Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Resources: A School Counselor's Role in Learning Readiness

Below you will find creative tips/suggestions of resources current school counselors are using to help their students get "learning ready" at each stage of schooling.

Elementary School: 

Often, the perception of counselors at the Elementary school level is centered in social skills and classroom guidance lessons. However, Elementary School Counselors also provide support in many creative ways. At this stage in school, students are at varying stages of acclimating to the classroom setting and sitting still for long periods of time. Learning readiness looks different for every student, and one creative resource some school counselors can provide students with is fidgeting toys and or manipulatives to play with while listening in class. Fidgeting toys could be a simple, effective resource for students who have difficulty paying attention, or focusing. Counselors can provide creative tools like manipulatives to improve the overall learning environment for students and teachers.

Middle School:

Now more than ever, technology has become an integral part of the school system. Youth today has grown accustom to learning and communicating via digital methods. While it provides many positive and relatable learning avenues for students today, it is can also be a major distraction and stressor. For most students at the Middle School level, this is their first exposure to navigating the combination of online schoolwork and social relationships. Because of these relationships online, bullying is going viral. While many of these cyber-bullying incidents occur outside of school, it can be a challenge for middle school students to understand the power of their actions online. School Counselors today are faced with the effects of these actions being transferred into the school day, distracting students and effecting the overall learning environment. A few ways that current school counselors are combating cyber-bullying is through group intervention, and educating students about the possible implications of their actions online. 

High School:

Throughout high school, many students struggle with the pressure of preparing for a college education, and often feel like that is the only option after graduation. This can be overwhelming for some students who do not know what they want to do, or if college is the right fit for them. Because of this, some students feel that a high school education is only preparing them for college – something that they do not feel like applies to them – and can start skipping class or even drop out.  Although there has been an increase in career readiness and alternative options to prepare students for success after high school, school counselors at this level have the important role of altering the perception of alternative options to high school, and increasing moral around all secondary options, in order to help students feel successful regardless of their post high school plan. One suggestion for high school counselors is to hold workshops for students who want to explore options other than college, and help them establish awareness of potential paths they could be interested it or want to learn more about.  By getting students excited for all different kinds of post high school routes, students can come to school ready and motivated to learn and prepare for whatever avenue their future holds. 

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