Academic journal article Professional School Counseling

Effect of a Specialized Classroom Counseling Intervention on Increasing Self-Efficacy among First-Grade Rural Students

Academic journal article Professional School Counseling

Effect of a Specialized Classroom Counseling Intervention on Increasing Self-Efficacy among First-Grade Rural Students

Article excerpt

School counselors are both specially trained and positioned to provide interventions to a large number of students and respond to a wide range of needs (Auger, 2013). Elementary school counselors, in particular, have the opportunity to use interventions and activities that optimize the distinct academic, career, and social/emotional development needs of their students at the outset of their academic endeavors (Scarborough, 2005).

With the increased hiring of elementary school counselors in the 1970s, delivery of classroom counseling lessons became more prevalent in schools and is now a core element of a comprehensive school counseling program (Akos, Cockman & Strickland, 2007). Gysbers (2004; Gysbers & Henderson, 2012) was an early pioneer in comprehensive school counseling models and identified the classroom core curriculum, formerly referred to as classroom guidance, as one of four key program components, along with individual student planning, responsive services, and what was then identified as system support. Today, the ASCA National Model from the American School Counselor Association (ASCA, 2012) recognizes the delivery of classroom lessons as an essential component of direct service delivery to students. School counseling outcome research has repeatedly demonstrated that comprehensive, developmental school counseling programs make a positive difference in student performance (Carey & Dimmitt, 2012; Carey, Harrington, Martin, & Stevenson, 2012; Scarborough & Luke, 2008; Wilkerson, Perusse, & Hughes, 2013), and have positive effects on student academic, career, and social/emotional development (Fitch & Marshall, 2004; Lapan, Gysbers, & Petroski, 2003; Sink & Stroh, 2003). Similarly, in a meta-analytic examination of classroom interventions employed by school counselors, Whiston, Tai, Rahardja, and Eder (2011) asserted the relationship between classroom interventions and improvement in children's behaviors, attitudes, and academic success (see also Borders & Drury, 1992; Carey & Dimmitt, 2012; Carey et al., 2012).

The ASCA National Model (ASCA, 2012) recommends that elementary school counselors spend 80% of their time in direct services, including the delivery of classroom lessons that provide all students with the academic, career, and social/emotional knowledge and skills for their developmental level. School counselors are also accountable for bolstering the achievement of all students, and using evidence- and equity-based practices in the delivery of services has become more important than ever (ASCA, 2012; Dahir & Stone, 2009; Education Trust, 2009; Shillingford & Lambie, 2010). Researchers attribute lack of access and resources as major contributors to achievement disparity between affluent White students and their minority counterparts (Education Trust, 2009; Holzman, 2006). Although classroom lessons are considered a primary vehicle by which school counselors can directly impact all students (Geltner & Clark, 2005), the nationwide push for Common Core Standards (Achieve, 2013) and high-stakes testing (Erford, 2013) has, according to elementary school counselors, impacted their access to time in the classroom, and has negatively affected their ability to provide essential socioemotional interventions (Barna & Brott, 2011; Dollarhide & Lemberger, 2006; Erford, 2015a; Brown, Galassi, & Akos, 2004).

Current trends show a strong desire for evidence-based curriculum and methods in elementary schools (Carey & Dimmitt, 2008), with Whiston et al. (2011) urging additional research to examine the effectiveness of classroom interventions used with students. The ASCA National Model (ASCA, 2012) similarly emphasizes the need for incorporating relevant learning objectives within the core counseling curriculum to evaluate progress toward meeting student outcomes. In a recent effort to guide school counselors' practice with updated, research-based information, ASCA (2014) developed the ASCA Mindsets & Behaviors for Student Success. …

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