Byline: Rommel B. De La Cruz, Ed.D. Graduate School, Jose Rizal University
LET us now situate counseling in the classroom while considering it more as a process of helping and growing in the article "The Changing Context of Teacher Education in Larger Society,aa we teachers are admonished that our responsibility does not end in providing the young generation with knowledge and technical skills they need in meeting the challenges of an electronic and computer age. We also have to help them grow or mature by furnishing them life knowledge and skills. Life knowledge and skills are those variables we can associate with emotional and attitudinal quotients. Our local company technocrats sometimes ignore these quotients. With the speed knowledge and technology is progressing, only the basics of their education most of the time will be of help to those who are now employed. These basics will be enhanced by experience and training at work. Life knowledge and skills would make the difference whether such enhancement will either take place or not; or maybe take place slow or fast. A number of companies abroad particularly in the US do not consider much the degrees earned here; prime consideration is given to experience and skills.
The Commission on PreCollege Guidance and Counseling remarked that schools can contribute significantly in controlling the depletion of human resources and talent. We can find in our generation a huge number of people who could have contributed something to improve our way of life if they were only helped to attain their potentialities. These potentialities they can realize only in themselves if they have those life knowledge and skills. As almost proverbially echoed through countless instances, in the classroom is where the biggest war of the future of a people is fought. To win a war men have to go to battlegrounds with readiness to win battles, in the same manner, to save the future of a young generation, the older generation should secure first their youngas mental and emotional wellbeing before anything else.
I have developed a counseling approach which assimilates some features of their approaches. This counseling approach has been developed with the homeroom classroom in mind as its locale of deployment. It is also designed with consideration of the cross-sectional portrait of the Filipino. In other words, it considers our being self-centered, passive, and religious. This is the Vicarious Counseling Approach (VCA).
The "vicariousaa is strongly associated with education. Teachers may have been introduced to it through the names of observational learning, social learning and symbolic learning. A reviw of the research done on his type of learning shows that for some yeras it has delved into how cognition facilitates it. Later studies have associated it with other constructs which promote learning, e.g. observation, social interaction, modeling. Thus, we can easily underscore its theoretical harboring in social learning. The Dictionary of Personality and Social Psychology claims that social theory is an attempt to explain vicarious examples of human behavior and aspects of personality by reference to principles derived from experiments in learning.
Three strategies used in this approach have been identifiable with social learning theory. These are Simulation, Modeling, and Reinforcement. Simulation aims to work on the resources present in the student which can be helpful for the purpose of counseling. These resources come either in the form of experiences, feelings or thoughts. The strategy provides both the data to the counselor and awareness to the student and the situation that the latter perceives as impeding his growth. The advantages of this Vicarious Counseling strategy are varied. It can allow the student to experience the crisis and overcome it in the presence of a more helping climate. Learning and growing can unfold in an environment that relatively controls the consequence of the studentas actions. Time to learn from experiences which may take days to actualize can be compressed, while feedback is readily available. The total frame of experience/s can be simplified so that a participant will be able to concentrate on the specific aspects of his problem. The disadvantages of this strategy lie on other end of all these advantages. We just have to reverse the advantages and will get the disadvantages.
The techniques that can be employed to undertake this strategy are nor original either, not are those of the other Vicarious Counseling strategies of Modeling and Reinforcement. This approach was developed in the undercurrent of an eclectic movement. This was the trend which aimed to integrate techniques and approaches among various counseling approaches. For the Simulation, these are some of techniques which can employ:
1. Self-presentation. The student is helped to act out or portray himself under the occurrence of growth-deterring situations or experiences. He has to describe verbally and non-verbally his feelings and thoughts.
2. Role Reversal. The student may switch roles with another participant to gain insight on other reactions possible to the former.
3. Double technique. An auxiliary ego, the teacher maybe, stands beside the student to probe, reflect, and challenge the latteras interpretation of a certain experience.
These techniques would require in our students a degree of maturity and certain social skills. They cannot just open up to us like that and allow somebody whom they do not trust much to be involved with their own issues and concerns. They also have to articulate their feelings and thoughts clearly while suspending those judgments which hamper them from learning and growing. On the average, Filipino students do not have these requisites of the strategy. Some suggestions though may help in utilizing these techniques. First, we have to identify the peer grouping in our class; second, we have to encourage and challenge them to be more open with their thoughts and feelings in the presence of others particularly adults; third, we have to create for them a kind of social structure in a classroom where they will have more opportunities to challenge their feelings and thoughts as well as those of their classmates; and lastly, we should develop in them the mental habit to take responsibility for their own behaviors and actions.
The second strategy of Vicarious Counseling is Modeling. Basically, it provides helpful, adaptive, and growth-fostering behavioral patterns. While Simulation makes a student aware of what really is his problem, by redefining and confronting it. Modeling supplies the resources that may not be present in him in his young age. One positive result of this strategy is its inhibitory or stimulating effect. This suggest that the model could either enhance or extinguish in the student the effects of an experience which was a generating growth-stumbling state of mind or situation. It also has an initiating effect in the student as he may try an adaptive and healthy statement of mind, which in a process will be creating a learning experience for himself. This experience may happen regardless of the recurrence of a situation that is supposed to engender the decadence of mental well-being and its coping resources.
These are the three of the techniques associated to Modeling:
1. Live Modeling. It can be structured so that the desired behavior will be demonstrated, or unstructured which will be elicited from the memory of a client or situations or people who seem to provide the target response.
2. Symbolic Modeling. Written materials, audiotapes, videotapes, or films can be used to introduce and promote the desired behavior.
3. Covert Modeling. A process in which the client imagines a model performed a desired behavior.
Modeling is a potent medium to foster good values in our students. The success of American culture in subjugating our peopleas minds emanates from the subtle yet vigorous dialectics of Modeling. It can vividly and effectively portray the contrasting aspects and qualities of being "Americanaa and "Un-American.aa The American culture or that of the White seems to be legitimized by it in our young people thinking with all the bile that goes with it. The delivery of this has to be structured in manner that accommodates differences and ingenuity of students. Just like in Simulation, this structuring of the strategy will diminish its subtlety, and therefore renders it less effective.
Reinforcement as the final strategy of Vicarious Counseling strengthens the effects of Modeling. Some of the techniques available under this strategy are as follows:
1. Social Reinforcement. This is the type of reinforcement a person or a group gives through verbal or non-verbal signs of approval, attention, recognition and friendship.
2. Information as Reinforcement. This provides feedback on the changes in the situation a person originally has found himself distressed before; it may come in tangible or non-tangible forms.
3. Activities as Reinforcement Reading, watching TV or any activities that relax or refresh the student can be used.
Vicarious Counseling was first deployed in the homeroom in its trial and applicability evaluation stage. The teachers who observed the use of the ten lessons which were developed incorporating all the three strategies found them suitable for homeroom counseling. Generally, a number of the aspects of the lessons should be improved; but the promise of the counseling approach poses a challenge to those teachers who concede to the idea that counseling in our classroom and culture has to be reframed.…