help from the school counselor in the discovery and development of each pupil’s abilities, whether great or small.
To the teacher’s insights, gained through daily classroom contacts, the counselor adds his special skill in the selection, administration and use of tests and other measurements. For example, the counselor in one school found that many of the classroom teachers had not learned to distinguish between a slow learner and retarded reader; he gave them help in identifying the retarded readers —those who have the potential mental ability to read belter.
In another instance, the counselor helped teachers to understand the high mental age of a fourth grade pupil who was able to read sixth grade books was not qualitatively the same as that of a sixth grade pupil whose mental ability score placed him at sixth grade level.
A guidance consultant is most effective when he sees himself not only as a specialist, but as one who supports the teacher and helps him to be as effective as possible. One counselor, when confronted by a discouraged teacher who said, “I have a pupil in my class who doesn’t seem to respond to anything do for him”, asked the pupil’s age and then reassured the teacher by saying, “He’s been many years building his behavior, so it may take considerable time for him to change it. Try not to feel that you have failed with him. You’ve certainly done your best.”
The counselor has special skill in interviewing pupils so that they may gain self-under standing and make meaningful like plans. When he encounters a severe emotional disturbances or a social maladjustment with which he is not prepared to cope, he seeks the special services of a psychologist or psychiatrist, a mental health clinic, child guidance bureau or social agency.
Not the least important or his responsibilities is that of acquainting teachers and parents with his role and resources and attempting to make both the school and the neighborhood better places for children to grow to maturity.
Studies of counselors in action show a great diversity of duties and many different patterns of functioning. Almost all counselors feel that they are overburdened with clerical or routine duties and that they have too large a number of counselees. There should be shifting out of functions that can-just as well be performed by teachers and other school personnel; this would free the trained counselor for more intensive work with individual students and for more in-service education of teachers.
The counselor has special training in counseling and mental hygiene. He possesses an accurate knowledge of educational and occupational opportunities and their requirements on the other hand, he has an understanding of young pupil and their problems based on scientific knowledge. Therefore, he should occupy a pivotal position in school guidance programme.