Enhancing Teachers’ Counselling Skills: Student Teachers’ Views on a Teachers’ Education Programme
Source: European Journal of Teacher Education, Vol. 34, No. 1, February 2011, 61–79.
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)
This study aimed to explore student teachers’ views regarding
1) the efficacy and the applicability of a brief teacher education programme in certain counselling skills;
and 2) its impact on their competence to adequately apply a SEL intervention programme in their classrooms.
The teacher education programme was carried out as part of three broader projects entitled ‘Education of repatriated and immigrant pupils’. These projects were implemented all over Greece.
First implementation phase of the teacher education programme
A total of 62 teachers took part in the first implementation of the training programme.
Thirty-two teachers were employed in primary education and 30 were employed in secondary education. Forty-six of the teachers were women.
Participants provided their evaluation of the teacher education programme at two separate time points. First, the participants’ expectations from the seminars were investigated prior to commencing the programme. After the programme’s completion, the authors examined the degree to which the participants’ initial expectations were satisfied, as well as the benefits they gained by taking part in the programme.
The participants’ evaluations were collected with the use of two questionnaires constructed for the purposes of this particular study.
Second implementation phase of the teacher education programme
In this phase, the teacher education programme was assessed with the same questionnaire, but only after the programme’s completion.
A total of 34 teachers completed the questionnaire regarding the teacher education programme. It should be noted that these teachers had not participated in the first implementation of the teacher education programme.
29 of the teachers were women and five were men. Twenty-eight teachers were employed in primary education while the rest were employed in high school. Most of the participants had more than 11 years of teaching experience.
The results of the present study indicate that during the first phase of the study the teacher education programme came up to the participants’ expectations.
Data analysis of the student teachers’ reports showed that most teachers acquired knowledge and experiences concerning communication and counselling, which they felt they could apply in their practice.
Furthermore, a considerable number of teachers reported that the teacher education programme enabled them to develop their self-awareness. They noted that it helped them perceive their abilities and their difficulties in their communication with the pupils and to become aware of their limitations as teachers and as persons. This made many of them feel they could address the needs of their pupils more effectively.
The authors consider that the results of this study highlight the need for applying inservice training in counselling skills for teachers. They also demonstrate that developing counselling skills may be particularly beneficial to teachers in terms of their ability to provide support and communicate with their pupils and to implement effective interventions.