The need to know about social psychology of pupils is paramount important to practising school counsellor.
Social Psychology - The Branch of psychology that concentrates on any and all aspects of human behaviour that involve persons and their relationships to other persons, groups, social institutions and to society as a whole (Moser 1963)
Some scholars have defined Social Psychology as “the study of how social conditions affect human beings” (Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia). Social psychology is usually spearheaded by scholars from both sociology and psychology or either one of the two though they have different theories, methods, approaches and scholars themselves. Counselling is the process of assisting an individual with advice, comfort or guidance in order to relieve or overcome problems that trouble them. This paper attempts to agree with the assertion that the need to know about social psychology of pupil is paramount important to practising school counsellor.
In a school setting, one of the roles of teachers is that they are counsellors because they care for their learners when they have various problems be it social or academic. They also provide guidance, comfort and advice to relieve pupils with certain problems which bother or trouble them. In this process it is paramount for teachers to know exactly the social psychology of pupils by finding out how the affected pupils feel in order to understand their behaviour.
Practicing school counsellors must know some of the most important things in counselling in relation to the social and psychological needs of pupils like the ‘pupil’s feelings’. It I therefore, the role of the counsellor to find out why the counselee feels the way he or he does.
The social psychology of pupils is emphasized in counselling because the challenge comes in the process of decision making than the quality of the decision made. The practicing school counsellor must fully understand the social conditions that affect pupils in various domains. In counselling, the counsellor should be involved more with listening than telling the learner or pupil what to do. The counsellor should make few comments, ask questions only to stimulate the flow of information and encourage the counselee to think more. These are some of the reasons why it is paramount for practicing school counsellors need to know more about the social psychology of pupils.
It is also paramount important for practicing school counsellors to know the social psychology of pupils by practicing some of the counselling skills like the ability to listen carefully to what is being expressed by the counselee, the ability to resist intruding with our own interpretations and attitudes, the counsellor should be empathetic without being overwhelmed by empathy. Implying that he or she must be able to share the learner’s or pupil’ feelings without being lost in them.
Social psychology being an interdisciplinary area between sociologists and psychologists involve a number of theories, approaches, methods and techniques of teaching and learning academic matter practicing school counsellors automatically need to know including theories of learning exposed to pupils of which some of them may directly affect pupil’s operations. It is the duty of the practicing school counsellor to explore the various factors which might be the possible sources of problems in the school setting as well as the home setting.
Practicing school counsellors must realise and acknowledge the scope of social psychology in relation to the pupils at school.
School Counsellors must know that most social psychologists are trained within
psychology and that their approach in this discipline focuses on an individual and
attempts to explain how the thoughts, feelings and behaviours of individual pupils
are influenced by other people within the vicinity in which they are found.
(Social Psychology Journal; Main Article: Psychology)
Practicing school counsellors must get interested in knowing the social psychology of pupils by reviewing topic like attitudes of pupils towards certain issues, the social cognition and influence, interpersonal behaviours such as altruism and aggression a well as the cognitive dissonance.
Other scholars have argued that for practicing school counsellors, it is mandatory for them to know the social psychology of pupils in varying quantity. They must automatically look at the attitude of pupils in various fields in which they are involved both individually and at a group level. Practicing school counsellors must know the different social interactions of pupils and exchanges at micro-level, group dynamic and group development and even crowd at the macro-level. Social Psychologists are more interested in the individual but primarily within the social context of larger social structures and processes like social roles, race, class and socialization including social influence of pupils at different levels must be highly and strictly known by practicing school counsellors.
“Social psychologists examine how individuals' perceptions, belief systems, moralities, identities, and behaviours are determined by their positions in social space” (Nuttin 1962). This particular aspect suggests that practicing school counsellors must examine how individuals behave in different social contexts, how their perceptions and different beliefs differ, how their moralities and identities including their behavious vary in different situations. By so doing, One can farirly claim all practicing school counsellors to know the social psychology of pupils in the different social domains and circumstances.
Social psychologists like Wesleyan (1970) are inclined to give greater attention to the bearing of thought processes, personality characteristics, interrelationships of different groups at various levels and their changes across the life-cycle involving different groups of people. According to Moser (1963), he argues that
social psychologists are more likely to examine how individuals' perceptions, belief systems, moralities, identities, and behaviours are determined by their positions in social space: the culture of their primary socializations; the slice of social history intersecting their biographies, such as coming of age during a time of depression or war; their locations within the stratification orders of gender, age, race, and social class and their roles within the institutional orders of religion, work, community, and family.
In addition, some scholars have also included geographical context of their childhoods, such as region of the country or the size of cities wherein they lived and these should be accompanied with their memberships in and relative identifications with various social groups.
In the traditional sense, Moser (1963:220-247) have identified a number of guidance theories which practicing school counsellors must bare in mind and apply them where necessary. Moser identified the educational guidance, vocational guidance, social guidance and personal guidance. He alleges that every individual or group will be found in one or all of these types of guidance. However, it is the role of the counsellor to understand the nature of the subject matter and determine to which extent the subject matter can be treated, which method to use and how, for which situation and on what grounds.
Pupils in a school come from different homes and different cultural background and therefore it is necessary for practicing school counsellors to have a full and better understanding of multicultural issues in counselling with diverse ethnic groups, cultures, and social classes within the school society.
Emphasis is on developing cultural sensitivity to one's own cultural value system and the values and attitudes of diverse groups in cross-cultural counselling settings; increasing awareness of the effects that culture, race, ethnicity, class, gender, and sexual orientation have on human development and the counselling process; and on learning effective counselling strategies and generic counselling methods that accommodate a diversity of cultures(Hahn and Maclean 1970)
William (1989) argues that
Practicing school counsellors need to know the social psychology of pupils so that they can provide their application of theories and principles of learning, motivation, cognition, memory, attention, social behaviour, human development, individual and linguistic differences, learning disabilities, and gender and cultural differences to the analysis of instructional strategies in school settings. Emphasis is placed on how feelings and emotional states influence the learning process and impacts on students' self-concept and academic achievement.
Practicing school counsellors need to know the social psychology of pupils by exploring the psychological, biological, ethnic, cultural, socioeconomic, and environmental factors that influence the growth and development of children, adolescents, and young adults. Counseling strategies and interventions based on developmental theory to meet the personal, social and academic needs of students.
Practicing school counsellor must get familiar with Group Counselling Skills. Pupils may be counselled in groups or individually. However, group counselling skills with children and adolescents vary because they have different social backgrounds and experiences. The advantage of mob psychology especially for pupils in the school setting includes giving and receiving feedback, group roles, interpersonal communication, and problem solving. Planning, conducting and evaluating a group counselling session. Learning effective group leadership skills, stages of a group, and types of groups for schools. Teaching interpersonal skills to students and creating early intervention strategies for addressing problem behaviours. All this clearly show the need for practicing school counsellors to know the social psychology of pupils.
Practicing school counsellors are designed to offer guidance and advice to the complex roles which a school and its pupils needs. However, the counsellor plays within a school system, reflecting the importance of understanding the organizational structure, and the culture of a school and its climate as an educational system. The focus of counsellors at school are based on developing, implementing, and evaluating a comprehensive counselling and guidance services according to the needs of the school; on effective leadership as an agent of change within the school; and on coordination strategies that build collaborative partnerships amongst pupils, school staff, parents, and community resources to enhance student support services.
It can be concluded that the need to know about the social psychology of pupils by practicing school counsellors is indisputably a necessity. School counsellors whether at elementary level, intermediate, public schools, social agencies, community colleges, universities and higher school counsellors need to know more about the factors and different issues which influence and affect students both individually and in a group to enhance their academic, personal and social growth.
Hahn and Maclean. 1970. Counselling Psychology. Newyork: St louis San Francisco .
Lee and Pallone. 1966. Guidance and counselling in schools. London : Sydney
Moser, M. 1963.counselling and guidance. Englewood cliff NJ: prentice hall.
William E.G. 1989. How to counsel Students. Newyork:Mc Graw-Hall.