Academic journal article International Journal of Education

Guidance-Counselling Strategies and Conformity with Code of Conduct in Secondary Schools in Gulu Municipality, Uganda

Academic journal article International Journal of Education

Guidance-Counselling Strategies and Conformity with Code of Conduct in Secondary Schools in Gulu Municipality, Uganda

Article excerpt

Abstract

The purpose of this research paper is to demonstrate that guidance and counselling strategies play a central role in school efforts to improve learners' levels of conformity with the code of conduct. A cross sectional parallel sample survey design was used. A total of 366 respondents comprising of 226 teachers and 140 prefects, in secondary schools in Gulu Municipality, selected through simple random and expert sampling were studied. Two pre-tested and validated questionnaires were used to collect the data. Three hypotheses were formulated to guide the study and were tested using descriptive statistics and Chi square tests. The study revealed that individual guidance and counselling strategy was commonly used and that learners' level of conformity with the code of conduct is moderate. The results further revealed that learners' level of conformity with the code of conduct does not significantly depend on the guidance and counselling strategy used. Based on these findings, the researchers recommend that school administrators should adopt the use of both individual and group counselling strategies and that Ministry of Education and Sports (MoES) should conduct in-service training for all teachers on techniques of guidance and counselling. The study proposes areas for further research including investigating the effectiveness of guidance and counselling services, and the moderating effects of sex, qualification, experience, and school resources on the relationship between the variables.

Keywords: guidance; counselling; code of conduct; teachers; prefects; Gulu; Uganda

1. Introduction

1.1 Background

For any school to achieve its goals, order must be maintained. Maintenance of order however, requires that boundaries of behaviour be set (Skiba & Peterson, 2000) in a code of conduct and communicated to all (Bakhda, 2004). Not all learners, however, adhere to the school code of conduct, and require guidance and counselling services.

The terms guidance and counselling are like two sides of the same coin though there has been a tendency to use them interchangeably. Guidance is the process of assisting learners to recognise their potential to work though problems (Chireshe, 2006; Lunenburg, 2010; MoES, 2004; Mutei & Ndabuki, 1999). Counselling, on the other hand, has been defined as the process of helping an individual to explore difficulties experienced in life so as to make informed decisions that will lead towards more satisfying life (Chireshe, 2006; Lunenburg, 2010; Idowu, 2008; Otyek, 1993). These definitions imply that counselling is an integral part of guidance without which guidance can never be complete.

From the aforementioned definitions, guidance and counselling strategies were considered as modes of conducting guidance and counselling sessions. These modes were categorised as individual guidance and counselling that deals with one learner and group guidance and counselling that deals with more than one learner at a time. The strategies aim at ensuring that learner behaviour, character, attitudes, values and life circumstances improve. Group guidance and counselling allows common problems to be handled at once and provides a safe environment for learners to express their feelings concerns and experiences (Directorate of Education Standards [DES], 2008b; Hayes, 2001; Lunenburg, 2010; Otyek, 1993; Weller, 2000). This strategy, however, suffers from lack of privacy and confidentiality (Aleck, 2003; Okiror, 2009). Individual guidance and counselling comes in handy to address these challenges. It focuses on deeper understanding of the learner as an individual and establishes self concept and sound identity (Lam, 2000; Chireshe, 2006). The challenge here is that since individual guidance and counselling is learner-initiated, learners may not easily confide in the teachers and may end up not being helped out of their difficulties (Mutei & Ndambuki, 1999), resulting in not complying with the code of conduct. …

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