History and Evolution of Guidance Counselor Role
Guidance counselors, also known as school counselors, are specialized, and highly trained individuals who contribute to the academic, social and emotional development of students. First surfacing in the 1800s, the role of guidance counselors have slightly evolved over the years. In the following paragraphs, further discussion will be aimed at the history of guidance counselors and their role in high schools.
In the 1800s, guidance counseling was used as a method to help students who failed. In the 19th century, the aim focus was to prepare students for college. High school students were given tests to determine their level of achievement; once those tests were done, they were placed in business, vocational, and general studies to prepare them for college. This type of method created issues because all other academic subjects were being neglected. This issue created the need for vocational planning. In an effort to achieve vocational planning, Frank Parsons, wrote the first textbook on vocational guidance to help pave the way for future vocational counselors. The textbook, published in 1908 after his death, would help transition students from high school into a world of work.
Vocational planning and counseling later dominated high schools and resulted in counselors working in schools assisting young students and adolescents with other issues and problems in their lives. This shift and adoption of dual roles created the change from vocational guidance to school counseling.
In the 1900s, when school counselors or guidance counselors broadened their horizons, they had to conduct a host of duties that involved coming up with interventions or helping teachers structure their curriculum; they also had to engage in student planning, administering intelligence tests, promoting character development, and teaching socially acceptable behaviors. As the role of the school counselor evolved, the word "guidance" was no longer accepted by counselors. They believed that they were much more than guidance counselors, and were not guiding students to the workforce; they provided them with personal and social support.
Today, school counselors in the United States can be members of the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) which works assiduously to create, maintain and improve student achievement. Assessment of students' needs are done through the creation of programs and services such as school counseling, individual counseling, responsive services, and indirect student services in order to drive social, emotional, academic and career development.
The role of guidance counselors has not changed much since its inception in the 1800s. Roles employed in the past have been enhanced, and improved to achieve the full outcome of services. Some of these roles:
Conducting Standardized Tests
Standardized tests are done to assess student learning and performance. The test helps counselors to make decisions about students, schools and districts to determine academic placement, promotion and graduation.
Helping Students Achieve Goals
High school counselors help students prepare for life after graduation. In addition, they meet with students individually to help combat their social and academic struggles.
Counseling Students with Personal Issues
Counselors interact with students who have experienced a tragedy in their life, whether it is the lost of a loved one or going through a difficult time. Other issues would include counseling students short term on mental health issues and helping them receive assistance.
School counselors work with parents, the community and teachers to help provide full support services to students.
Other major roles performed by the school counselor includes identifying issues, teaching teachers and staff about sensitive topics, maintaining records, making referrals, report cases of neglect and harm, and help students overcome behavioral problems. High school counselors are mainly situated to help students overcome personal issues that interrupt their academic development. These issues include, and are not limited to, the above-mentioned list.
With the increasing need for a school counselor's intervention in schools, many counselors are overwhelmed with caseloads. This thus calls for changes in policies through advocating, to help decrease drop out rates for the low income and neglected population. With the implementation of funding and the necessary workforce, counselors can conduct their roles efficiently to help transform society.
To conclude, guidance counseling has been around since the 1800s. Born out of the need for career or vocational planning, the roles have not changed much since then. Rather, the roles are increasing and enhancing student outcomes by providing them with emotional, social, academic and career development. Important roles such as conducting standardized tests, counseling students with issues, indirect services and collaborating are essential to helping society.