7 Major Heads under Which the Areas of Guidance and Counseling are grouped at Schools

The students need expert help for optimum achievement and adequate adjustment in these varied life situations. For the sake of convenience and clarity, we will group these situations under seven major heads.

Major Heads

1. Education:

Educational problems head the list of student problems—hence education is an important guidance area.

Today, curricula offered by colleges and universities have increased tremendously. Vocations in many forms are penetrating colleges and universities.

Competitive examinations for entry into institutions and services have become normal phenomena in our country as elsewhere. Naturally, expert help is required by the students in making wise choices and be successful in competitive examinations.

Expert assistance is also required for enabling the students in making proper adjustment in relation to general academic life at college or university to effect maximum intellectual, emotional and physical development, as discussed earlier in this chapter.

2. Vocation:

This is another important guidance area. There are vocations as there are persons, and certainly all persons are not suitable for all vocations.

Every vocation needs a certain educational and professional background and preparation and only those having them can succeed. Hence the need for guidance to the students for a right choice of a vocation!

Arrangement has to be made to assist the students to have a reasonable estimate of their abilities and limitations, strike a balance between their aspirations and those of their parents, between their interests and the availability of opportunities.

They have to be assisted in making decisions and choices involved in planning a future and building a career.

They have also to be helped in developing an integrated and adequate picture of themselves and of their role in the world of work.

Occupational world is also changing very rapidly. Fresh and new occupational outlets undreamt of before are emerging.

It, therefore, becomes essential that students are also helped to acquire clearer perspective of the changes that are taking place in the job world.

The primary aim of vocational guidance is the promotion of personal satisfaction with life as a whole. As such, the process of vocational guidance will consist of the following factors:

(a) Enabling the students to discover information about themselves—their abilities, interests, needs, ambitions, limitations and their causes;

(b) Providing them information about their environment, the advantages and disadvantages of different occupations and educational courses, the qualifications necessary for entry into them, and the range of opportunities available to them;

(c) Providing them with a frame of reference in which t3 see themselves in relation to these educational and vocational opportunities; to orient them to the helping agencies available to them, and to alert them to future decision-making points in their careers;

(d) Disabusing the minds of students of any romantic or vague notions about certain jobs;

(e) Providing counselling in order to promote self- understanding and to develop educational and occupational plans;

(f) Providing placement service to help them implement those plans; and

(g) Providing a follow-up service to help them, if necessary, when faced with future decision-making situations.

3. Avocation:

Woodrow Wilson said so well, “The real intellectual life of a body of undergraduates, if there be any, manifests itself, not in the classroom, but in what they do and talk of, and set before themselves, as their favourite objects between classes and lectures”.

If that be so, responsibility of any college or university does not end with the syllabus and the teacher’s performance.

We must be keenly concerned with the nature of that day-long learning aside from books or lectures. We need to remember that the student spends only 5 or 6 hours of a 24 hour day in classes.

What goes on the rest of the time is the area of student services— the intellectual efforts outside of class, physical activities, social interaction, emotional experiences, cultural programmes etc. We must realistically recognise where learning is going on, help the students plan for them and actively participate in them.

There is hardly any doubt about this fact that avocational pursuits in which the students engage themselves are no less important in giving a direction to their lives.

This is all the more important as our college and university students get so many holidays—spring break, autumn break, long summer vacations, and so many scheduled and unscheduled holidays in between.

Students in Arts subjects particularly have got much spare time. How to ensure that vacant hours are profitably utilised is one of the problems which we have to face boldly.

A vocational needs of the students need to be met before they grow to troublesome proportion rather than being left to drift on a sea of confusion, doubt, anxiety, aimlessness, get exploited by others, or indulge in destructive acts or in unwholesome activities.

The students need to be properly guided for effective participation in varied types of avocational pursuits so that they are able to shape their interpersonal behaviour in desirable direction and widen their outlook.

4. Social:

Social relationships constitute a problem area for most of the students. For example, they come from a school which served a particular linguistic or socio-economic group. Friendship had been formed casually and spontaneously.

In a city college university, student body is heterogeneous and drawn from many linguistic and socio-economic groups.

It consists of adolescents who are self- conscious and tend to formalise their relationships; they seem to need a structured situation within which to socialise, be it the classroom or the college gymkhana, an extra-curricular interest or a class picnic.

Some shy students find themselves friendless even after an entire term at college or university. There are others who want to be effective as individuals in their groups. Very often, they have to work with people they dislike.

All such situations necessitate that students are guided to live as socially well-adjusted individuals. They need to be helped in making friends and improving their style of conversation.

It is of utmost importance that the students are helped in acquiring the feeling of security and being accepted by the group; in developing a social poise; in becoming tolerant towards the behaviour of others; in achieving individuality and freedom from the slavish imitation of the adults or ‘heroes’.

5. Health:

Society has a special stake in the health and physical well-being of the college and university students who are or should be the elect of the rising generation and in whom it has to invest large resources and to whom it looks for the advancement of national interest.

Total health of the student should be our goal; both the preventive and restorative measures are needed to ensure the achievement of the objective.

The basic responsibility for the health programme must rest with the Health Officer in charge of Student Health Centre. The physician should set a tone of acceptance for student problems.

This climate of acceptance is particularly important in the case of early detection of disorders, since students may be afraid to reveal symptoms like those of venereal diseases, tuberculosis, etc.

It will be desirable to have a medical checkup of all the students in the beginning of the academic session and reports may be sent to the parents or guardians and a written report of the action taken may be insisted.

For early diagnosis and treatment of illness these measures may be taken up:

(i) An adequate physical examination of every student upon entrance to the college or university;

(ii) Follow-up treatment of detected disorders;

(iii) Reference of students to other medical resources when necessary; and

(iv) Maintenance of confidential files and health records to keep track of mind and body’s harmonious functioning.

There are some disabled students; efforts have to be made for their rehabilitation in collaboration with psychologists, educators and social workers. Remedial measures have to be taken with students suffering from speech and hearing defects.

6. Moral:

Students face so many awkward situations at home, college university or in their peer groups. They find it difficult to get out of them.

They tell lies; try to dodge and indulge in so many undesirable practices. Some guidance needs to be provided to such students to keep them on the track and lead noble lives.

7. Personal:

This is another very important area where guidance is very much needed. Students face many personal problems related to themselves, their parents and family, their friends and teachers, their educational achievement and social adjustment.

Students often have memories related to home or family which create feelings of disappointment in them.

Their parents may be expecting too much of them which leaves them with a feeling of incompetence and insecurity when they fail to live up to their expectations. Many parents nag their children, thus creating an unfavourable atmosphere at home for studies.

Students at times find difficulty in understanding the materials of the lectures; they may find the lectures lousy and the educational institution a dump; they may not like the teacher and his/ her methods of teaching, thus landing in poor achievement.

Guidance needs to be provided to such students to enable them to adjust to the situation which they cannot change.

Some students are obsessed with problems such as lack of friends; loneliness; feelings of inadequacy; inferiority and the like. They feel a sense of chaos and despair around. They need counsel to overcome their difficulties.

Students also at times see a danger to their self-concept. Help needs to be given to such students to emerge successful out of this crisis of identity, by perceiving more accurately their self with all its assets and liabilities and identification of this self with the more achievable goals.

Students at times find difficulty in concentration, learning and recall. They feel tense, anxious and depressed. They need to be guided to get relief from all these.

Some students also find adjustment to heterosexual relations difficult. They are not well-equipped regarding knowledge about sex.

Parents generally do not make a good job of it. The lack of proper sex knowledge creates social and emotional conflicts. This is particularly so in co-educational colleges and universities.

Generally, the students enter colleges and universities at an age when biological sex impulses are new and strong but the consummation of sex has to be delayed till one is able to earn and marry.

Sex guidance has to be given to the students; they have to be educated regarding masturbation, nocturnal emissions, etc. and the educational programme has to be so planned that sex urge of the student’s finds healthy outlets.

Some students are hard-pressed for finances. They need to be guided regarding the free ships, fee concessions, scholarships, stipends, etc. available in the institution or offered by other welfare agencies and how and when to apply. The provision of financial assistance has to be ensured so that no meritorious student is denied education for lack of financial assistance.

Students are also faced with the problem of accommodation, particularly in big universities and almost all professional institutions.

The Dean of Students Welfare with his panel of advisers can study the possibilities of securing ‘healthy’ accommodation with landlords of standing and good reputation in the location around the college or university.

Many landlords are willing to accommodate students in spare rooms and guest houses at comparatively cheaper rates if these students are recommended by the college or university authorities.

The landlords may be requested to keep a protective eye on the students staying in the house and to contact the authorities if they need help.

Thus, the students can be helped in avoiding the spending of disproportionate amount of time seeking adequate, cheap accommodation.

Principles and Fundamentals of Guidance and Counselling:

Basic knowledge of principles and fundamental and nature of guidance and counselling services equips the professional career counsellor to provide effective and proper guidance to the needy person.

Maladjusted behaviour of any person reflects that he has adjustment difficulties, which affects his career, functional aspects of this have been discussed in the earlier chapter.

Hereunder, we will discuss various aspects which may help in ensuring better adjustment and fine career in life at various stages from the period of schooling till death:

Community planners attempt to provide the kind of housing facilities and educational, recreational and health services that will help community members achieve and preserve good physical, mental, emotional, and social adjustment.

We already have mentioned that effective education is guidance-pointed. An individual’s educational progress depends on the motivation he receives from parents and school personnel toward optimum development of his innate potentialities.

Hence, regardless of school level, guidance services include specific aids provided by qualified members of the school staff to help learners understand themselves and their responsibilities, and to assist them in the solution of learning problems.

Guidance as a Profession:

Some notions about guidance and its functions are the outgrowth of a realisation and the general public that self-direction in the management of one’s own affairs is becoming increasing) Difficult.

Interest in giving assistance or in guidance-pointed activity is the prerogative of any sincere, well-intentioned, capable individual.

Correctly interpreted, guidance as a profession is one that:

1. Operates within the framework of a total educational programme,

2. Requires its practitioners to have appropriate professional preparation, and

3. Offers needed services which are organised in the form of an appropriate, flexible guidance programme.

We subscribe to Mathewson’s succinctly stated definition of guidance as “the systematic, professional process of aiding individuals in making their choices, plans, and adjustments, in undertaking effective self-direction, and in meeting problems of personal living related to education”.

Guidance activities are based upon the recognition of individual differences, the basic concepts of human growth and development, the diversity of present-day educational opportunities, the complexity of modern occupational life, the importance of human relations, the right of the individual to make his own choices, and the realisation that the adjustment of an individual to his life situations is an ever changing process.