Guidance Counselors and inclusive education

INTRODUCTION

A guidance counselor works in a school setting to help students better prepare for continuing education or to help facilitate decisions made about future careers. The requirements for becoming a guidance counselor varies among schools. Guidance counselors tend to have at least a Bachelor of Arts (B.A) in psychology, but may also have a B.A in career counseling some places require high school counselors to have a master’s degree as well, and many schools require the counselors to be licensed. In the college setting, counselors may not have a B.A, but may be experts in their teaching area, sometimes the guidance counselor at the college level is called an academic advisor. In the elementary setting, guidance counselors are frequently catchall counselors who help to facilitate testing for learning disabilities and may also management individualized Education plans (IEPS) for students in need of them. They tend not to offer psychological assistance but may participate in observation of students in classroom settings or in psychological or indulgence testing- children in need of significant counseling for psychological issues usually meet with a school psychologist instead of a guidance counselor, although in some schools, funding issues can mean that access to a psychologist usually a guidance counselor in an elementary school is simply called a counselor. Regardless of title, these employees can be excellent resources for children and parents, if a parents is concerned about a child’s learning abilities, contacting the elementary counselor is a good first step, the counselor may be particularly helpful if the administration of the school does not take the parents, concerns seriously in the middle school setting, the guidance counselor may still participate in some educational resting for students deemed” at academic risk”, the guidance counselor usually also helps students make decisions regarding choices m electives and whether they are challenged or too much by their present classes. When courses are too hard or too easy the guidance counselor may be able to help the student change his or her schedule. While the guidance counselor at one time was an everyday presence on the junior high or middle school campus, funding cutbacks have faced many counselors to work at more than one school on a part-time basis the difficult years of signing adolescence can be significantly aided by having a friendly guidance counselor counselors may meet with students with emotional problems regularly, simply to cheek in with them and see if assistance can be offered although this role is often performed by a school psychologist, if one is available. In high school, emphasis for the guidance counselor is on helping students make decisions about their future careers or college plans. A guidance counselor help a student make out a plan of study that will best fit his or her plans after high school. For Example a student who wants to attend a university will likely be directed to take courses that will help achieve this end make the student eligible for attendance the high school guidance counselor may give information about financial aid option for these who wish to attend trade schools or college after graduation. He or she can also help those students who are struggling and are at risk for failing to graduate. While working with guidance counselor can be very helpful for many students. It can be important that the student not depend entirely on the counselor’s information. If a student is interested in applying to particular colleges or getting financial aid, for example it is worthwhile for her to double-check information and ask for guidance from a perspective college-sometimes information changes so quickly that the guidance counselors are best informed about local or regional schools but may be less conversant with requirements necessary in other locations or in private colleges.

       The fact pastors spend considerable time in the role of counselor is well documented. Despite an increasing number of mental health delivery systems (eg Christian psychologists, human relations specialists, personal coaches etc) most people still look to their pastor as the first source of counseling and soul care the reasons for this are easy to understand the pastor’s natural access to the lives of people through sermons, birth, child development, adolescence, graduations permarriage, marriage, remarriage, death, crises, ceremonies, hospital, care, death, and funerals make him the obvious first choice for counsel during times of distress. The pastor is in a unique position to offer comprehensive soul care because he is aware of the parishioner on a week-to-week (if not daily) basis often from cradle to grave. As EMERGE ministries founder Dr Richard D. Dobbins states “the pastor is in a unique position to powerfully influence a person’s horrifying image of God, crippling ideas of self, destructive habits, and hurts from the past on the whole people trust their pastor for the care of their souls the problems presented to the pastor are not different from those presented to a professional counselor, premarital preparation, marital problems parent child relations, anxiety, various addictions (including pomography) and matters of faith top the list of presenting concerns while large churches may have specialized pastoral care services available, in most instances the typical Assemblies of God pastor provides counseling as one of his many responsibilities.

       AS INCLUSIVE EDUCATION SYSTEM

       The goal of an inclusive education system is to provide all students with the most appropriate learning environments and opportunities for then to best achieve their potential some have said, this is what should already be happening in education, and they’re right. However, some children, youth and their families do not feel that they have the same opportunities as their peers. In albertar inclusion in the education system is about ensuring that each student belongs and receives a quality education no matter their ability education no matter their ability disability, language, cultural back ground, gender, or age for some, a provincial move to inclusive education will mean very little change, but for others the change will be more significant. An inclusive education system is best realized when leadership is shared between school, home and family. Schools reflect the attitudes, beliefs and health of the communities they serve and must be equipped to reflect inclusive practice. Parents may choose to speak to their child’s teacher or principal about how this impacts their children, teachers may choose to discuss this among a peer group or with school administration.

       The purpose of education is to ensure that all students gain access to knowledge, skills and information that will prepare them to contribute to America’s communities and workplaces. The central purpose becomes more challenging as schools accommodate students with increasingly diverse backgrounds and abilities. As we strive to meet there challenges, the involvement and cooperation of educators, parents, and community leaders is vital for the creation of better and more inclusive schools.

WHAT IS INCLUSION

       Inclusion is an educational approach and philosophy that provides all students with community membership and greater opportunities for academic and asocial achievement. Inclusion is about madding sure that each and every student feels welcome and that their unique needs and learning styles are attended to and valued.

       Inclusive schools put the values upon which American founded (pluralism, tolerance and equality) into action; they ask teachers to provide appropriate individualized supports and services to all students without the stigmatization that comes with separation. Research shows that most student learn and perform setter when exposed to the richness of the general education curriculum, as long as the appropriate strategies and accommodations are in place

       At no time does inclusion require the classroom curriculum or the academic expectations, to be watered down on the contrary, inclusion enhancer learning for students, both with and without special needs students learn, and use their learning differently; the goal is to provide all students with the instruction they need to succeed as learners and achieve high standards, alongside their friends and neighbors.

IS INCLUSION THE SAME AS MAINSTREAMING

       No proponents of mainstreaming hold that students with special needs be placed in the general education setting solely when they can meet traditional academic expectations with minimal assistance- yet, simply, placing students with special needs in the regular classroom is not enough to impact learning. Teachers in inclusive schools are asked to very their teaching styles to meet the divers learning styles of a diverse population of students only then can the individual needs of all our students be met. Schools of the future need to ensure that attention, accommodations and supports that will result in meaningful learning.

WHY ISN’T INCLUSIVE EDUCATION THE NORM IN OUR SCHOOLS?

       Many years ago, special classes were created for students with special needs-special educators felt that if they could just reach these students separately, in smaller groups. They could help them to catch up. However, the reality is that students in segregated special education classes have fallen further and further behind, over time, we have learned that inclusive education is a better way to help all students succeed.

HOW CAN OUR SCHOOLS BE TRANSFORMED?

       The extent to which professional educators, families, and community leaders enter into a discussion on how to improve education for all our students holds the promise for the transformation of American schools from a 20th century educational system, dominated by a narrow cultural perspective, to one that reflects and values the multicultural and diverse

ON INCLUSION AND OTHER KIDS

       Inclusion is receiving considerable attention both in school districts across the country and in the popular media. Most of the attention is focused on how inclusion affects the students with special needs. But what about the students who don’t have special needs? Will the learning of students without special needs suffer because of inclusion? Studies have shown no slowdown in the learning of children without special needs in inclusive classrooms, And, surveys conducted with parents and teachers involved in inclusive settings show that they see no harm to the children without special needs and that they have positive opinions about inclusion.

       The glass is half full so in a nutshell, he research conducted thus far shows that being an inclusive classroom doesn’t hurt the student without special needs. But does it if help them? The growing body of research suggests that student without special needs can gain a number of important benefits from relationship with their classmates who have special needs some of the benefits include: friendships, social skills, personal principles, comfort level with people who have special needs, and caring classroom environments.

FRIENDSHIPS:

       The most important function of friendship is to make people feel cared for, loved, and safe- Researchers have documented cases of long-lasting friendship that have emerged between students who have special needs and typical students, in which both students benefit, Recent research has helped to identify three specific areas of mut ual benefit for children with and without special needs who are friends with each other.

  1. Warm and caring companionship
  2. Growth in social cognition and self- concept; and
  3. The development of personal principles, inclusive settings do not mean that all typical children become close friends with children who have special needs. However, even when relationships remain at the level of ‘classmate’ ‘familiar acquaintances’ versions of these same benefits have been reported in surveys of teachers and other research.

SOCIAL SKILLS

       Children without special needs often can become more aware of the needs of others in inclusive classroom. As they become skilled at understanding and reacting to the behaviours of their friends with special needs they gain an enhanced acceptance and appreciation of each child’s unique gifts. Personal principles students without special needs grow in their commitment to their own moral and ethical principles and become advocates for their, friends who have special needs the development of strong personal principles will benefit students throughout their lives.

Comfort level with people who have special needs: On surveys and in interviews middle and high school students without special needs say they are less fearful of people who say they are less fearful of people who look different or behave differently because they’ve interacted with individuals with special needs parent notice the differences in their children, too, An interesting side effect is that these parents report that they, also, feel more comfortable with people with special needs because of their children’s experiences.

Caring classroom environments

       Schools and classroom can be structured to facilitate kindness,, consideration, empathy, and compassion for others within a caring classroom environments students have opportunities to learn about their classmate in ways that honor the full range of experiences that each child brings to the classroom. As general educational classrooms include more and more divers students, teachers realize the value of accepting each students as unique-special education understand that effective general education practices really are appropriate for students with special needs, and general educators often turn to special educators for additional ways to teach their increasingly diverse groups of students.

       Inclusive education is a process of enhancing the capacity of the education system in any country to reach out to diverse learners, the basis of inclusion is that special needed modifications support alongside their pears without disabilities who receive general education. Inclusionists contend that special classes, separate schooling, or other form of removing children with disabilities from the regular environment should occur only when the nature or severity of the disability of the child is such that education is regular classes (with the use of supplementary services) cannot be accomplished. Today in Nigeria’s special educators, parents of students with disabilities, policy- makers and other stakeholders continue to debate the benefits and challenges of this education paradigm (Ajuwon, 2008) the discussions have been shaped largely by the principle of inclusion which stresses that ordinary schools should cater to all children and young people, regardless of their circumstances or personal characteristics. In both low-and high income countries, proponents of the policy of inclusive education are now reaffirming their commitment to education for all and acknowledging the urgency of providing education for their marginalized citizens the momentum for the inclusive education movement derives from the united Nations Educational scientific and cultural organization (UNESCO’S) proclamation that, among other things, emphasizes that “Regular schools with this inclusive orientation are the most effective means of combating discriminatory attitudes creating welcoming communities, building an inclusive society and achieving education for all, “p-ix-(UNESCO, 1994).

       Further, according to Article 18 of the same blueprint, advocates buttress their stance by noting that: “Educational policies at all levels from the national to the local, should stipulate that a child with a disability should attend the neighborhood school that is the school that would be attended if the child did not have a disability p.17; (UNESCO, 1994) this latter principles appears to be what is implied in Nigeria’s National policy on Education (2004, P. 49) which tangentially references the concept of inclusive education within the broader universal Basic education scheme. Consequently, some vocal advocates now see inclusive education as a favored approach to responding to the needs of all students in ordinary schools. Thus, as inclusion of students with disabilities into regular classrooms becomes a reality with public schools in Nigeria, it becomes imperative to determine the perceptions of special educations, most of whom have been trained in the country, are gradually being recognized as key stakeholders in the implementation on he strategic inclusive practices at all levels of the education system.

 

References

Agbenyega, J.S Deppler, J.S Harvey, D. (2005). Attitudes towards inclusive education in Africa scale (ATIAS): An instrument to measure teachers” attitudes toward inclusive education for students with disabilities, journal of research an Development in Education, 5,1-15.

Agbenyega, J. (2007). Examining Teachers’ concerns the are Attitudes to Inclusive Education Ghana. International Journal of whole schooling vol. 3 No 1-41-56.

Ainscow, M. and Miles S (2009) Developing inclusive Education systems. How can we move policies Forwards Retrieved at; www. Ibe-unesco.org June 16

Ajuwon, P.m (2008) inclusive Education for students with disabilities in Nigeria? Benefits, challenges and policy implications – internati0n.

Journal of special Education, 11-17.

                                                  

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