Teachers' Opinions of School Counseling Programs in Nigerian Secondary Schools

Article excerpt

Secondary school teachers' opinions about their school counseling programs were investigated. The teachers were asked how they perceived the school counseling services being implemented in their schools, and how they rate the counseling activities provided by school counselors in their schools. Results indicate that majority of the teachers are of the opinion that counseling programs make positive contributions to the school's instructional program, and the major responsibility of the school counseling program was the provision of career information. The results also indicate that school counselors should not reveal to teachers information that they receive concerning students' attitude towards the teachers. It was then advocated that a guidance policy be formulated for the school system that could make secondary school teachers appreciate the uniqueness of school counseling programs.

External support such as the Federal Government of Nigeria's decision to offer scholarship for master's degree students in guidance and counseling in 1988, and the inclusion of guidance and counseling as an educational service in the Nigeria's national policy on education, were responsible for guidance and counseling programs getting a foot in the door o'f secondary school system in Nigeria (Aluede, 2000; Aluede & Imonikhe, 2002). However, the staying power and eventual success would largely be determined by the internal support accorded these programs (Gibson, 1990). In terms of internal support, no group could be more critical than the classroom teachers (Gibson, 1990; Gibson & Micheli, 2003).

Although teachers share in the same deep sense of commitment to student's success, yet they are frequendy overlooked as valuable resources when changes in counseling programs are planned and /or implemented (Beesley, 2004). Wilgus and Shelley's study (as cited in Beesley, 2004) noted that teachers, no doubt, are in a unique position to provide an insight or meaningful feedback to school counselors on how to maximize the provision of counseling services (Beesley 2004). Even though teachers' opinions about counseling programs have been neglected and virtually ignored, a few authors (i.e., Aluede & Imonikhe, 2002; Clark & Ametea, 2004; Gibson, 1990; Quarto, 1999), who have studied this, report that most teachers perceive counselors as a positive contribution to the school's instructional programs.

In Ireland, for example, O' Brien, Tuite, DcDonogh and Deffely's study (as cited in O'Leary, 1990) reported areas of mutual interest to bodi guidance counselors and their teaching colleagues. Ninety- five percent of the respondents were of the opinion that school counselors should participate in the teachers' discussions of classroom experiences, while eighty-five percent of the participants believed that school counselors should use teachers as a career information resource. Overall, the study points to the possibility of integrating career information into the role of the subject teachers. This call for a situation whereby counseling methods and techniques could be devised in a manner that the school counselor coordinates the subject teaching staff as a team that can effectively fulfill many of the career information needs of their students.

Schmidt (1993) revealed that counselors and teachers use classroom guidance activities to encourage positive self-concept development and alter behaviors for improved school success. These classroom activities are integrated with daily lessons or designated as specially planned presentations. It is worthy of mention that no school counseling program is successful without the support and assistance of the teachers in the schools (Schmidt, 1993). The teacher as a matter of fact is the most important professional in the school setting (Gibson & Mitchell, 2003). Teachers are a vital link in the integration of affective education into the curriculum. They are the first line helpers in the school counseling program and are the referral sources for students in need of additional assistance. …

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