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Elementary counsellor education: perspectives from the field Paterson, David 1998

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ELEMENTARY COUNSELLOR EDUCATION: PERSPECTIVES FROM T H E FIELD by DAVTD PATERSON B. A., The University of Alberta, 1982 B.Ed., The University of Alberta, 1984 M.A., The University of British Columbia, 1990 A THESIS SUBMTTTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES (Department of Counselling Psychology) We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard THE UNTVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA October 1998 © David Paterson, 1998 In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make it freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of my department or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission. Department The University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada DE-6 (2/88) A B S T R A C T The purpose of this study was to examine the perceptions of British Columbia elementary school counsellors, in terms of the following primary research questions: (a) What counsellor competencies were included as part of each elementary counsellor's specialized educational or graduate program, (b) how effective was the educational content and experience in these competency areas, (c) how important is the educational content and experience in these competency areas with respect to their current role as elementary school counsellors, (d) what counsellor competencies are perceived as strengths and weaknesses of elementary counsellor education programs, and (e) what areas should be included in elementary graduate training programs to make them more effective? A list of B.C. elementary school counsellors was developed and 219 elementary school counsellors (67%) completed and returned the questionnaire. Respondents indicated that preparation related to the context of the elementary school was of primary importance to them. Theories were highly emphasized and well taught by counsellor education programs, but were viewed as less important than specific counselling skills and interventions. Implications of this study are discussed with respect to (a) contributing to existing literature in elementary counsellor role description, (b) assisting practicing elementary counsellors by outlining their challenges, recommendations and concerns, and (c) contributing to the development and relevance of elementary counsellor education programs. iii TABLE OF CONTENTS A B S T R A C T ii T A B L E OF CONTENTS i i i LIST OF TABLES v A C K N O W L E D G E M E N T S vii CHAPTER 1 1 Background to the Problem 2 Purpose of the Study 5 Overview of the Study 6 CHAPTER 2 7 Introduction 7 Roots of Elementary Counselling 8 A Canadian Perspective 14 Elementary Counselling in British Columbia 18 Graduate Programs - Elementary School Counselling 22 Survey Research 25 Summary and Critique 27 CHAPTER 3 :•• 29 Overview 29 Sample 29 Design 30 Data Analysis 34 Research Questions 36 Validity and Reliability 37 Delimitations of the Study 38 Limitations of the Study 38 CHAPTER 4 40 Introduction 40 Research Questions and Questionnaire Returns 40 Results Summary 101 CHAPTER 5 103 i v Discussion of Results 103 Implications for Counsellor Education 112 Implications for Further Research 114 Summary and Conclusion 116 REFERENCES 117 APPENDIX A - First Version of Pilot Questionnaire 129 APPENDIX B - Accompanying Cover Letter 135 APPENDIX C - Second Version of the Pilot Questionnaire 137 APPENDIX D - Final Questionnaire 146 APPENDIX E - Reminder Letter 156 LIST O F T A B L E S Table 1. Age and Gender: British Columbia Elementary School Counsellors 42 Table 2. Educational Levels: B.C. Elementary School Counsellors 43 Table 3. Work Experience as Elementary School Counsellors 45 Table 4. Details of Work Assignment: B.C. Elementary School Counsellors 47 Table 5: Knowledge Competencies Included in Program of Studies 50 Table 6: Skill Competencies Included in Program of Studies 52 Table 7. Interventions and Techniques Included in Program of Studies 53 Table 8. Means and Standard Deviations - Effectiveness of Counsellor Education for Knowledge Competencies 56 Table 9. Means and Standard Deviations - Effectiveness of Counsellor Education for Skill Competencies 58 Table 10. Means and Standard Deviations - Effectiveness of Counsellor Education for Interventions and Techniques 60 Table 11. Means and Standard Deviations - Current Importance of Knowledge Competencies 62 Table 12. Means and Standard Deviations - Current Importance of Skill Competencies 64 Table 13. Means and Standard Deviations - Current Importance of Interventions and Techniques 66 Table 14. Means and Standard Deviations - Satisfaction with Counsellor Education Program by Age, Year of Degree, Gender, and University Program... 69 v i Table 15. Means and Standard Deviations - Agreement with Statements Concerning Counsellor Education Program Across Three Cohort Groups 72 Table 16. Barriers to Counsellor Effectiveness 74 Table 17. Courses Indicated Most Beneficial 77 V l l ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Sincere appreciation is extended to my outstanding supervisory committee. Special thanks to Dr. Bi l l Borgen, committee chair and thesis supervisor, for his encouragement, support and guidance throughout the research and writing process. I am also indebted to Dr. John Allan, who initiated this study with me in his pre-retirement role as thesis supervisor, and to Dr. Frank Echols for his warmth, patience, and many hours of assistance. In addition to the supervisory team, many friends and colleagues have contributed significant time and expertise to this research. My gratitude and appreciation is also extended to the Elementary School Counsellors of British Columbia, whose important work is only beginning to be recognized. In closing, I would like to extend very special recognition and thanks to my family who paid a high price toward the completion of his dissertation. Their unyielding support through this long process has been remarkable. 1 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION Researchers have called for counsellor education to match the duties that school counsellors actually perform. In 1984, Bonebrake and Porgers stated that counsellor educators need to "examine the congruence between their programs and what counselors do" (p. 198). The need for school counsellor instruction to be consistent with the roles school counsellors perform is echoed by other researchers (Carreiro & Schulz, 1988; Madak & Gieni, 1991). Morse and Russell (1988) issued the following challenge to elementary school counsellors: ... counselors must assume leadership in defining their own role, rather than waiting until the demands and definitions of others shape the counselors' role. Also, counsellor educators need to consider research findings regarding the counselor's role and to examine congruence between their counselor training programs and the role demands counselors actually face, as well as the professional role they would like to fulfill (p. 61). Another theme that runs through the school counsellor literature concerns the issue of consulting practitioners when designing training programs. This theme is not unique to counselling, and can be understood as a point of tension between preparation and practice that is present in all professional fields. The current study is designed to examine graduate programs in counselling from the perspective of graduates of those programs. This information is useful both as a reference point for graduate program development and to provide a snapshot of the evolving role of the elementary school counsellor. Sweeney, Mawin, and 2 Myers make the following statement in this regard: "Because of their direct involvement with students, school counselors can provide the profession with information on the most prominent and pressing societal issues. Clearly, they are not hampered by the Ivory Tower environment" (1984, p. 374). Other researchers are also of the opinion that consulting people in the field when designing training programs is a necessary part of the curriculum planning process (Campbell & Robinson, 1990; Carroll, 1993; Sisson & Bullis, 1992). This research study has been designed as a response to these challenges. More specifically, the author has examined the perceptions of British Columbia elementary school counsellors with respect to their graduate training, practicum experiences and current role functions. This study was designed to inform and facilitate the future development of graduate training programs in elementary counselling at the graduate level. Background to the Problem Role of the elementary school counsellor. The primary theoretical influence for Canadian elementary school counselling originated in the United States. Gary (1963) presented a model of guidance in the elementary school, which suggested that guidance techniques would be a useful augmentation to traditional teacher education of the time. Three roles of the elementary school counsellor (counselling, consultation, and coordination) were originally delineated in the joint statement of the Association for Counselor Education and Supervision and the American School Counselor Association (American Personnel and Guidance Association, 1969). Two more (curriculum and communication) were suggested by Stamm and Nissman (1971). Keat (1974) expanded these to the following seven roles and 3 functions of the elementary school counsellor: "(1) Counseling, (2) Collaboration or Consultation, (3) Coordination, (4) Communication, (5) Curriculum, (6) Fostering Child Growth and Development, (7) Teaching Coping Behaviors." In Canada, early specialists in counselling gave priority to children or clients with serious problems (Paterson & Janzen, 1993). In the early 1970s priorities began to shift and the school systems in Canada looked for counsellors with an approach that was both preventive and developmental in nature (Brosseau, 1973; Van Hesteren, 1971). This corresponds to the expanding role description and trend towards a developmental orientation in the United States identified by Keat(1974). Following an examination of the literature, the author believes that a major shortcoming has been the absence of empirical support for the development of curricula in school counsellor preparation programs that is relevant and appropriate for the elementary school context. It seems obvious that the role of the elementary school counsellor must necessarily be determined at least in part by the theoretical orientation of the practitioner. In addition, counsellor education programs ought to be informed, in part, by current role descriptions along with current opinions from practitioners of their most valued educational experiences. Systematic efforts to foster this dialogue have been missing from the research literature relevant to counsellors in elementary schools. Although it is a point of tension, programs designed to prepare elementary school counsellors need ongoing consultation and dialogue with field practitioners as a reference point. The prime reason for conducting the current research is to fill this gap in the literature. 4 Content of Elementary School Counsellor Training Programs. Counsellor training with specificity in elementary counselling has been a recent development in Canada. For that reason there has been diversity across the country with respect to what education faculties and counselling departments have deemed to be important. In 1981 Jevne published her doctoral dissertation, where she tied together training models, counsellor competencies, and educational issues relating to counsellor education in Canada (Jevne 1981). Allan and Der (1981) as well as Borgen (1981) also published articles relating to developmental, preventive and remedial perspectives in B.C. counsellor training during this time period. Since that time there have been studies linking counsellor training with practice (Minard, 1993; Sugai & Tindal, 1993). What has been lacking to date has to do with practitioner perceptions, not only of their current role, but also of the skills and attitudes needed for them to function as elementary counsellors within the school system. Job-related work experience and educational programs both have an impact upon the evolution of practice. Evaluative Use of Surveys in Counsellor Training Programs. There has been extensive research on school counsellors' roles, and in some cases this input has been sought to facilitate curriculum planning. For example, in a study of Oregon school counselors, participants were asked to rank a list of counsellor tasks with respect to priority. The survey instrument was drafted by reviewing general graduate courses in the counsellor education programs in Oregon state and the assessment forms used in local school districts of the state (Sisson & Bullis, 1992). Participants in a study of Connecticut elementary school counsellors were asked to rate items on a survey form. These items were derived by reviewing the guidance curriculum, reviewing the American School Counselor Association Self 5 Audit Guidelines, surveying past research on school counsellor roles and consulting with designers of similar instruments (Carroll, 1993). Meacham and Peckham (1978) surveyed practicing school psychologists across the United States to assess the congruence between training of school psychologists and the practice of school psychology. They found significant differences between the emphasis in training and practice of all 25 skill areas surveyed; 20 of these skills were emphasized more in practice than in training. Jevne (1981) was the first to investigate counsellor competencies in Canadian counsellor education. In 1981, Splete and Bernstein surveyed training programs to determine if consultation training played a part in counsellor education programs. In her unpublished thesis, Boyle (1971) proposed a model for evaluating counselling services, while Massey (1973) surveyed counsellors across Canada, determining attitudes with respect to real and ideal counselling services. In the past decade Sisson and Bullis (1992) surveyed counsellor perceptions of graduate training priorities while Ussur and Broders (1993) surveyed practicing counsellors to determine their preference for supervisory styles and emphasis. These survey techniques have formed the basis of our research knowledge to date as we attempt to link counsellor training, theoretical bias, and day-to-day practices of Canadian school counsellors. Purpose of the Study The major purposes of this study have been to ascertain what practicing counsellors deem to be most vital in their day-to-day activities and the extent to which their counsellor education programs prepared them for these challenges. In addition to the importance of knowledge, skills, and attitudes, counsellors were 6 also asked to evaluate how well they had been prepared by their university instructors to undertake what were determined to be their most important functions. On the cover sheet of the elementary school counsellor survey prepared by the author, the question was posed: "How Well Do School Counsellor Education Programs Prepare Elementary School Counsellors for Their Job?" The following were specific questions or directions of the investigation: (1) What are the demographics for elementary counsellors in British Columbia? How does the present profile compare with earlier studies? (2) What do B.C. elementary counsellors identify as their major roles and functions in the school system? What course content and practicum experiences do they perceive as having been of most and least benefit? (3) What are the current models of theories and practice utilized in graduate programs attended by current B.C. elementary counsellors? (4) To what extent are counsellor educators addressing articulated needs of elementary school counsellors? Overview of the Study Chapter 1 contains introduction and background statements in addition to an outline to the purposes of the study. Chapter 2 is a review of the literature. Chapter 3 (Methodology) includes the makeup of the research sample, preparation of the questionnaire, and a description of data collection. Results are presented and discussed in Chapter 4. The final chapter includes a critique of the findings with regard to the literature, as well as a discussion of implications and future research possibilities. 7 CHAPTER 2 REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE The review of the literature pertinent to this study is organized into the following eight general areas: (1) Introduction, (2) Roots of Elementary School Counselling, (3) A Canadian Perspective, (4) Elementary Counselling in British Columbia, (5) Graduate Programs - Elementary School Counselling, (6) Survey Research, and (7) Summary and Critique. Introduction In a recent article by Lee and Workman (1992) the following statement appeared: There is a relative dearth of research devoted to school counseling. Compared to other areas of the profession, school counseling seems to have little empirical evidence to support claims that it has a significant impact on the development of children and adolescents. This is unfortunate; given all of the excellent things that school counselors do to promote the development of young people. The problem lies in that, for the most part, although it is known intuitively, that counselors do good things for youth, there is very little in the way of research evidence to substantiate that school counselling is effective, (p. 16) This statement seems unfair, but the author, after reviewing the literature, agrees. There is considerable literature and debate about goals and purposes of elementary counselling: however, there have been fewer studies 8 focused on what counsellors actually do and what kinds of training they need to accomplish their objectives. In this chapter attention has been given to the roots of elementary counselling, but perhaps of more importance an examination of the research has been undertaken, particularly as it pertains to issues affecting counsellor performance and counsellor training. Roots of Elementary Counselling The guidance movement traces roots to the vocational interventions of Frank Parsons from Boston in the late 1890s. Parsons was primarily concerned with providing vocational assistance to individuals entering the work force. Some of Parsons' work would be appropriate for counsellors today. His methods as described in his 1909 book, Choosing a Vocation, consisted of three categories of techniques: In a wise choice there are three broad factors: (1) a clear understanding of yourself, your aptitudes, abilities, interests, ambitions, resources, limitations, and their causes; (2) a knowledge of the requirements and conditions of success in different lines of work, and the advantages and disadvantages, the compensation, opportunities and prospects in different lines of work; (3) true reasoning on the relations of these two groups of facts. (Parsons, 1909) The primary theoretical influence for Canadian elementary school counselling originated in the United States. Three roles of the counsellor in the elementary school (counselling, consultation, and coordination) were originally delineated in a joint statement of the Association for Counselor Education and Supervision, plus the American School Counselor Association (American Personnel and Guidance Association, 1969). Two more (Curriculum and 9 Communication) were suggested by Stamm and Nissman ( 1 9 7 1 ) . Keat ( 1 9 7 4 ) expanded these to the following seven roles and functions of the elementary school counsellor: ( 1 ) counseling, (2) collaboration or consultation, (3) coordination, ( 4 ) communication, ( 5 ) curriculum, ( 6 ) fostering child growth and development, ( 7 ) teaching coping behaviors. Even in the early days, there were contrary views of the functions and roles of elementary school counsellors. Perrone and Evans ( 1 9 6 4 ) are quoted as follows: ... one group would serve as an immediate investigator of pupil growth by focusing attention directly on the pupil. The other group plans to accomplish a similar goal by working instead with the parents and teachers of the pupil, (p. 4 4 ) The shift toward developmental counselling was fostered by the American School Counselors Association (ASCA) which quite recently defined a comprehensive developmental program, in part, as follows: Developmental Guidance Programs are designed to help all students develop their educational, social, career, and personal strengths and to become responsible and productive citizens. School counselors help create and organize these programs as well as provide appropriate counsellor interventions. (ASCA 1 9 9 0 ) . The American School Counselor Association (ASCA) has postulated several school counsellor competencies deemed necessary. ASCA believes that school counselors must know various theories and concepts (knowledge competencies) and must be able to utilize a variety of skills (skill competencies). Further, school counselors, to be effective, must be competent professionals and 10 effective persons with the appropriate caring and helping personality. This information (pertaining to counsellor competencies) is important to the current research in that it is an attempt to outline the focus for graduate programs in elementary school counselling. According to the authors, it was generated through a process of consultation with school officials, counsellor educators, and counsellors in the field (ASCA, 1990). Currently, there is no comparable list of competencies for Canadian counsellor education programs, but the Counsellor Educators Division of the Canadian Guidance and Counselling Association has indicated the need to generate standards and competencies for elementary school counsellor education from a Canadian perspective. The competencies needed by today's school counselors, as viewed by A S C A , are presented below: Knowledge Competencies School counselors need to know: • Human development theories and concepts • Individual counseling theories • Consultation theories and techniques • Family counseling theories and techniques • Group counseling theories and techniques • Career decision-making theories and techniques • Learning theories • Motivation theories • The effect of culture on individual development and behavior • Evaluation theories and processes • Ethical and legal issues related to counseling • Program development models 11 Professional Competencies School counselors should be able to: • Conduct a self-evaluation to determine their strengths and areas needing improvement • Develop a plan of personal and professional growth to enable them to participate in lifelong learning • Advocate for appropriate state and national legislation • Adopt a set of professional ethics to guide their practice and interactions with students, staff, community, parents, and peers (ASCA 1990) Skill Competencies School counselors should be able to demonstrate skills in: • Diagnosing student needs • Individual counseling • Group counseling • Consultation with staff, students, and parents • Coordination of programs, educational testing, career development, substance abuse • Career counseling • Educational counseling • Identifying and making appropriate referrals • Administering and interpreting achievement, interest, aptitude, and personality tests • Cross-cultural counseling • Ethical decision making • Building supportive climates for students and staff 12 • Removing and/or decreasing race and gender bias in school policy and curriculum • Explaining, to the staff, community, and parents, the scope of practice and functions of a school counselor • Planning and conducting in-service for staff • Identifying resources and information related to helping clients • Evaluating the effectiveness of counseling programs (ASCA, 1990) In addition to ASCA guidelines, the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) developed and implemented the first specialty standards for the training of school counsellors in 1985. These standards are summarized in the following eight common core areas: 1. Human Growth and Development—studies that provide an understanding of the nature and needs of individuals at all developmental levels. 2. Social and Cultural Foundations—studies that provide an understanding of issues and trends in a multicultural and diverse society. 3. Helping Relationships—studies that provide an understanding of counseling and consultation processes. 4. Groups—studies that provide an understanding of group development, dynamics, counseling theories, and group counseling methods and skills. 5. Career and Lifestyle Development—studies that provide an understanding of career development and the interrelationships among work, family, and other life factors. 6. Appraisal-studies that provide an understanding of individual and group approaches to assessment and evaluation. 13 7. Research and Program Evaluation—studies that provide an understanding of types of research methods, basic statistics, and ethical and legal considerations in research. 8. Professional Orientation—studies that provide an understanding of all aspects of professional functioning including history, roles, organizational structures, ethics, standards, and credentialing (CACREP, 1993). The CACREP and ASCA standards and competencies, listed above, demonstrate a movement toward developmental counselling and away from a medical model involving the diagnosis and treatment of specific problems. This continuing trend toward developmental counseling, both in the United States and Canada, has been the source of some controversy, as illustrated below: Despite the support accorded to the developmental guidance perspective by ASCA and the editors of Elementary School Guidance and Counseling, the viability of the model for practicing school counsellors has indeed been challenged. Critics (Hohenshil, 1981; Kornick, 1984) have argued that a developmental approach is unrealistic and undesirable in view of current student/counsellor ratios and pressure from students, teachers and parents for remedial assistance. They also have argued that treatment oriented counselling should receive top priority in guidance programs. Even those who support developmental programs have observed that the continued existence of those programs is threatened by today's political and social climate and by the failure of school divisions, counselor educators, and counsellors to provide evidence that guidance programs based on developmental concepts have a positive effect on students. (Robinson, Rotter, & Wilson, 1982, p.8) 14 Gerler provides some positive evidence from the United States that, in fact, elementary counsellors do make a difference with respect to the school's learning climate. Following a review of current research, he concluded as follows: If counselors use the available research evidence, they are likely to find increased support for their programs from teachers, parents, and school administrators. For example, counselors can use... this article in presentations.... to provided evidence that well conceived counseling programs have positive effects on classroom learning environments. This evidence is powerful indeed because the majority of studies cited has results at the .05 level of statistical significance or better... In short, the past decade of research on elementary counseling holds considerable promise for counselors and the schools they serve. (Gerler, 1985, p.46) Although the roots of our profession lie south of the border, for the past 30 years, nationally and internationally, Canadians have been striking a new direction for counselling. It is precisely because we have differences that it is important to look at our own history and our Canadian focus for the future. A Canadian Perspective In the early 1970s an important conference on elementary school counselling was held in Banff, Alberta. At this conference, elementary counsellors and counsellor educators attended from across Canada to meet with counterparts who were active in this field in the United States. Zingle and Fox (1972) published a book resulting from this conference which arguably formed the basis for elementary counselling in Canada. From these proceedings and from early research it was apparent that early Canadian specialists in counselling gave priority to children or clients with serious problems. In the early 1970s, however, 15 priorities began to shift and school systems looked to counsellors to provide an approach that was both developmental and preventive in nature at the elementary school level (Brosseau, 1973; Grant, 1977; Paterson & Janzen, 1993; Van Hesteren, 1971). This [phenomenon] did not and does not mean that counsellors no longer see children with problems or children needing remediation. It does mean that fewer children are seen in this manner and that the counsellor has been encouraged to work with teachers in classrooms, with groups of children in the classroom, with parent groups, and with teachers in staff development (Blowers & Paterson, 1976, p. 14). In the late 1960s and early 1970s, a Canadian identity in counselling was emerging. A 1971 study by Guttman (1973) indicated that in Canada at that time there were 14 English counsellor education programs. Guttman concluded in the early 1970s that there were three distinct models of counsellor education in Canada. "(1) A two year program, integrative in it's [sic] approach to counselling theory and practice; (2) a one year program (full or part time), and (3) a diploma or certificate program very similar to guidance programs offered at that time through provincial departments of education. For the most part though, [even then], the Masters degree program seemed to be the dominant model." (Drapela, 1979, p. 36) Many Canadian counsellor educators, at the time of the introduction of elementary counselling, had received their training in American institutions and thus were likely to be members of the American Personnel and Guidance Association and/or the American Psychological Association. In 1965, at a 16 conference in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canadian Counsellors for the first time began to speak with a united voice on issues affecting counselling. Dr. Myrne Nevison published the first issue of Canadian Counsellor at that time from the province of British Columbia. The second president of CGCA, Aurele Gagnon, promoted the Association's constitution, assuring truly national representation as well as bilingualism. Since 1967, CGCA has had national conferences in all provinces in Canada and has achieved international prominence through the excellence of its publication. Canadian biennial conferences and, more recently annual conferences have become well known and consistently attract worldwide representation. As an association, CGCA has also encouraged and supported counsellors working with major international groups IAEVG, and IRTAC. (Paterson, Robertson, & Bain cited in Drapela, 1979, p. 37). It should be noted that Canadian counsellors drew early strength from the "giants" in school counselling from the United States. In the first three conferences held in Canada by CGCA, such well-known counsellors as Ethel Anderson, Henry Borow, Maurice Freehill, George Gazda, Donald Super, and Gilbert Wrenn presented major addresses. Despite the existence of a national association since the late 1960s, counsellor educators still hold diverse views on both training methodology and role for elementary counsellors. Job descriptions for elementary school counsellors in British Columbia show extreme variation, even at the present time. Some B.C. districts utilize the elementary counsellors to provide direct services to individuals or small groups of students. Other districts place the priority for elementary counselling programs with the consultation and coordination 17 functions, leaving individual counsellors very little time for direct service to students. Currently in British Columbia there is little empirical evidence as to how school counsellors spend their time, the extent to which they are satisfied with their present activities, whether or not they would prefer other activities, and the nature of the preferred activities. These questions were originally posed in Canada by Merchant and Zingle (1970) and later investigated by Carrerio and Schultz (1988). The latter study demonstrated that the three professional activities rated highest by counsellors were: (1) consulting with teachers, (2) meeting with individual children, and (3) meeting with the school principal. Similarly, Morse and Russell (1988) found that three of the five highest ranked role items involved a consultant function whereas only two items involved individual counselling with students. The aforementioned Manitoba study was published in 1988 by two counsellor educators (Carrerio & Schultz, 1988). The findings of these researchers had important implications and their questions were in part responsible for the outline of the current study. Carrerio and Schultz advised: "Counsellor educators must provide a training program relevant to counsellor activities." (p. 67). They further found that "counsellors spend little time evaluating their work..." (p. 67). These Canadian findings show a remarkable consistency with the opening paragraph in this chapter, which was based on an article by Lee and Workman (1992). An additional quotation from Carrerio and Schultz assisted in determining the methodology for this current British Columbia research vehicle: 18 Elementary school counsellors working in the field provided insight about the activities they valued and spent time on. Further evaluation rationalizing and prioritizing these activities so that the needs of students, parents, and teachers are met, is necessary. (Carrerio & Schultz, 1988, p.69). Elementary Counselling in British Columbia Allan and Der (1981) noted that counsellor education in British Columbia until recently was mainly for the training of secondary school counsellors. They concluded, "Thus many of the counsellors working in the elementary schools were not trained specifically in counselling young children" (Allan & Der, 1981). Allan (1977) also conducted a study investigating the perceptions of Superintendents and Directors regarding counselling services in B.C. School Districts. The counselling services perceived to be in the greatest immediate need included working with students individually (84%) and in groups (80%), plus teacher consultation (82%). Another important finding of this study illustrated the large caseloads of British Columbia elementary counsellors: 2000 to 8000 students to 1 counsellor, as compared to the recommended 500 to 1 ratio approved by the B.C. School Counsellors Association. Allan and Ross (1979) made the first attempt to examine the perceptions of B.C. counsellors. The counsellors reported that they spent 39% of their time with students (25% individually and 14%o in groups), 21%o with teachers, and 16% with parents (12% individually and 4% in groups). Allan, Doi, and Reed (1979) sent three questionnaires to 150 randomly selected representatives in B.C. elementary schools. These questionnaires were to be completed by the principal, a primary teacher, and an intermediate teacher. The results indicated general agreement as to the need for 19 counselling services. The three areas of greatest immediate need were individual counselling, help with discipline problems, and family counselling. Principals and teachers agreed that consulting with parents was a key skill required by counsellors, and recommended this should be followed by limited family counselling. Allan and Boland (1981) conducted a similar counselling needs survey with heads of student services of 58 non-urban B.C. School Districts. With a 55% return rate, the following counselling skills were rated highest with respect to the degree they would help the district: Individual counselling (88%); classroom management techniques (81%); family counselling (78%); and consultation with teachers and principals (75%). Counselling skills of greatest immediate need were classroom management, family counselling, and individual counselling. The counsellors who participated in this study (22% of total) reported that providing teachers with classroom coping skills, establishing specific management strategies, parenting groups, and family counselling were the interventions they found to be most successful. The largest impediments to providing services were unrealistic workloads, plus a shortage of time. In a study outside of B.C., Wilgus and Shelly (1988) investigated teacher perceptions of how elementary school counsellors spend their time, how teachers expect counsellors to spend their time, and the actual time that counsellors spent on various counsellor functions. Results indicated that individual counselling accounted for 19% of the counsellors' actual time. Other non-counselling jobs (example - lunchroom duty) accounted for 15%, staff counselling 7%, and parent education for 3% of counsellor time. The remaining 34% of counselling time was devoted to indirect counselling functions (example - testing, classroom 20 observation, etc.). Madak and Geini (1991) investigated the following three descriptive research questions: "(1) how do elementary counsellors spend their time? (2) How does time spent on these activities change throughout the year? (3) What are classroom teachers' expectations and perceptions of counsellors?" The results proved consistent with previous studies, in that individual counselling and consultation with teachers accounted for the majority of time. These authors also found that teachers were unclear about counsellor role. A study of this nature provided data demonstrating what others in the field are doing, as well as what are considered to be important priorities by stakeholder groups. The Ministry of Education in British Columbia (1995) has prepared a manual of policies, procedures, and guidelines for special education services. In this manual, there is a section on counselling in schools, which is reproduced in Figure 1. The reason for including this information in the literature review is threefold: first, to demonstrate that elementary counselling has become recognized by the Ministry of Education, and as such has become institutionalized; secondly, to examine the broad way in which the B.C. Ministry of Education (1995) presents guidelines for elementary counsellors; and finally, to highlight the extent to which the ASCA and CACREP guidelines presented above have been incorporated in this Canadian document. Figure 1 Counselling in Schools B . C . Ministry of Education Policies, Procedures, and Guidelines The aim of a school counselling program is to support the intellectual development, human and social development, and career development of each student so that he or she can become a responsible, productive citizen. In schools, counselling services are provided primarily by school counsellors and, as specified by local and/or inter-ministerial protocol agreements, by other mental health professionals (e.g., youth and family counsellors, 21 behavioural therapists). School counselling services should be coordinated with services provided in the community by other ministries (such as mental health services) and community agencies. School Counselling Services Purpose School counselling services are school or district based, non-categorical resource services designed to support students, their families and educators. These services are intended to facilitate the educational, personal, social, emotional and career development of students in schools and in the community. Description of services The focus of school counselling is upon enhancing the student's development, assisting with the development of an enabling school culture, and empowering students toward positive change. School counsellors provide a continuum of preventative, developmental, remedial, and intervention services and programs and facilitate referral to community resources. The school counsellor's role includes counselling, school-based consultation, co-ordination and education. The school counsellor does not discipline but rather helps in the development of effective behavioural change. The relative emphasis given to the services described below varies between elementary and secondary schools and reflects the need of each school, the school district and community. Counselling School counselling functions include individual, group and classroom to provide both an intervention and a prevention service. The counsellor: Promotes personal and social development appropriate to developmental stages; Counsels students, their families and the community to foster growth in the students' self esteem, individual responsibility, and in the skills such as decision-making and social skills; Ameliorates factors, which may precipitate problems for students; Enhances students' educational achievements through goal setting, assisting with the development of SLP's, IEP's and activities such as promotion of effective work and study habits; Provides appropriate interventions to assist students with school-related problems and issues; and Facilitates the goals of career education by assisting students and their families to explore and clarify the student's career options, through developmental activities that stress decision-making, personal planning and career awareness. School and district-based consultation and planning School counsellors consult and plan collaboratively with students, other educators, the school based team, parents, community agency personnel and 22 educational, social, emotional and career development of students. Consultation may focus on students' individual needs or on school, district or the planning process assisting with the development of IEP's and SLP's. Co-ordination As a member of the school-based team, school counsellors assist in the access to and co-ordination of school, district and other community services for students as specified by local and/or inter-ministerial protocol agreements, and liaison among home, school and community. School counsellors frequently assist students with transitions between schools throughout the K-12 system and with post-secondary plans. Education School counsellors may provide direct instruction to students in areas such as peer-helping, conflict resolution, social skills and life skills. As well, school counsellors provide support to other educators in implementing Career and Personal Planning and promoting healthy school environments and comprehensive health services to students. Their educational role may include staff and curriculum development. Access to school counselling services School districts and schools should establish referral procedures for educators, students and their families and community personnel to access the services of school counsellors. The school-based team is usually involved in accessing school counselling services, particularly at the elementary school level. Personnel School counsellors should meet the following qualifications: A professional teaching certificate; A Masters degree recognized by the College of Teachers in counselling psychology or a related discipline with a focus in counselling. Graduate Programs - Elementary School Counselling In 1977, two Canadian Counsellor Educators made a strong statement with respect to the direction counsellor education should proceed in graduate schools across Canada. The most pressing requirement at the present time is for developing counsellor training programs capable of providing practicing and prospective school counsellors with a perspective on developmental counselling and the counsellor role that arises from this emphasis. We 23 believe that the content and tools needed by the school counsellor to assume this developmental role are increasingly being developed, tested, and made available. The basic philosophy of developmental counselling has been with us for a long time. The encouraging thing that is happening now is that we are entering a period in which concepts, approaches, and programs are being developed, what has hitherto tended to be only a philosophy into practice. This emphasis on program development, implementation, and evaluation is likely to become a long-lasting one in the Guidance Movement. (VanHesteren & Zingle, p. 115). Although this is a strong point of view, it is not the only one currently in vogue in Canada. Fortunately, in our professional association (Canadian Guidance and Counselling Association) there has been a strong Division of Counsellor Educators. Although there has been no unanimity on preferred methods for educating counsellors, Canadians over the past three decades have been aware of what is happening in all parts of the country. With respect to Canadian Counsellor Education, Allan and Der (1981) identified developmental, preventive and remedial approaches along with basic counselling, consulting, coordinating and evaluation skills for the job of counselling in the elementary school. This model has been utilized to educate many of the counsellors currently working in British Columbia schools. Across North America, however, there is continuing debate in the literature about the substance of counsellor training programs. For example, as cited earlier, the American School Counselors Association (ASCA) has proposed several school counsellor competencies deemed necessary. ASCA leaders believe that school counselors are prepared for their work through the study of 24 interpersonal relationships and behavioral sciences in graduate education courses in accredited Colleges and Universities. Preparation involves special training in counselling theory and skills related to school settings. Particular attention is given to personality and human development theories and research, including career and life skills development, learning theories, the nature of change and the helping process, theories and approaches to appraisal, multicultural, and community awareness; educational environments; curriculum development; professional ethics; and program planning, management, and evaluation. Counsellors should be prepared to use the basic interventions in a school setting, with special emphasis on the study of helping relationships, facilitative skills, and brief counseling; group dynamics and group learning activities; family systems theory; peer helper programs, multicultural and cross cultural helping approaches; plus educational and community resources for special school populations. Martin (1994) took exception to this sort of structure and offered the following observation in his argument for a more generalized approach to counsellor education: A sensible alternative to overly prescriptive, diagnostic, and skill training in psychotherapy education is a more general social science education at the graduate level, one that presumes a solid liberal arts and science background at the undergraduate level. The sort of narrow-band, sub-disciplinary professional training currently advocated by associations such as the American Psychological Association, Canadian Psychological Association, American Counseling Association, and others, should be replaced by a more scholarly program of studies in psychology and social science, under the control of scholars in our universities, albeit with 25 necessary and desirable linkage to professionals and professional organizations, so as to safeguard relevance and utility. Only in this way can psychotherapists acquire the kind of understanding of social science that I believe their practice requires. (Martin, 1994, pp. 116-117). Survey Research Preparation versus Practice - Other Professions. Utilizing a survey to determine actual and ideal roles has not been restricted to Counsellor Education, or even Education for that matter. Survey research has been a well-recognized technique to relate educational opportunities to field experiences utilizing feedback from both sources to reinvigorate educational programming. In 1989 Fisher, Jenkins, and Crumbly surveyed school psychologists to determine training, practice, preferred role, and competence. Glanz and Rudd (1993) conducted the same type of study looking at nutrition education and consumer behaviour professions. "Preparedness for practice" was the title of a research article by Canter, Baker, and Hughes (1993) in which they obtained views from young physicians about their professional education. In the 1994 American Psychologist, Shapiro and Wiggins looked at degree labeling and credentialing with respect to health care providers. The author utilized insights from other surveys in other professions in planning both the questionnaire and data collection strategies. Survey Research in Counselling. It was noted earlier in this document that Jevne (1981) investigated counsellor competencies in Canadian Counsellor education. Splete and Bernstein (1981) surveyed counsellor training programs to determine if consultation training played a part in counsellor education programs. Sisson (1992) surveyed school counsellors' perceptions of graduate training 26 priorities and Usher and Borders (1993) surveyed practicing counsellors to determine supervisory style and emphasis preferences. Other studies, including a survey model, include one from the U.K. by Scanlon and Bailie (1994) in which the researchers investigated experiences of students undertaking counsellor training programs within departments of higher education. These researchers identified "a gap in the literature between theory and practice in the education and training for the practice based professionals" (p.407) and utilized a qualitative methodology to explore experiences of 10 graduates from counsellor education programs. The following categories were identified: (1) The "academy" and the "real world" of practice describing adverse effects of the theory-practice gaps on students, (2) Importance of clinical skills training in acquiring practice skills, and (3) Student concern with the quality of course outcome, in particular the lack of rigor in the assessment of clinical competence. The authors concluded that the professional education and training of counsellors could be better integrated into a more "practice led" curricular model. Hughey, Gysbers, and Starr (1993) evaluated school guidance programs through a survey of students, parents, and teachers. High school students (n=280), parents (n=125), and teachers (n=l 50) indicated support for the guidance program. These researchers recommended continuing use of surveys to foster guidance program development. The conclusions of Sisson and Bullis (1992) present a case both for testing the relevance of counsellor education programs, and for seeking information from field practitioners. Their conclusions were summarized as follows: In conclusion, examination of these data can assist counsellor educators in assessing the degree to which graduate counsellor training programs focus 27 on the actual practice of school counseling. Careful scrutiny of significant differences among elementary, middle school, junior high, and secondary counsellors' ratings reveals the need for different emphasis on many items. The results of this study indicate the need for continual input from practicing school counsellors regarding changing needs in their educational preparation. Furthermore, the need is implied for continuing education that is truly relevant for the school practitioner and for ongoing research similar to this particular study. We hope that practicing school counsellors will be afforded the opportunity to, and will be able to take a proactive role in the design of these curricula. It will be through such ongoing scrutiny of educational needs that the field of school counselling will become consistent with the needs of students who are served. (Sisson &Bullis, 1992, pp. 115-116) Summary and Critique Elementary counselling in Canada has developed concurrently with the movement in the United States and is currently an institutional part of most British Columbia schools. Researchers and counsellor educators have noted the importance of ongoing communication and consultation with elementary counsellors in the field, but little empirical research has been conducted to date. The limited research available (summarized above) is often characterized by studies with very low (22%) response from counsellors (Allan & Boland, 1981) or questions that do not specifically address the issue of counsellor education (Farquar, 1995; Samis, 1991). Ongoing consultation between field-based practitioners and counsellor educators fosters understanding and illumination of the tension points between these two groups. The current study is designed to 28 update the British Columbia data on elementary counsellors, ask specific questions about their training program based on available accreditation standards, and to determine through these questions the current importance and effectiveness of preparation in these areas. 29 CHAPTER 3 METHODOLOGY Overview This chapter is divided into four sections describing the research procedures of this study: sample, design, collection of data, and data analysis. Data are presented to describe the processes undertaken to identify accessible counsellors, steps in designing the questionnaire, collection of data, and, finally, analysis of the data obtained from the sample. Sample At the time that this study was conducted, there were no established listings of British Columbia elementary school counsellors. Two previous research studies (Farquar, 1995; Samis, 1991) established a procedure for obtaining an up-to-date listing. This procedure was utilized in the current study. The target population for this study was all elementary school counsellors in British Columbia. To identify every accessible prospective participant, a letter was sent to the supervisors of elementary counsellors of all 76 British Columbia school districts, requesting the names and addresses of their elementary school counsellors. Forty-six school districts responded to this initial request, reporting 240 elementary counsellors. An additional 18 districts responded to a second request for this information. In total, 64 districts (84%) identified 327 elementary school counsellors, representing coverage for 92% of the elementary school student population in British Columbia. It should be noted that, as was the case with the two previous studies (Farquar, 1995; Samis, 1991), utilizing this method of generating an up-to-date list of elementary school counsellors, the districts that did not respond tended to be small and rural, which frequently do not employ 30 elementary counsellors. The participants in this study consisted of those elementary school counsellors who completed and returned the questionnaire. Design Questionnaire Development. A review of the literature aided in the initial development of a survey instrument to be used for this study. Specifically, the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) was consulted to determine a broad base of desirable elements in a graduate program for elementary school counsellor education. Based on this initial questionnaire, preliminary interviews were conducted in November, 1994, with eight elementary school counsellors in the British Columbia Lower Mainland. One telephone interview was also conducted with an elementary school counsellor in a northern British Columbia school district. Interviews were semi-structured; counsellors were asked to comment generally on their experiences of graduate training and the relevance of this training to their current job. The results of this interview led to the first version of the questionnaire (Appendix A). In January, 1995, a second pilot study was carried out with the revised questionnaire. A copy of the questionnaire and a self-addressed stamped return envelope were sent to 15 British Columbia elementary school counsellors known to the writer. The accompanying cover letter (Appendix B) explained the purpose of the proposed study and requested counsellor participation in the pilot by requesting them to complete the questionnaire. Once again, respondents were interviewed and asked to comment generally on their experiences of graduate training, and the relevance of this training to their current job. In addition, these 31 respondents were asked to provide suggestions for improvement in the questionnaire. Following the second revision of the questionnaire, a final pilot study was conducted. The revised questionnaire was provided to 10 elementary counsellors and 3 counsellor educators. Some suggestions for additions and clarifications resulted in improvements from the piloted version to the questionnaire in final form. "Identification of gifted and talented" was suggested as a category by one pilot respondent and subsequently this was added to the questionnaire. Several participants in this pilot study requested additional opportunity for open-ended response. The feedback of these participants was incorporated, resulting in minor improvements and the completed version of the final questionnaire (Appendix D). No effort was made to exclude counsellors who contributed to the pilot study from the final list of elementary counsellors receiving questionnaires. Pilot results were used only for development of the questionnaire. Following development of the questionnaire, a request for ethical review was prepared and submitted to the University of British Columbia Behavioural Sciences Screening Committee for Research and Other Studies Involving Human Subjects. This ethical review request was submitted by the author in concert with his faculty advisor at that time, Dr. John Allan. Approval to proceed with the study was granted in April, 1995. The cover letter accompanying the questionnaire is included (Appendix B) along with a reminder letter (Appendix E). Questionnaire and Research Questions. The purpose of this sub-section is to clarify the relationship between the research questions and the questionnaire 32 items. The questionnaire utilized for this study is included in Appendix D. Two pilot versions have also been included (Appendix A and Appendix C). Section A: Background Information was comprised of seven questions designed to collect the following with respect to elementary counsellors in British Columbia: (a) demographic information, (b) role and responsibilities, and (c) work environment. This information was similar to demographic information collected in previous studies (Farquar, 1995; Samis, 1991), allowing for the author and future researchers to determine population changes that occur over time. Section B: University Preparation began with questions designed to determine the following additional demographic information with respect to preparation in becoming an elementary school counsellor: (a) the level of training of elementary school counsellors - questions 8 and 9, (b) where and how this training was obtained - questions 11 and 12. The study was designed to explore the following broad research question: "How well do school counsellor education programs prepare elementary school counsellors for their job?" To determine this, several elements were addressed in the remainder of the questionnaire. Competencies were listed and counsellors were asked to rate the effectiveness of their preparation in each area, along with the current importance of this area to their role as an elementary school counsellor. Both of these elements are necessary to generate information about the research question. It is conceivable that some areas are taught well in graduate school, and irrelevant to current role description. Conversely, there may be areas that are missing from training programs that counsellors find very important in their day-to-day jobs. Question 13 was designed to explore the relationship 33 between program effectiveness and current importance across a range of competency areas. Questions 14 to 18 have been designed to elicit specific information about the perceived strengths and weaknesses of counsellor training programs. It should be noted here that question 17 (added in the last revision of the questionnaire) uses the words "practical component" to describe the clinical or practicum component of the training program. The word "practical" may be interpreted by some respondents to mean "positive or desirable." As such, the information from question #17 must be viewed in the context of this potential source of bias built into the question. Question 19 has been designed to provide counsellors with the opportunity to rate barriers to their day-to-day work as an elementary school counsellor. This information could be potentially helpful to counsellor educators in designing programs that provide graduates with the skills to cope with difficulties encountered in the workplace. Questions 20 to 24 are open-ended questions designed to elicit information that may have inadvertently missed in other parts of the questionnaire. Data Collection In April 1995, a questionnaire accompanied by a letter of transmittal was sent to each of the elementary school counsellors. A double envelope strategy was used to permit the recording of non-respondents for follow-up while maintaining anonymity. Both a coded return envelope (self-addressed and stamped) and a blank envelope were sent with the questionnaires. Respondents were asked to anonymously complete the questionnaire, place it in the blank envelope first, then in the return envelope, and to return the questionnaire within 34 one week. The investigator separated the two return envelopes as they were received, thus preventing the possibility of matching completed questionnaires to respondents. By May 20th, 1995, 111 or 43% of the counsellors had responded. To maximize the counsellor response rate, the author followed procedures recommended by Dillman (1978) in his classic work. As the response rate began to diminish, a follow-up reminder letter was sent at this time to all of the non-respondents (see Appendix E). A second response record was kept and when a decrease in response was noted again, a follow-up letter along with another copy of the questionnaire was mailed to each of the remaining non-respondents (see Appendix E). By July 15th, two hundred nineteen (67%) respondents had completed and returned questionnaires. Data Analysis The Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) was used to analyze the data. For demographic, background, and work-setting data (entitled "Section A" on the questionnaire), cases were counted and frequencies were reported. The purpose of this information was to describe the sample of B.C. elementary school counsellors who participated in the study. Demographic data concerning University preparation (questions 8 to 12 on the questionnaire) were handled in a similar manner; cases were counted and frequencies were reported. The purpose of this information was to describe the counsellor training those members in the sample received. For question 13 of "Section B," respondents were asked to indicate the following: "how effectively your educational program prepared you in the skill or area of expertise." Each of the five responses were assigned a score: not part of 35 program = 0, very effective = 1, effective = 2, not very effective = 3, not effective at all = 4. Respondents' scores were recorded and sample means and standard deviations for each category calculated. For the second part of question 13 respondents were asked to indicate the following: "how important the skill or area of expertise is to you in your role as an elementary school counsellor?" Each of four responses was assigned a score: 1 = very important, 2 = important, 3 = not very important, 4 = not important at all. Respondents' scores were recorded and sample means and standard deviations for each category calculated. For question 14, respondents were asked to indicate how satisfied they were with their counsellor education program. Each of five responses was assigned a score: 1 = very satisfied, 2 = satisfied, 3 = neutral, 4 = dissatisfied, 5 = very dissatisfied. Respondent's scores were recorded and sample means and standard deviations for each category calculated. For questions 15 to 17, respondents were asked which statement best described their counsellor education program. In each of these cases, frequencies were calculated and reported alongside the various responses. For question 18 respondents were asked to rate the extent to which they agreed or disagreed with a series of statements about their training program. Each of four responses was assigned a score: 1 = strongly agree, 2 = agree, 3 = disagree, 4 = strongly disagree. Respondents' scores were recorded and sample means and standard deviations for each category calculated. For question 19 respondents were asked to rate a number of items in terms of how great a barrier it poses to day-to-day work as an elementary school counsellor. Each of four responses was assigned a score: 1 = large barrier, 2 = 36 moderate barrier, 3 = small barrier, 4 = not a barrier. Respondents' scores were recorded and sample means and standard deviations for each category calculated. Questions 20 to 24 were open-ended. The process of analysis for this section consisted of transcribing each response, then sorting this information into conceptual groups. For each of these clusters, a descriptive label was developed. This process was intended to allow the categorical labels to flow directly from the data. Next, a tally (indicating the number of times mentioned) was taken and results were presented in order, based upon frequency of response. Specific examples from each coded category were provided. Research Questions 1. What are the demographic characteristics and educational levels of practicing elementary school counsellors in British Columbia? 2. What counsellor competencies were included as part of each elementary counsellor's specialized educational or graduate program? 3. According to study respondents, how effective was the educational content and experience in these competency areas? 4. According to study respondents, how important is the educational content and experience in these competency areas with respect to their current role as an elementary school counsellor? 5. What counsellor competencies do elementary counsellors perceive as strengths and weaknesses of their counsellor education programs? 6. What do elementary counsellors perceive as the greatest barriers to their effectiveness? 37 7. What do elementary counsellors perceive as: (1) the most beneficial elements of their graduate training programs, and (2) the least beneficial elements of their graduate training programs? 8. What content areas would elementary counsellors suggest be included in their graduate training programs to make them more effective? 9. What practical areas would elementary counsellors suggest be included in their graduate training programs to make them more effective? 10. What other advice would respondents have for counsellors and counsellor educators in Canada? Validity and Reliability Best & Khan (1998) state, "Basic to the validity of a questionnaire is asking the right questions phrased in the least ambiguous way." Prior to the data collection, a review of the literature was conducted. The researcher determined relevant content areas associated with the elementary counsellor education programs in Canada and the United States. The CACREP accreditation material was particularly significant to this collection of evidence, and to the establishment of construct validity. The background research material was assembled into a questionnaire and three pilot studies conducted. The questionnaire was revised based on the results of these pilots. Items with potential ambiguity were rephrased so that the meaning was clear. In some cases, examples were provided to differentiate between potentially ambiguous items. Content validity was enhanced by the three pilot studies. With respect to stability, two previous studies investigating the same target population (Farquar, 1995; Samis, 1991) yielded similar results, which are reported below. Precise and standard instructions about 38 the questionnaire completion were developed with the purpose of minimizing the influence of other factors. Delimitations of the Study Data in this study have been restricted to questionnaire information from volunteer participants. All respondents' were practicing elementary school counsellors in the Province of British Columbia at the time the data was collected. Limitations of the Study This study is subject to the usual limitations of questionnaire research. According to Wiersma (1986) these may include the following: "(1) There is excessive non response, (2) Items are poorly constructed or organized, (3) Respondents are not truthful in their responses, (4) Questions deal only with trivial information, (5) Data from different questions are difficult to synthesize." (p. 186) The current study has a 67% response rate, indicating the majority of the population of B.C. elementary counsellors have contributed to this data set. The items over three pilot tests have been carefully constructed and organized. In assessing the "truthfulness" of the data, it is difficult to imagine a reason that a respondent would take time and effort to complete an inaccurate representation of his/her views. The questions are based upon current curriculum, research, and practice of elementary school counselling. It would not be correct to characterize this information as trivial. Finally, responses from the open-ended and closed questions revealed similar information and, as such, could be synthesized or discussed together. The questions involving current importance and quality of preparation were designed to pose different questions to the same set of counsellor competencies. This also helped in synthesizing this information. Taken together, 39 each of the aforementioned Wiersma limitations has been considered, evaluated, and, to a large degree, alleviated in the current study. Counsellor preparation programs change over time. In this study, no effort was made to correlate counsellor responses with actual dates when they were attending graduate programs. Hence, it is possible that the respondents are offering criticism of programs that are no longer in existence. The objective of the current study was to examine the point(s) of tension between preparation and practice. This must necessarily represent a dialogue. Future developments towards improving the education of elementary counsellors can be informed by respondents' perceptions of strengths and limitations of their programs, along with analysis of recent curricular developments and revision in light of these expressed preferences. Group means and data do not always reflect intensity of opinion in certain areas. Therefore, relative importance of issues could be misleading. 40 CHAPTER 4 RESULTS Introduction When this survey was undertaken there were 75 School Districts in British Columbia. The author's best estimate was that there were approximately 360 practicing elementary school counsellors in the province at that time. Through letters and the questionnaire, 64 Districts responded, identifying 327 elementary school counsellors. These responding School Districts represented over 90% of the provincial elementary school student population. Two hundred nineteen school counsellors returned questionnaires for a response rate of 67%. School districts that did not contribute names to the list of elementary school counsellors were small and probably, to a large degree, do not have personnel with elementary counselling as a primary feature of their job description. Research Questions and Questionnaire Returns Research question 1. What are the demographic characteristics and educational levels of practicing elementary school counsellors in British Columbia? There are, unfortunately, no available national data on elementary school counsellors. Because of this, it is difficult to know if the demographic information presented here is indicative of other Canadian jurisdictions. Two B.C. studies predating this one (Farquar, 1995; Samis, 1991) can be utilized for comparative purposes. In general, it is important to gather demographic data to facilitate possible national comparative studies in the future, and to track changes and trends in this population. 41 The demographic results summarized in Tables 1 through 4 indicate that there is a greater proportion of female (58.0%) than male (40.2%) elementary counsellors in British Columbia. This finding is consistent with Samis (1991) who reported a split of 55.8%) females and 44.2% males and Farquar (1995) who reported 61.8%o females and 38.2% males. It is interesting that a solid percentage of elementary counsellors are male. Elementary schools tend to be staffed with more female teachers than males, just as secondary schools tend to have a greater percentage of male teachers. Respondents indicating an age range of 40-49 represented 54.3% of the total. Samis (1991) reported this number to be 54.8%. It is interesting to note that respondents under the age of 40 were 25.4%> in 1991, and 13.3% in the current study. B.C. Elementary Counsellors appear to be getting older as a group, with a smaller percentage of respondents under the age of 40, and a greater percentage over the age of 49. Samis (1991) noted the following possible factors for the high age of elementary counsellors: (a) many elementary counsellors have had a teaching career before becoming counsellors; and (b) university graduate training programs in B.C. prefer to admit more "mature" and experienced individuals. 42 Table 1. Age and Gender: British Columbia Elementary School Counsellors Characteristic n % Gender Female 127 58.0 Male 88 40.2 No Response 4 1.8 Age 25 -39 29 13.3 40-49 119 54.3 50 OR OLDER 66 30.1 No Response 5 2.3 The educational level of B.C. elementary counsellors (Table 2) remains high. 88.2% of respondents report having completed a Masters or Doctoral degree. This is up from the 81.7% reported by Samis in 1991 and the 86.4% reported by Farquar in 1995. Clearly, school districts responsible for hiring elementary counsellors view completion of a graduate degree as an important or necessary pre-requisite to placement in this role. Ninety eight point two percent of respondents indicated that they had completed a Bachelors degree or better. 43 Table 2. Educational Levels: B.C. Elementary School Counsellors Characteristic n %_ British Columbia Teaching Certificate Yes 211 96.3 No 6 2.7 No Response 2 .9 Highest Degree Doctoral Degree 3 1.4 Masters Degree 190 86.8 Graduate Diploma 4 1.8 Masters Degree In Progress 8 3.7 Masters Degree Incomplete 4 1.8 Bachelors Degree 6 2.7 No Response 4 1.8 Masters or Doctorate in Counselling Yes 182 83.1 No 33 15.1 No Response 4 1.8 Type of Educational Program Primarily full time 94 42.9 Primarily part time 62 28.3 Primarily part time (summers) 16 7.3 Primarily off campus (Distance Ed) 11 5.0 No response 36 16.4 44 It is interesting to note in Table 3 that over three-quarters of respondents (77.2%) have worked as an elementary school counsellor for 2 to 15 years. It is clear by contrasting this figure with the age demographic that they represent a mature group, who have likely shifted from a teaching career into the job of elementary school counsellor. This is important with respect to subsequent responses to other items in this questionnaire. Graduate students returning to University after successfully teaching likely have different needs and expectations than those who step into graduate school immediately upon completion of an undergraduate degree. Based on these results, elementary counsellors appear to be largely comprised of the former. Moreover, it can be noted that fewer than half of respondents (42.9%) report having completed their graduate work in a primarily full time program. A full time student would have much greater access to field experience in elementary counselling that would take place during the school day. A part-time student attempting to maintain a full time teaching position would be less likely to participate in a supervised field experience that provided direct exposure to the role of elementary school counsellor. 45 Table 3. Work Experience as Elementary School Counsellors Characteristic n % Less than 2 years 21 9.6 2 to 5 years 78 35.6 6 to 10 years 68 31.1 11 to 15 years 23 10.5 More than 15 years 29 13.2 As indicated in Table 4, most of the respondents work in urban settings (62.1%) and are from regions comprised of large urban centers. Greater Vancouver represented 48.4%, Vancouver Island South (15.1%) and the Fraser Valley (9.1%). Samis (1991) did not report the region, but Farquar (1995) reported a very similar regional distribution. Well over half of the elementary counsellors responding to this questionnaire (69.4%) indicated that they work in 2 to 4 schools. Sixteen percent indicated that they work in 5 or more schools, and 14.6% indicated that they work in one school. This is significant with respect to role identification. Full time elementary counsellors traveling from school to school may identify more with other non-enrolling district staff, and less with school-based administrators and teachers. A school-based elementary counsellor with other duties in the school aside from elementary counselling, may be able to form closer relationships with the school staff, although may be at some risk of losing professional identity that is complementary to yet distinct from classroom teaching. Over half (50.6%) of the respondents report the counsellor to student ratio in their area to be over 1:1000. If one examines only full time elementary 4 6 counsellors (n = 136), this percentage jumps to 66.9% over 1:1000, and 78.7% with a counsellor to student ratio of over 1:750 students. It appears that full time elementary counselling positions typically involve much larger counsellor to student ratio than the 1:500 figure recommended by the British Columbia School Counsellors' Association. 47 Table 4. Details of Work Assignment: B.C. Elementary School Counsellors Characteristic n %_ Region of British Columbia Greater Vancouver 106 48.4 Vancouver Island South 33 15.1 Fraser Valley 20 9.1 Okanagan 15 6.8 North Coast 10 4.6 Northern Interior 8 3.7 Peace River 6 2.7 East Kootenay 5 2.3 West Kootenay 5 2.3 Vancouver Island North 5 2.3 Mainline Cariboo 4 1.8 South Coast 1 .5 No Response 1 .5 Full or part time counselling Full Time 136 62.1 Part Time (more than 50%) 54 24.7 Part Time (50% or less) 28 12.7 No Response 1 .5 Number of assigned schools One 32 14.6 Two 53 24.2 48 Three 64 29.2 Four 35 16.0 Five 12 5.5 Six 9 4.1 Seven or more 14 6.4 Urbanity of assigned schools Primarily urban 136 62.1 Primarily rural 27 12.3 Mixed rural and urban 53 24.2 Number of students attending schools 499 or less 31 14.2 500 to 749 44 20.1 750 to 999 33 15.1 1000 to 1249 60 27.4 1250 to 1499 33 15.1 1500 or more 16 7.3 No response 2 .8 Research question 2. What counsellor competencies were included as part of each elementary counsellor's specialized educational or graduate program? To report the answer to this question the following three Tables were developed. Respondents had answered questions specifically requesting information about knowledge competencies and skill competencies as well as interventions and techniques derived from the literature review and pilot results. Responses have been grouped from highest to lowest percentage of the listed r-49 competencies included in counselling programs of studies. It should be noted that the largest percentage of respondents attended the University of British Columbia (40.6%), followed by the University of Victoria (18.3%), and Simon Fraser University (3.7%). Eighteen point three percent of respondents did not indicate where they received their counsellor education, and the remaining respondents (19.1%) indicated the name of a different university. The highest percentage of these was the Alfred Adler Institute (1.4%).-With respect to the list of knowledge competencies, most were identified as "part of the program" by the majority of respondents. Counselling and psychological theories topped the list, while program development models, effect of culture on development/behaviour and identification of children who are gifted ranked as the least included competencies. 50 Table 5: Knowledge Competencies Included in Program of Studies Competency % Individual counselling theories 96.8 Human development theories and concepts 91.3 Group counselling theories and techniques 90.9 Family counselling theories and techniques 86.3 Consultation theories and techniques 85.4 Ethical and legal issues related to counselling 84.5 Learning theories and motivational theories 83.1 Evaluation theories and processes 80.8 Identification of children who need counselling 79.0 Identification of children who have been abused 78.5 Identification of depressed/suicidal children 78.1 Abnormal psychology 76.3 Career decision-making theories and techniques 75.8 Program development models 73.1 Effect of culture on development and behaviour 71.7 Identification of children who are gifted 65.3 A similar format was utilized to outline the skill competencies. Once again, the majority of respondents identified these competencies as having been a part of their counsellor education program. Individual counselling, cognitive therapy, and group counselling topped the list, and planning in-service for staff, 51 removing and/or decreasing gender bias, along with school curriculum planning, were included in the programs of slightly more than half of the respondents. 52 Table 6: Skill Competencies Included in Program of Studies Competency % Individual counselling 96.8 Cognitive Therapy 90.0 Group Counselling 89.5 Behaviour Modification 84.0 Diagnosing student needs 82.6 Ethical Decision Making 81.3 Career Counselling 78.5 Identifying Resources Related to Helping Clients 78.1 Explaining the Scope and Practice of a School Counsellor 75.8 Understanding the Role of Elementary Counselling 75.8 Identifying Appropriate Community Referrals 74.4 Evaluating the Effectiveness of Counselling Programs 72.1 Building Supportive Climates for Students and Staff 71.7 Cross-cultural Counselling 67.6 Consultation 65.8 Play Therapy 65.8 Art Therapy 65.3 Planning and Conducting In-Service for Staff 62.1 Removing and/or Decreasing Race and Gender Bias 59.8 School Curriculum Planning 53.4 53 Finally, interventions and techniques were listed using the inclusion criteria. Here, family counselling, consulting with teachers, and crisis counselling topped the list. In-service with teachers, abuse prevention programs, and personal safety programs were at the bottom. Table 7. Interventions and Techniques Included in Program of Studies Competency % Family Counselling 86.3 Consulting With Teachers 78.5 Crisis Counselling 78.5 Testing (Personality) 76.7 Career Education 74.4 Testing (Achievement & Ability) 74.0 Discipline Problems 72.6 Classroom Management Techniques 71.7 Parenting Programs 70.8 Affective Education (DUSO, TAD, etc.) 68.5 Inter-cultural Counselling 65.8 In-Service With Teachers 58.0 Abuse Prevention Programs (CARE, etc.) 56.6 Personal Safety Programs (Second Step, etc.) 52.1 These three tables reveal a consistency in counselling programs, particularly with respect to knowledge competencies. The data with respect to identification of gifted children were requested and included on the advice of 54 counsellors involved in the pilot study. This knowledge, while commonly (65%) included, was available less often than other competencies which are more traditionally expected in counsellor education. From the literature it had been determined that consultation with parents, teachers, and administrators should be an integral part of counsellor preparation (Carrerio & Schultz, 1988). In this Province, this appears to have been happening. In Table 6 it is notable that almost all counsellors were exposed to both individual counselling theories and practice, yet only approximately half of them claimed skill competency in school curriculum planning, an integral component of developmental counselling. Career counselling appears to be commonly taught, even at the elementary level, a concept supported by many traditional counsellor educators. Table 7 contained information indicating almost half of the respondents had not been exposed to techniques and interventions with preventive programs such as CARE and Second Step. It is probable that the percentage of inclusion is much higher among recent graduates. Taken together, Tables 5 through 7 create a picture of counsellor education program priorities. All of the listed competencies were identified by over half of the respondents. Counselling theories and techniques tended to be included more often, while skills and strategies related specifically to the context of school are identified less often. This may represent somewhat of a gap between counsellor educators and the school system. Another possible explanation may have to do with the age and experience of counselling graduate students discussed earlier. Experienced and successful classroom teachers returning to graduate school would presumably be well acquainted with the school system. Curriculum planning, and learning about specific prevention programs may seem trivial and 55 redundant to these students, while theories of counselling would be breaking new ground. A third explanation may be the view of a necessary emphasis on theories to lay the foundation for students upon which program development and application can be built. Research question 3. According to study respondents, how effective was the educational content and experiences in these competency areas? Once again, respondents answered questions specifically requesting an effectiveness rating about knowledge competencies, skill competencies as well as interventions and techniques that were included in their program of studies. Respondent's answers are summarized in Tables 8 to 10. The data have been grouped from most to least effective competencies in these three tables. In Table 8 counselling theories can be seen to have been rated most effective with respect to respondents' educational content and experience. In this cluster, least effective was identification of children who are depressed/suicidal "and identifying children who are gifted. Table 8 provides support for the notion that counsellor education programs are most effective when presenting theories or techniques, and less effective when presenting information about program development or identifying children with potentially problematic characteristics. 56 Table 8. Means and Standard Deviations - Effectiveness of Counsellor Education for Knowledge Competencies Competency n Mean SD Individual counselling theories 212 1.60 0.60 Human development theories and concepts 200 1.98 0.71 Group counselling theories and techniques 199 2.07 0.76 Family counselling theories and techniques 189 2.08 0.87 Consultation theories and techniques 187 2.21 0.83 Career decision-making theories/techniques 166 2.23 0.87 Ethical/legal issues related to counselling 185 2.23 0.85 Learning theories and motivational theories 182 2.28 0.86 Identify - children who need counselling 173 2.29 0.90 Evaluation theories and processes 177 2.37 0.82 Identify - children who have been abused 172 2.44 0.91 Abnormal psychology 167 2.49 0.92 Effect of culture on development/behaviour 157 2.55 0.93 Program development models 160 2.57 0.84 Identify - depressed/suicidal children 171 2.66 0.84 Identify - children who are gifted 143 2.97 0.89 Mean range = 1-4 where 1 denotes "very effective", 2 denotes "effective", 3 denotes "not very effective", and 4 denotes "not effective at all". Table 9 is comprised of perceived effectiveness of counsellor education for skill competencies. Once again, taken together, this Table provides support for the notion the elementary counsellor education programs are perceived to be 57 more effective in theoretical areas, and less effective in contextual areas. It is interesting to note that the highest rated therapeutic intervention was Cognitive Therapy, which is arguably much less important for working with children than some other forms of therapy (Play and Art Therapy) which was included in fewer programs and rated lower down on the list. Decreasing race and gender bias received the highest mean score (indicating lowest effectiveness ranking) along with school curriculum planning and planning/conducting in-service. 58 Table 9. Means and Standard Deviations - Effectiveness of Counsellor Education for Skill Competencies Competency n Mean SD Individual Counselling 212 1.58 0.67 Cognitive Therapy 197 2.12 0.77 Group Counselling 196 2.12 0.79 Behaviour Modification 184 2.20 0.84 Ethical Decision Making 178 2.20 0.80 Career Counselling 172 2.24 0.90 Consultation 178 2.29 0.92 Diagnosing Student Needs 181 2.34 0.82 Understanding the Role 166 2.36 0.96 Building Supportive Climates 157 2.39 0.93 Identifying Resources for Helping Clients 171 2.47 0.83 Explaining the Scope and Practice 166 2.55 0.88 Cross-cultural Counselling 148 2.58 0.95 Evaluating Effectiveness of Counselling 158 2.59 0.81 Art Therapy 143 2.64 1.03 Play Therapy 144 2.65 1.00 Identifying Community Referrals 163 2.66 0.86 Planning and Conducting In-Service 136 2.75 0.97 School Curriculum Planning 117 2.77 0.91 Decreasing Race and Gender Bias 131 2.89 0.88 Mean range = 1-4 where 1 denotes "very effective", 2 denotes "effective", 3 denotes "not very effective", and 4 denotes "not effective at all". Table 10 is comprised of perceived effectiveness of counsellor education for interventions and techniques. The means for this cluster were higher than for 59 the previous two tables indicating that as a group, interventions and techniques are not considered as effective as knowledge and skill competencies. Within the Interventions and Techniques group it is interesting to note that Family Counselling is considered to be most effective, while developmental guidance programs (CARE, Second Step) are well down the list. This finding provides support for the notion that counselling programs are considered by their graduates to be best at preparing students to counsel individuals, small groups, or families. Coordinating developmental guidance programs had a much lower rating. 60 Table 10. Means and Standard Deviations - Effectiveness of Counsellor Education for Interventions and Techniques Competency n Mean SD Family Counselling 189 2.21 0.90 Crisis Counselling 172 2.24 0.89 Career Education 163 2.28 0.88 Testing (Achievement & Ability) 162 2.28 0.92 Consulting With Teachers 172 2.31 0.92 Testing (Personality) 168 2.43 0.91 Classroom Management Techniques 157 2.44 0.92 Parenting Programs 155 2.45 0.95 Affective Education (DUSO, TAD, etc.) 150 2.51 0.93 Discipline Problems 159 2.52 0.88 Inter-Cultural Counselling 144 2.55 0.97 Abuse Prevention Programs (CARE, etc.) 124 2.77 0.97 In-Service With Teachers 127 2.79 0.90 Personal Safety Programs (Second Step) 114 2.82 1.06 Mean range = 1-4 where 1 denotes "very effective", 2 denotes "effective", 3 denotes "not very effective", and 4 denotes "not effective at all". Research question 4. According to study respondents, how important is the educational content and experience in these competency areas to their current role as an elementary school counsellor? 61 Respondents were asked to rate each competency as to the current importance to their day-to-day role as elementary school counsellors. Tables 11 to 13 provide a summary of responses. The data have been grouped from most to least important in these Tables. There is a striking difference in Table 11 between what respondents consider important to their role and what was best taught in their training program. The top-rated importance items with respect to Knowledge Competencies relate directly to the context of working within the elementary school. 62 Table 11. Means and Standard Deviations - Current Importance of Knowledge Competencies Competency n Mean SD Identify - children who have been abused 215 1.27 0.52 Identify - depressed/suicidal children 212 1.28 0.50 Consultation theories and techniques 206 1.44 0.63 Identify - children who need counselling 211 1.44 0.65 Ethical/legal issues related to counselling 209 1.57 0.63 Family counselling theories and techniques 210 1.57 0.68 Group counselling theories and techniques 209 1.68 0.71 Human development theories and concepts 211 1.70 0.66 Individual counselling theories 212 1.77 0.64 Effect of culture on development/behaviour 208 1.80 0.65 Learning theories and motivational theories 210 1.87 0.73 Abnormal psychology 210 2.10 0.76 Program development models 199 2.20 0.74 Evaluation theories and processes 202 2.26 0.74 Identification of children who are gifted 210 2.31 0.85 Career decision-making theories/techniques 207 2.95 0.84 Mean range = 1-4 where 1 denotes "very important", 2 denotes "important", 3 denotes "not very important", and 4 denotes "not important at all". 63 Table 12 has Individual Counselling rated as most important, which was also rated most effective (Table 9). Consultation was rated second highest which appears to have been a higher placement than on Table 9. Consultation is a more ambiguous label than the other categories, and is taken to mean the ability to consult with parents, teachers, and other members of the school community. In general, the skill competency list tended to be rated important or very important. The exceptions were School Curriculum Planning, and Career Counselling, which were rated much less important than other items on this list. 64 Table 12. Means and Standard Deviations - Current Importance of Skill Competencies Competency n Mean SD Individual counselling 214 1.22 0.46 Consultation 209 1.34 0.54 Diagnosing student needs 204 1.41 0.58 Building Supportive Climates 208 1.42 0.61 Identifying Community Referrals 211 1.48 0.65 Identifying Resources for Helping Clients 212 1.50 0.60 Understanding the Role 206 1.50 0.65 Ethical Decision Making 209 1.55 0.62 Group Counselling 211 1.58 0.67 Explaining the Scope and Practice 210 1.67 0.67 Planning and Conducting In-Service 210 1.67 0.71 Play Therapy 207 1.76 0.76 Art Therapy 206 1.79 0.77 Cross-cultural Counselling 209 1.80 0.70 Cognitive Therapy 212 1.89 0.68 Behaviour Modification 211 1.94 0.77 Evaluating the Effectiveness of Counselling 211 2.01 0.71 Decreasing Race and Gender Bias 206 2.10 0.87 School Curriculum Planning 203 2.76 0.85 Career Counselling 208 2.94 0.85 Mean range = 1-4 where 1 denotes "very important", 2 denotes "important", 3 denotes "not very important", and 4 denotes "not important at all". 65 In Table 13 it is clear that elementary counsellors consider the list of interventions and techniques to be important in their role. Consulting with teachers was at the top of the list, along with crisis counselling and some of the prevention programs (CARE, Second Step). Career education and the two "testing" items were ranked least important. 66 Table 13. Means and Standard Deviations - Current Importance of Interventions and Techniques Competency n Mean SD Consulting With Teachers 212 1.27 0.51 Crisis Counselling 211 1.35 0.52 Abuse Prevention Programs (CARE, etc.) 210 1.52 0.58 Personal Safety Programs (Second Step) 209 1.54 0.65 Discipline Problems 207 1.59 0.64 Classroom Management Techniques 208 1.61 0.70 Family Counselling 207 1.66 0.75 Parenting Programs 207 1.67 0.74 In-Service With Teachers 204 1.76 0.75 Inter-Cultural Counselling 206 1.86 0.79 Affective Education (DUSO, TAD, etc.) 197 1.93 0.81 Testing (Personality) 206 2.46 0.84 Testing (Achievement & Ability) 205 2.52 0.91 Career Education 207 2.88 0.84 Mean range = 1-4 where 1 denotes "very important", 2 denotes "important", 3 denotes "not very important", and 4 denotes "not important at all". In reviewing these tables it is apparent that elementary school counsellors perceive important priorities to be somewhat different from what is effectively emphasized in the counsellor education program. As noted above, the most effective competencies delivered by the counsellor education programs were 67 individual counselling theories, human development theories and concepts, group counselling theories and techniques (Table 8), and individual counselling (Table 9). All of these competencies had mean scores below 2.08, indicating they were considered by respondents to be the most effective components of their counsellor preparation programs. With respect to importance in this work as elementary school counsellors, the priorities changed. Rated most important were identification of children who have been abused, identification of depressed/suicidal children, consultation theories and techniques, identification of children who need counselling (Table 11), individual counselling, consultation, diagnosing student need, building supportive climates (Table 12), consulting with teachers, and crisis counselling (Table 13). All of these competencies had mean scores below 1.45, indicating they were considered by respondents to be the most important competencies to their job. It is notable that one competency (individual counselling) was rated highest on both the program effectiveness and current importance lists. For further exploration of the significance of these findings, the following specific questions about respondents' programs were posed. Research question 5. What counsellor competencies do elementary counsellors perceive as strengths and weaknesses of their counsellor education programs? When asked to rate, "How satisfied were you with your counsellor education program", 71.7% of respondents indicated they were satisfied or very satisfied. Twelve point eight percent indicated that they were dissatisfied or very dissatisfied. Table 14 is a summary of the satisfaction index with age, gender, and university program of respondents broken out. There was a significant main effect for age, F(2,209)=3.48 p=.03, but Tukeys post hoc test revealed no two 68 groups significantly differed from one another. A one-way ANOVA revealed a non-significant effect for the year the degree was obtained and the university program. An independent samples t-test indicated that males and females did not significantly differ in their satisfaction with their counsellor education program. 69 Table 14. Means and Standard Deviations - Satisfaction with Counsellor Education Program by Age, Year of Degree, Gender, and University Program Characteristic n Mean SD Age 25-39 29 2.38 1.15 40-49 118 2.24 .97 50 or older 65 1.89 .94 Year Counselling Degree Obtained 1980 and before 37 1.86 .71 1981 to 1990 89 2.27 1.07 1991 to 1995 47 2.06 1.07 Gender Female 127 2.20 .98 Male 86 2.07 1.03 University Program University of British Columbia 89 2.18 1.01 Other Specified University 97 2.10 .99 Unspecified 31 2.23 .96 Mean range = 1-5 where 1 denotes "very satisfied", 2 denotes "satisfied", 3 denotes "neutral", 4 denotes "dissatisfied", and 5 denotes "very dissatisfied". When asked about the number of courses, 68.9% indicated that there were about the right number of courses. Twenty one point five percent indicated there were two few courses, and 5.5% indicated there were too many courses. This is an unsurprising finding given the results on the satisfaction index. When asked 70 about the balance between required and elective courses, 52.1% of respondents indicated there was about the right balance, 8.7% indicated there should be more required courses, and 26.9% indicated there should be more elective courses. Courses that respondents believed would improve the program as well as courses that respondents rated as "most beneficial" are identified below in research questions 7 and 8. When asked about the balance between theory and practical courses, 57.5% of respondents indicated that there was about the right balance between theory and practical courses; 2.7% indicated there should be more theory, and 31.5% indicated that there should be more practical courses. As mentioned before, there is a possible bias built into this question as the word "practical" may have been interpreted as part of the field experience, or it may have been understood by respondents to mean "useful". Nonetheless, those who indicated a preference for a change indicated the need for more "practical" courses. Respondents were also given the following eight statements and asked to indicate the extent to which they would agree with the statement as a representation of their counsellor education program. The means and standard deviations for each statement are broken down into cohort groups and included in Table 15. It is interesting to note that respondents obtaining their degree prior to 1980 were once again more favorable on all of these statements. Utilizing a one-way ANOVA to compare three groups of respondents based upon the date they received their degree (pre 1980,1980-1990,1990-1995), the following four statements show a significant difference (p < .05) between the cohort groups: (1) Instructors were knowledgeable about the school system, (2) Program was up to date on contemporary issues facing the school counsellor, (3) Program provided me with a solid knowledge base, and (4) Program provided me with appropriate 71 skills to begin working in the school system. In all of these, the pre-1980 group was more favorable towards their program than either one or both of the cohorts comprised of those receiving degrees after that point. 72 Table 15. Means and Standard Deviations - Agreement with Statements Concerning Counsellor Education Program Across Three Cohort Groups. Statement pre 1980 '80-'90 '91-'95 n = 35 n = 87 n=47 Skills were modelled by instructors. 1.76(.76) 1.82(.77) 1.87(.69) Instructors were knowledgeable about the 2.06(.87)a 2.61(.81)b 2.64(.76)b school system. Program was ineffective and failed to provide 3.14(.69) 2.98(.77) 3.00(.91) adequate preparation for the job. Program was up to date on contemporary 1.97(.72)a 2.43(.78)b 2.40(.90)b issues facing the school counsellor. Program provided me with a solid knowledge 1.85(.74)a 2.14(.75) 2.28(.83) b base from which to begin working in the school system. Program provided me with appropriate skills 1.76(.61)a 2.13(.68)b 2.05(.71) to begin working in the school system. I would recommend the program to interested 1.79(.69) 2.00(.70) 1.96(.77) colleagues. Program offered sufficient time for clinical 2.08(.89) 2.24(.88) 2.34(.98) supervision. Mean range = 1-4 where 1 denotes "strongly agree", 2 denotes "agree". 3 denotes "disagree" and 4 denotes "strongly disagree". Standard deviations are in brackets. Means with different superscripts were significantly different (p<.05). 73 It is interesting that half of the respondents (50.2%) expressed agreement with the statement that Instructors were knowledgeable about the school system. Slightly more than half (59.1%) indicated agreement that their program was up to date on contemporary issues facing the school counsellor and that their program offered sufficient time for clinical supervision (58.6%). It is difficult to determine a satisfactory figure to indicate a level of agreement within these areas. Suffice to say that there is a number of elementary counsellors in the sample group on both sides of these important counsellor education questions. Research question 6. What do elementary counsellors perceive as the greatest barriers to their effectiveness? It is interesting to note in Table 16 that the top three of the perceived barriers are high needs of students and lack of time to address these needs. Relationship with the school community, role definition, and administrative responsibilities appear to be much less of a concern. It is puzzling and somewhat contradictory that respondents would identify lack of freedom and flexibility as posing a relatively small barrier, and too large a caseload as the most significant barrier. One can speculate that counsellors with freedom/flexibility and support from the community would be in a position to set up a reasonable caseload, thus eliminating this as a significant barrier. This relationship is not evident in Table 16. 74 Table 16. Barriers to Counsellor Effectiveness Barrier % Indicating "Large or Moderate" Too large a case load 89.9 High needs of students 84.3 Demands on time 77.3 Inadequate office space 53.7 Physical isolation from other counsellors 45.6 Unreasonable expectations from teachers 32.1 Administrative demands 26.7 Lack of support for the role of counsellors 26.7 Poor role definition 24.8 Deficiencies in training 23.8 Lack of in-service opportunity 23.0 Lack of support from parents/community 19.6 Too many administrative responsibilities 18.0 Travel demands 16.5 Lack of freedom and flexibility 11.5 Findings from this area are consistent with those of Samis (1991), who posed a similar question to B.C. Elementary School Counsellors who indicated "Work load" to be the greatest barrier to parent education, parent consultation, parent counselling, family consultation, family counselling, and family therapy. Farquar (1995) determined that "Too large a counsellor/student ratio" was the largest barrier to treating, identifying, and assessing depressed students. 75 To further explore other perceptions of elementary counsellors, the following open-ended, exploratory data were collected. Research question 7. What do elementary counsellors perceive as : (1) the most beneficial elements of their graduate training programs and (2) the least beneficial elements of their graduate training programs? Anecdotal open-ended data for most and least beneficial elements were collected and transcribed. One hundred ninety seven respondents (90.0%) responded to question #20 (most beneficial), and 180 respondents (82.2%) responded to question #21 (least beneficial). This information was organized into categorical areas, and summarized below. Some respondents wrote lengthy answers and have been counted in several categories. The following is a summary of the responses to question #20, on the Elementary Counsellor Survey, "What do you consider the most beneficial elements of your counsellor training program for your job as an elementary school counsellor?" Categories derived from responses to this item were: (1) specific courses, (2) practicum, (3) theoretical work, (4) mentorship/networking, (5) personal development, and (6) role of the school counsellor. Each category is described below: 1. Specific courses (n=107). Some specific courses were singled out and identified by respondents as most beneficial to their current job. These included a course on counselling theory, family therapy, communication/interviewing skills training, group counselling, theories of classroom discipline, elementary school 76 counselling, and a course on a specific counselling skill (e.g., consultation, play therapy, art therapy, projective assessment, standardized assessment). Table 17 is a summary of each course and the number of times it was indicated. In cases where respondents indicated more than one course, each course they indicated was counted in the tally. 77 Table 17. Courses Indicated Most Beneficial Course Title Times Indicated Counselling Theories 36 Family Therapy 28 Communication and/or Interviewing 27 Group Counselling 19 Standardized Assessment 9 Play Therapy 9 Art Therapy 8 Consultation 8 Developmental Psychology 7 Elementary Counselling 7 Behaviour 6 Theories of Classroom Management 5 Personality 5 Ethics 5 Projective Assessment 4 Peer Counselling 4 Parenting 3 Career 2 Abnormal Psychology 1 Some examples of respondents' comments follow: "My Egan model training gave me a base on which I could build and move in different directions once I felt 78 comfortable in the counsellor/client relationship." "Clinical supervision in play therapy. Course on projective techniques." "Theories of Classroom Discipline should be a mandatory course." "Clinical supervision and family counselling courses where situations from our work were role-played with opportunity for a variety of counselling styles to be tried." 2. Practicum. (n=63). While the previous category was the largest, respondents selected courses that represented differing opinions. The current category "Practicum" is the largest specific category identified. All respondents who mentioned practicum experiences noted these experiences as positive and important to their development as a school counsellor. Some examples of respondent's comments follow: "The practical training - lots of taped counselling sessions with real people with real problems." "The two practica I had working at schools. Both of my supervisors were very acquainted with school system and made a point of staying involved and knowledgeable - the lack of clinical supervision time however decreased the effectiveness of the program." "Learning the various counselling theories and "trying them out" on the job. Although we didn't practice them in the Counselling Theories course, the information learned was - and still is - invaluable in providing a variety of ideas from which you could ascertain which "fit" best for you." 3. Theoretical work (n=50). It is interesting that "Theoretical work" forms a category in both the most and the least beneficial experiences. The following are some comments from respondents who indicated that theory was a 79 positive element of their educational experience. "Theoretical work was sound and gave me a basis for the evolution of my own theory." "I believe studying the various theories was beneficial." "My training gave me some basic theory and skills that I have adapted to my current situations - primarily the ability to listen, to help children be responsible for their decisions." These items are distinct from respondents indicating a course in theories, though there is clearly some overlap. It is important to note that although theories were identified in both the most and least beneficial categories, the former (most beneficial) was indicated five times as often (most beneficial n=50, least beneficial n=10). Many respondents appear to value their exposure to counselling theory. 4. Mentorship/networking (n=15) Named and unnamed mentors were indicated as most beneficial components of counsellor education. For example: "Good overview/exposure to elements of counselling. Some good role models/mentors." "The opportunity to network with other graduates of the program and to stay in touch with instructors from the program." "My connection with [named professor] who was able to model and teach his skills and beliefs about how children heal themselves. In short - a mentor." It is interesting to contrast the identification of a mentor as "most beneficial" with the 50.2% agreement to the statement "Instructors were knowledgeable about the school system. Apparently, when skilled and knowledgeable mentors are available to students, they are highly valued. 80 5. Personal development (n=12). The opportunity to develop personally while in the counsellor education program was another category that was seen as most beneficial by some, and least beneficial by others. The following is typical of a most beneficial comment: "Being required to do much self-exploration and work out my personal strengths and philosophy of counselling really helped me move ahead and focus on honing my skills." 6. Role of the school counsellor (n=4). Four respondents noted the importance of experience and coursework pertaining specifically to the role of the school counsellor. For example: "Relevance to school-counselling as opposed to community service or professional counselling." Despite the fact that this category appears to have relatively low incidence, the issue of relevance appears to be represented in all of the most beneficial categories. There is a diversity of opinion among the elementary counsellors in this sample as to what constituted the most beneficial elements of their program. It is significant and interesting that of those respondents who mentioned a course, the course title most frequently mentioned was "Counselling Theories." For the most part, other courses mentioned in Table 17 were more connected to practical application. Examples would include Family Therapy, Communication, and Group Counselling. This finding demonstrates the importance some counsellors place on relating their practice to a theoretical basis. Beyond specific courses, respondents indicated practicum, theoretical work, and mentorship/networking next as the most beneficial elements of their counsellor training program. All of 81 these speak to the need for ongoing dialogue between training experiences and the field. Those respondents indicating theoretical work as a most beneficial element put this in the context of applied theory. For example, the respondent who indicated, "gave me some basic theory and skills that I have adapted to my current situation" seems to have restated the adage that there is nothing so practical as a good theory. The category "Role of the School Counsellor" would also tend to support this view. "Personal Development" is different from those categories mentioned above in that it refers to a component of the counselling program that is unique to this field. Experiential leaning can be utilized in a variety of contexts to foster learning. In counselling, growth and development of self (as counsellor) are uniquely suited to understanding growth and development of other (client). The following is a summary of the responses to question #21, on the Elementary Counsellor Survey, "What do you consider the least beneficial elements of your counsellor training program for your job as an elementary school counsellor?" Categories derived from responses to this item were: (1) Lack of relevance to the elementary school counselling setting, (2) administrative difficulties pertaining to graduate program delivery, (3) career counselling emphasis, (4) focus on adults, (5) focus on theory, (6) personal development, and (7) other. Each category is described below: 1. Lack of reality or relevance to the elementary school setting (n=40). Some respondents seemed to indicate that there was a lack of touch or connection between the University program and the field. For example: "Not enough 82 information about the realities of the job - expected to be more of a counsellor rather than a consultant, liaison worker and community referral agent." "My counselling program did not allow me the opportunity to work enough with school counsellors. My practicum was at the secondary level. I am counselling students from K-12. However, my teaching experience is in elementary." "I completed an M.Ed, in school counselling, classes were irrelevant to school counselling and profs had never had experience in public school systems including prof, for school counselling course." "Extra courses could have been offered, more specific to the Elementary School situation." "Preparation for dealing with the realities of the school environment: consulting with teachers, administrators, etc." "We never talked about schools. I was under the impression my training was general leading to private practice, community, or school." 2. Administrative difficulties pertaining to graduate program delivery (n=32). This category is comprised of the administrative difficulties some respondents expressed with respect to their counsellor education. For example: "The lack of courses available through Distance Education and the 'red tape' involved attempting to set up a Masters in Counselling Program in our District." "The inflexible nature of the counsellor education program." In general, these respondents would have valued a more flexible and accommodating counsellor education program. 3. Career counselling emphasis (n=23). Some elementary counsellors identified career counselling as "least beneficial" both in their graduate education 83 and subsequent role as a professional counsellor. For example: "The Career Component is virtually useless for everyday career development in the elementary schools." "As an elementary counsellor the extensive work in 'careers' was not the best use of my time; however for career choice for me it was important." "Career course was a waste of time for elementary counselling." "The Occupations and Careers Component was interesting but somewhat irrelevant to an elementary school program." This negative response to "career counselling" is consistent with other findings presented earlier in this study. In Table 12, for example, respondents rated career counselling as lowest among the skill competencies. 4. Focus on adults (n=20). Experiences and courses relating specifically to children, once again, appear to be important to respondents. "The most significant issue for me was there were no courses available in counselling skills and working with young children - NONE. No art/play therapy, no practicing counselling skills and how the process is different when working with children." "I did not receive any training. I read a lot of material, questioned other counsellors, and took courses in counselling on my own. In all the material I read - very little was written about depression in children. In the few courses I took, not much time was focused on this topic and when it did arise it zeroed in on adults." "I never learned anything about children. My training focused on adults -anything I know about actually working with kids comes from my teacher training or personal experience." 84 5. Focus on theory (n=10). The following respondents indicated that there was either too much theory, or the theory presented is not useful to them in their current job. Those who identified "focus on theory" as least beneficial appear to regard theoretical experiences as of limited value, and little day-to-day relevance. For example: "Too much time and attention to historical background of conventional therapies and their different models and theories." "It was far too general. I did no parenting programs, affective education, classroom management techniques, personal safety, in-service training, and very little ethical decision-making, play or art therapy. I feel my theoretical knowledge by far outweighs my skills. At times I have felt very inadequate." "The Rogerian style of counselling is necessary but does not give enough skills to deal with the heavy case loads and limited time available." "Too much theory repeated over and over and over. Need more practical application skills and discussion of cases." 6. Personal development (n=7). Respondents identifying "personal development" as least beneficial appear to regard self-exploration as a component in counsellor education which detracts from the level of personal safety for students. "I feel very strongly that we were under-supervised for clinic and practicum, and that this part of the program should be redesigned. Also feel that in teaching various techniques, some professors underestimated the extent to which students' personal issues were likely to be triggered." "Many people I talked to felt bruised by the "exercises" in some courses and under supported in their 85 personal work. Sometimes there just wasn't time allowed to process what came up. Poor modelling." "Participation as an adult member of a "sensitivity" group." 7. Other (n=17). The following general comments do not fit in any of the other categories, but represented a distinct point of view. Some examples follow: "Hours of transcript preparation." "Didn't get/take opportunity to concentrate on a particular approach/theory and become skilled at diagnosing and assisting more rapid progress (e.g. Rogerian too slow)." "Lack of cross-cultural counselling." "More on personal safety programs - counselling sexually abused children, counselling ADD/HD and FAS/FAE, depressed students and program development." "Testing course and statistics." "Research courses." "Probably the least beneficial element in my program was a required course in non-standardized testing." The least beneficial elements of the counsellor training program, taken together, represent the antithesis of the most beneficial elements. Where question #20 was characterized by theory relating to practice, networking, personal development, and specific skills; question #21 was characterized by lack of contextual relevance, administrative (non counselling) duties, irrelevant theory, and irrelevant focus (on adults and career counselling). Respondents seemed to be indicating that the least valued elements of their counsellor training were those elements that were least helpful in preparing them to do their job. Even the respondents who indicated "Personal Development" as least beneficial decribed 86 "poor modeling" or "member of an adult sensitivity group" which arguably could be characterized as irrelevant to the elementary counsellor role. The following is a summary of the responses to question #22, on the Elementary Counsellor Survey, "What content areas would you suggest be included in the graduate university training program to make the program more effective?" One hundred eighty eight counsellors responded to this question, representing 85.8% of the total. Categories derived from responses to this item were: (1) Theories and/or specific approaches, (2) Specific issues affecting children, (3) Issues pertaining specifically to school, (4) General counselling skills and approaches, (5) Personal growth. Each category is described below: 1. Theory and/or specific approaches (n=89). Respondents in this category appear to align with those indicating the importance of theory on earlier items. The term "specific approaches" refers to either a particular therapeutic approach to counselling (e.g., Brief Therapy, Family Therapy) or skills in the identification of specific difficulties (e.g., Biological Basis of Behaviour). For example: "Much stronger background in educational psychology, learning theories, handling legal and ethical issues, play and art therapy, family dynamics, multicultural counselling." "More solution oriented brief therapy" "Child development course is essential, necessary foundation to understanding human behaviour." "Family counselling! Most of my colleagues seem genuinely intimidated by the existence of the family." "Need to develop skills in potent short term counselling techniques (e.g. Reality Therapy - Brief Therapy). A 87 greater variety of counselling tools in addition to play therapy and Rogerian empathic listening. Classroom management and behavioral management strategies - ways of presenting and consulting with teachers. Identification of clinical conditions and how to manage them." "Definitely a much greater emphasis on clinical supervision time, with a smaller number of students assigned to a supervisor. Also content including family dynamics, group dynamics, specific intervention techniques and some knowledge of biological factors which can affect student functioning (ADHD)" "There could be more attention to the programs available for use (e.g. Care, Second Step, DUSO...)." 2. Specific issues affecting children (n=53). Respondents in this category have identified specific problems facing children and linked these to counsellor education. For example: "Family counselling issues, resources for and identification of addiction issues, multicultural issues, program planning or workshop development skills for teachers, critical incident debriefings, domestic violence issues, death issues." "More specific areas could be offered - FAS/FAE, ADHD, depression, anxiety, phobias, etc. - in a course to familiarize counsellor with these conditions." "Most counsellors certainly at the elementary level, deal with L.D., ADHD and behaviourally disordered kids on a regular basis." "Some training re: identification of learning disabilities (ADD, etc). Not a lot, but enough to help in differentiating between learning vs. behaviourally based concerns." "More on childhood disorders and how to work with kids who have these disorders." "More theory surrounding sexual abuse and treatments." "Prevention 88 education such as conflict resolution and anger management is crucial." "Understanding mental illness in children (taught by a child psychiatrist!)" "Cross-cultural counselling, sexual abuse counselling and prevention, suicide counselling and prevention, teacher consultation, parenting programs, computer applications in counselling." "Drugs, suicide, depression, parenting, violence, social skills — specific issues that pertain to today's children. Also differentiate between high school and elementary counsellor training as we do with education training. The issues are often quite different." "More on personal safety programs - counselling sexually abused children, counselling ADD/HD and FAS/FAE, depressed students and program development." 3. Issues pertaining specifically to school (n=36). Further to the theme identified in question #21 (above), these respondents indicated the importance of counsellor education specific to the context of school. For example: "Understanding the job as helping the school and students function well - not long term therapy." "Explaining the role and responsibilities of a teacher-counsellor so people realize it is more than counselling ~ it is consulting, coordinating, and teaching." "More emphasis on how to structure the day - how to work effectively on a very short time-line." "Develop, implement and evaluate an in-service training program for teachers and parents and a peer mediation program. Facilitate effective role-playing situation as practice for skill development in the areas of social, emotional and personal issues." "Role play real cases provided by counsellors working in the system now, not by therapists who have not been in a 89 public classroom for years." "Mentors in the school system for duration of study to experience the "real" world." "More emphasis on supporting teachers and parents." "More programs dealing with how to work with staffs." "Invite counsellors from the school system to present classes on the 'reality' of the school system and the skills necessary." 4. General counselling skills and approaches (n= 12). What differentiates these respondents from those represented in theme #2 (above) appears to be a higher tolerance for ambiguity. These respondents appear to value a generic base or general approach to counselling, as opposed to instruction in specifics. For example: "Please do not waste valuable time on skills easily learned such as DUSO, Second Step, etc.. Instead, clinically supervise practice is where the time should be spent." "More internship time with good supervisors." "The program must contain a work experience component, an emphasis on clinical skills (assessment and treatment) and a good grounding in theory as it applies to families, groups, and individual childhood issues. A generic approach is necessary as the elementary counsellor is confronted with a wide range of problems." "More information regarding assessment of individuals and their needs. More clinical training to assess and intervene with clients." "Looking at comprehensive health programs where spiritual, physical, and psychological health of children are looked at instead of'fix it' models." "More observation of real counselling sessions." 90 5. Personal growth (n=5). Once again the issue of personal self-care and counsellor development is present in this category. For example: "Counselling is more than an academic, knowledge-based skill. It is very 'holistic' kind of thing. Do counsellors get enough emphasis in their training on the importance of self-care, balance and growth? Many of us are sensitive, hurt, and healing individuals -that is why we became interested in psychology - we need more personal healing before we are put out there to supposedly try to heal others - 'physician heal thyself.'" For the most part the responses to question #23 were similar to those on the two previous questions. Once again, respondents indicated a preference for ideas that they could use in the context of the elementary school. Tolerance for ambiguity seemed to differentiate some respondents from others. Some practitioners called for more specific training focus on, for example, special populations of children, whereas other respondents called for more general skills training along with personal development. It would be interesting to explore further the issue of tolerance for ambiguity with respondents. It is possible that respondents with lower tolerance for ambiguity would experience greater frustration with the current role description for elementary counsellors in British Columbia. The following is a summary of the responses to question #23, on the Elementary Counsellor Survey, "What practical areas would you suggest be included in the graduate university training program to make the program 91 more effective?" Categories derived from responses to this item were: (1) Specific issues, (2) School-related issues, (3) Delivery of graduate program, (4) Personal growth, (5) Legal issues. It is unclear whether respondents understood the word "practical" to refer to practicum experiences, or to mean "useful". One hundred sixty nine respondents (77%) responded to question #23 and to a large extent came to similar conclusions as those found in the previous questions. Each category is described below: 1. Specific issues. (n=61). Items in this category regard the needs of the child to be an important force in establishing curriculum for the counsellor training program. Issues and interventions in all cases begin with the child. For example: "How to do crisis counselling, separation and divorce issues are so prevalent and represents a high percentage of my caseload. Children in school who are dying - impact on school, class, and child." "Current issues need to be emphasized (i.e. cross cultural issues, lack of moral responsibility, group/community identity). More emphasis on interventions surrounding these issues and others such as empathy training, self-esteem, belief in power of individuals, social inadequacies." 2. School-related issues (n=47). As in category #3 above, these respondents identified the school context to be their primary consideration. For example: "It is essential that those who enter counselling programs have the opportunity to observe counselling at the elementary and secondary levels. The theory can be read in books. The practical is invaluable." "Visits from real school 92 counsellors on specific issues or incidents." "Looking at the actual day to day demand of a counsellor and assessing what a counsellor can realistically do." "Some consideration as to how to manage the realities of the job — e.g., inadequate facilities, how to incorporate a preventive element in one's counselling program in the face of crisis intervention bombardment." "Job shadowing to have more of an idea of what elementary school counselling involves." "Counsellor training should include special program training for at least three of the currently popular programs favoured by the schools (such as Lion's Quest; C.A.R.E., and Second Step)." "Practical situations counsellor will face on a regular basis (i.e. a lot of counselling support given to ALL school personnel from principal to custodian and classroom assistants.) The need to work with parents - both as a family and the giving of parenting skills through the school. Prepare them for working alone - isolation factor. Prepare them to develop a group of colleagues for support - critical in role of area counsellor." "During fieldwork experience, make a requirement for those interested in school counselling to have opportunities to see and try the various parts of the role (i.e. teacher in-service, classroom teaching, referring to outside agencies, attending Resource Team meeting for consulting). 3. Delivery of graduate program (n=35). As in category #2 of Question #21 (above), these respondents offered administrative advice to counsellor education programs, particularly with respect to standards, and field experience. For example: "Offering the course through Distance Education so that people 93 working in smaller communities can obtain the skills/knowledge they require without have to sacrifice time with family and/or having to take a leave of absence from their district." "What about "after"? I remember only one lecturer speaking about training as ongoing and life long. Can the university play any part in keeping people in the field informed about current practices and the latest research. There are also many useful programs happening in the schools that have potential for enhancing current training." "It upsets me to see people come out with degrees with 5 courses and a research project. I trained longer and harder for a B.Ed, than I had to for an M.A." "I would very much like to see an attempt to keep in touch with counselling psychology alumni. I get some support in terms of professional development but I would also welcome a more active role by the department to 'nurture' and support all of us "old-timers'." "Less bias. As a female, I was not afforded a "mentor" as I noted the male students taking advantage of. I expected that the counselling department would be more supportive." "I am dismayed to see counsellors being turned out with 1-year degrees sometimes done in 3 summers and really question how well prepared they are. More extensive training would be my number one recommendation." "More direct supervision and feedback re: counselling skills, interventions and long term planning with clients." "More formally arranged practica with more adequate supervision by university. Students should not have to find their own placements and depend on what supervision offered by counsellor in the field who may have little or no contact with university." 94 4. Personal growth (n=5). Once again, the issue of personal development was represented. For example: "Counsellors should do more personal work in a group with a qualified leader." "Students need to be more self-aware and realize what role their personal wellness has when working with clients." "It is crucial that a counsellor have a clear view of his/her personal philosophy and how that philosophy (view of life) impacts on the counselling practicum." "Family-of-origin work for each counsellor in training. This is crucial to unbiased counselling." 5. Legal issues (n=2). While legal issues was indicated by only two respondents, it represented something included in no other categories. "I think I would like to see more emphasis on school organization as well as ethical and legal aspects of elementary school counselling" "Mandatory work in ethics, keeping professional notes, testifying in court." In general, responses to question #24 were, to a large extent, a restatement of those that came before. There were some specific calls to remain connected to the University training program and other graduate alumni, which re-emphasizes the importance of networking. Legal issues was mentioned by two respondents as a new consideration which may be a more pressing concern than in the past. It is the writer's experience that many counsellors in the elementary school have experience with testifying in court, yet this is not something that is normally included in counsellor preparation, role description, or training. 95 One hundred-five elementary counsellors (47.9%) responded to question #24: "Is there anything that we have not asked about that you think we should know?" This information was organized into categories and is summarized below. With the exception of the category "Other" and to some extent "The importance of continuing education," all of the following information is redundant to the categories listed above. They are (1) Issues specific to working in schools, (2) Personal growth and avoidance of burn-out, (3) Importance of continuing education, (4) Theory and basic counselling skills, and (5) Other. In general, responses to Question #24 were more explicit and emphatic than the responses generated from other questions. The wording of the question probably contributed to this. Consequently, the following categorical breakdown is useful with respect to emphasis and for the clear examples that are provided. With the exception of the final category, these examples are provided without comment. 1. Issues specific to working in schools (n=29). Examples: "One of the helpful things I have learned is how to define my role/write a contract/clarify with teachers what I can/cannot do with kids. It would be helpful for students to role-play scenarios in which they sharpen these consulting skills." "Perhaps a pre-requisite of classroom teaching experience would help those who know little of working with children on a daily basis in homogenous groups." "There is a huge gap between the field and the university. There needs to be more connection. Professors need to work more in the field ~ actually be "out there" and people in the field need more information about theories and research. There should be 96 more participant - observation research." "I think [named university] particularly is out of touch with the work elementary school counsellors' do. Little input is generated by [named university] to the BCSCA. Little time is given to consulting with counsellors in the field. Since graduation, no contact has been made re: how my career has evolved. What has "Counselling Psychology" designed for private clinical counselling got to do with working with elementary students and the school system? Is the program heavily weighted toward school counsellors seeing it is under the Faculty of Education? Or is the Counselling Psychology department really training "clinical psychologists" for positions outside of the school system?" "Facilitating skills are a MUST especially since the advent of School-Based Teams, and the ever-increasing number of Inter-ministerial Meetings held to attempt to meet individual student needs. Leadership courses are vital!" "The counsellors I would be most concerned about are those who are not familiar with school cultures. Those who have not taught for any length of time in schools. They would be particularly at risk for not knowing that the role of the school counsellor is more encompassing than just counselling students." "It is essential that University Counselling program instructors be familiar with what goes on in schools and that they realize that issues and techniques relating to young children need to be addressed thoroughly. Some of what elementary counsellors do can only be learned through experience but there is a lot more that could be learned during the process of taking a Counselling Degree." 97 2. Personal growth, avoidance of burnout (n= 17). Examples: "I have seen many counsellors enter schools feeling great and within a few years they start having health problems due to stress. More emphasis on how the counsellor can maintain health is important. Especially elementary school counsellors who wind up trying to help so many children and adults." "Please include experiential courses, which help the student deal with their own issues before they are in the field as counsellors. They need to know and understand their own vulnerability points, strengths, weaknesses, family issues, ethics, and values." "We were asked to do some very in-depth personal soul searching with the promise that we would receive some guidance and personal help from doctoral students. For many of us this 'help' never occurred. We had to comply with the assignments of 'self-discovery' without, often, the support. For some of us it made for some difficult moments ~ the support coming from other students not from the direction or awareness that was promised by staff." "In the elementary schools, the expectations of what the school counsellor should be doing are outrageous, whether the counsellor is there 3 days a week or 1 day a week. More discussion on how to look after ourselves and protect ourselves would have been helpful." 3. Importance of continuing education (n=l 1). For example: "Several years after completing my M.Ed. I found myself a bit lost, first in secondary field, then in current elementary field. No clear diagnostic skills. No convincing theoretical/practical knowledge to impart in consultation. No comfortable/proven model to follow..." "Feel there must be a way of tailoring graduate programs for 98 mature students who having been practicing counsellors for most of professional lives. It seems like a massive hurdle to pick up and start. Hurdles like statistics courses, which would not have any bearing on my practice. Needs to be a flexible plan for practicing counsellors to get further counselling courses, which are critical to their practice. Needs to be some emphasis on transformational leadership role counsellors have particularly when school based counselling." "After completing questionnaire I would say most of my specific topics training has been done through in-service. A counselling program should attend predominantly to foundational therapeutic processes: facilitative skills and "conditions", therapeutic relationship, the personhood of the counsellor" "Other areas of study such as family systems theory and practice, conflict resolution and mediation skills, presenting staff development workshops, chairing a committee etc are practical skills and useful understandings in doing our jobs. On-going training in the above areas has helped me and could perhaps be included as "keeping up to date" training for those who have already graduated." 4. Theory and basic counselling skills (n=8). "My theoretical and practical grounding was so deep and comprehensive that even now when things are not working out the way I wish, I know exactly where I have to refocus my energies." "From my point of view, I am concerned that this survey may suggest lack of training in my program. That may be true in some ways; however, the program stimulated my interest and it encouraged me to see the program as only a 'beginning' step in my journey as a counsellor. It was never intended to be "the be 99 all, end all' - and for that I am thankful both professionally and personally." "Elementary school counsellors should have a solid understanding of learning and human development, assessment, and skilled counselling abilities in a variety of counselling theories and practices." 5. Delivery of service (n=7). "I thought the course was ok until I started counselling and realized how much I didn't know [describes further training]. This very necessary training has been rather expensive and time consuming. As I try and remember the courses, it seems to me that a lot of them were doing an essay and presenting it, or doing a lot of unnecessary repetitive work." "There needs to be accessibility for counselling programs by teachers who are employed. Teachers will take courses that they have questions about. If they witness many kids who are depressed, they'll select a course that addresses it. If these classes are available, perhaps teachers will take them, even if they do not want to become counsellors right now." "Perhaps an alternative to trying to cover everything in the initial training period is to have more courses (summer institutes) available to trained counsellors - after all we usually discover our weakness or gaps once we're out there facing the reality of the situation." "My counselling training seems a long time ago and was alone as a secondary counsellor. Perhaps the greatest advantage to our particular program was that there were 13 students only, all of whom were currently in secondary counselling positions during the 2 years. The combination of learning and immediately trying to put theory into practise was exciting and very meaningful. Requirement of further credit courses which were 100 completed by many in the summer left little impression in comparison." "I am concerned how people can get a Masters degree in counselling without doing an in-depth practicum. Because of distance from universities, individuals may meet another educator for an audio-tape review infrequently. To my way of thinking, a practicum is at the heart of a counsellor education program." 6. Other, (n=4) These respondents, while small in number, have identified what may be a growing diversity of opportunity for counsellor education in this area. There is an increasing number of private "for profit" and American University programs offering counselling courses through Distance Education or on an off-campus cohort model. Some of the strengths and challenges of this model are identified in the following comment: "I would only recommend the [name of B.C. university] program because it is a hurdle that must be jumped. It is an interesting, exciting, and stimulating program, especially spending time with instructors like [named professor], but the program does not in any way address the reality, complexity, and pace of providing counselling services in the Elementary Schools. There is seldom the luxury or pace to provide the kind of therapeutic encounter they weaved during the program. It is simply not reality. If it was not a requirement for counselling in B.C. schools it would have little value. Either focus on therapy or school counselling. Presently, neither is being given enough focus." The call for continuing education in one unique feature included in question #24. As described above, most counsellors in the elementary school are 101 experienced teachers who begin working as a counsellor with a masters degree and several years of teaching experience. There appears to be a need for ongoing professional development to fill the gap between full time commitment as a student (required at the doctoral level), and evening and/or weekend (basic skills training) workshops. When combined with the expressed need to network and maintain contact with university programs, there appears to be an unmet need on the part of elementary counsellors for high quality, challenging, development activities. Results Summary British Columbia elementary counsellors are an experienced and highly trained group within the school system. Their training comprised of, to a large degree, the knowledge competencies, skill competencies, and interventions used to construct the Elementary School Counsellor Survey. The content and experiences in these competency areas indicated the strength of counsellor education programs in the areas of individual counselling and counselling theories. When asked to rate the importance of these competency areas, respondents indicated priorities which included individual counselling along with consulting with teachers, crisis counselling, and identifying depressed, suicidal, or abused children. With respect to barriers to effectiveness, respondents indicated that the greatest barriers they face are large caseloads and high needs of students. The most beneficial elements of their graduate programs included a range of specific courses along with the practicum experience. The least beneficial elements included a lack of relevance to the elementary school setting. Suggested 102 areas to enhance program effectiveness included counselling theories, skills and approaches related to children and the school context. 103 CHAPTER 5 DISCUSSION This final chapter begins with a discussion and interpretation of the research findings, presented in two subsections: demographic and worksetting data, and educational preparation for counselling in the elementary school. The final sections of this chapter address the implications for counsellor education, and implications for further research. Discussion of Results Demographic and work-setting data. The increasing age of elementary counsellors as a group has a possible facilitative and a possible hindering impact on the communication channels between the field and elementary counsellor education programs. It is reasonable to expect that experienced teachers returning for a graduate degree in elementary counselling bring with them a solid working knowledge of the school system. On the other hand, counsellors who are older may with the passage of time become less connected with their university preparation program. It is interesting that the admission preference for "experienced individuals" to graduate programs in counselling (Samis, 1991) has contributed to an age demographic that shapes current counselling practice in the elementary schools. It is unlikely, for example, that a "leader" in the field of elementary counselling would be of an age where pursuit of a doctoral degree, followed by research and teaching in the area of elementary school counselling, 104 would be a realistic or likely career path. Elementary counsellor educators are, therefore, comprised almost exclusively of instructors who have limited first-hand knowledge and/or direct experience of the elementary school counselling role. One respondent characterized it this way: It is essential that University Counselling program instructors be familiar with what goes on in schools and that they realize that issues and techniques relating to young children need to be addressed thoroughly. Some of what elementary counsellors do can only be learned through experience but there is a lot more that could be learned during the process of taking a Counselling Degree. Rural Area Counsellor, 7 years MEd. in School Counselling It is interesting to note that about half of the respondents (42.9%) described their program as "primarily full time". It appears that experienced teachers with this age demographic are often attracted to part-time, summers-only, or distance education programs. This finding has implications for the type of course offerings available and the relevance of available courses to potential applicants. The challenge for counsellor education programs will be to provide supervised practicum experiences in settings conducive to understanding the unique role of the elementary school counsellor. Consultation, crisis management, and participation in school-based teams appear to be of growing importance. It is difficult to imagine how knowledge about these roles and 105 functions can be imparted outside of the context of school. Moreover, elementary counsellors indicating large caseloads as the greatest barrier to effectiveness (89.9%) may have been prepared for a role within the school system that does not appear to exist. Most elementary counsellor respondents (85.4%) indicated they are placed in two or more schools, and most (62.1%) work primarily in urban settings. Approximately half of the respondents (49.8%) indicated they are responsible for 1000 or more elementary students. This is similar to the 51.5% reported by Samis (1991). A small percentage (14.2%) indicated that they are responsible for 499 students or less, and this would presumably include many of the part-time elementary counsellors. Despite the age and school experience of elementary school counsellors, 76.3% of respondents indicate that they have 10 years or less experience in the role. This is understandable given the preparation that they have undertaken described above. In 1991, Samis reported that 74.1% of respondents had fewer than 10 years of work experience in elementary counselling, so this number appears to have remained reasonably constant. Work assignments show the majority (62.1%) are employed full time as elementary counsellors, 24.7% of respondents are employed part time with more than 50% of their time spent as elementary counsellors, and 12.7% indicated part time with less than 50% of their time spent as elementary counsellors. A solid majority of respondents have identified their primary responsibility in the school system as that of an elementary counsellor. A popular perception is that teachers or administrators 106 who are able to develop a rapport with students can serve as part-time elementary counsellors in addition to their regular roles and responsibilities. The findings of this study would support the notion that elementary counselling has become accepted in the B.C. school system as a professional program, distinct from other programs in the system. Educational Preparation for Counselling in the Elementary School. Only 2.7% of respondents indicated that they did not have a B.C. teaching certificate, and 88.2%» had attained a masters degree or better. It is clear that the typical route taken to counselling in B.C. elementary schools begins with a teaching background, and is followed by a graduate program (Masters degree) in counselling. This has changed dramatically in the past two decades. Allan (1977) reported that at that time, "out of all high school specialty areas, counsellors were the poorest trained with 70% having fewer than three courses in counselling. Only 10% were found to have masters degrees and not all of these were in counselling." (pg. 38) Elementary counselling was not specifically discussed in this early article, but the experience and training of those now engaged in the role is clearly very strong. The following discussion is based on an examination of Tables 5 through 7 where respondents indicated which competencies were included in their counsellor educational program. It is noteworthy that over half of the respondents indicated that all of the listed competencies are included in their program of studies. The CACREP Accreditation standards, from which these lists were 107 largely drawn, appears to have identified competencies that are recognizable and relevant to educational experiences of the majority of B.C. elementary school counsellors. This information may be of assistance for the Canadian Guidance and Counselling Association in its stated goal to develop accreditation standards and guidelines for Canadian school counselling programs. One potential avenue for following up on this study would be: (1) to expand the sample to include counsellors from all parts of Canada, (2) to develop a Canadian database describing both available school counsellor education programs, and "best practise" for Canadian elementary school counsellors. Least included among the knowledge competencies offered by educational programs (Table 5) was "identification of children who are gifted" where 34.7% of respondents indicated that it was not part of their program. For the skill competencies (Table 6), "school curriculum planning" was not included in 46.4% of respondents' programs, and "removing and/or decreasing race and gender bias" was not included in 40.2% of respondents' programs. For interventions and techniques (Table 7), 47.9% of respondents indicated that "personal safety programs" were not part of their program, 43.4% indicated that "abuse prevention programs" are not part of program, and 42% indicated that "in-service with teachers" was not part of their counsellor preparation program. It appears from examining this list that competencies most often missing from programs tend towards developmental and preventive counselling approaches. A school counsellor with a developmental theoretical framework would be most interested 108 in personal safety programs, abuse prevention programs, and in-servicing teachers. All of these areas represent "large group" solutions, an approach consistent with developmental/preventive counselling. These areas appear to be least represented in the counsellor education programs. In reviewing the effectiveness of counsellor education for knowledge competencies (Table 8) and the current importance of these competencies (Table 11), one can examine the degree to which the rank order of preparation (Table 8) is correlated with the rank order of current importance (Table 11). The Spearman correlation coefficient for these two tables is .16 (p=.553) indicating a low but positive correlation. In reviewing Table 8 it is notable that the most effective six knowledge competencies all specify a theory (individual counselling, human development, group counselling, family counselling, and career decision-making). The least effective knowledge competencies concern identifying children (gifted, depressed, suicidal), and practical considerations (effect of culture on development/behaviour, program development models). What counsellor education programs appear to do best with respect to knowledge competencies is present theory. This is true also of the open-ended results where theory was seen by many (n=50) as a most beneficial element of their program. Respondents have indicated that their programs are weaker in presenting children's issues within the context of school. Table 11 presents the current importance of these competencies to the job. As one might expect, three of the top four are in the area of identifying children (abused, depressed/suicidal, who need counselling). The 109 other top knowledge competency (consultation theories and techniques) is once again, contextual. It appears that what elementary counsellors identify as the most important knowledge competencies are the contextual areas that provide them with a basis for functioning in the school. In reviewing the effectiveness of counsellor education for skill competencies (Table 9) and the current importance of these competencies (Table 12) there is once again a low positive correlation with a Spearman correlation coefficient of .344 (p=. 138). Respondents indicate that their programs provided effective training in individual counselling, which was regarded as the most important skill competency for elementary counselling. School curriculum planning and decreasing race/gender bias were regarded as least effective, and least important. Career counselling was regarded as least important of all skill competencies, yet was rated in the top third of program effectiveness. Perhaps this would be a competency that is reasonably presented but largely regarded as irrelevant to the role of elementary counsellor. Cognitive therapy was effectively covered in the counsellor education programs, but regarded as less important than Group Counselling, Play Therapy and Art Therapy. Consultation was second only to individual counselling in importance, and was reasonably well-taught in counsellor education programs. In short, elementary counsellors regarded the skill competencies of individual counselling, consultation and diagnosing student needs as the most important skill competency, and they indicated that their programs of studies provided reasonably effective preparation in these areas. 110 School curriculum planning and decreasing race and gender bias were regarded as least important, and least effective with respect to preparation. Taken together, it appears that school counsellor education programs are providing effective preparation in the areas that elementary counsellors regard as most important and relevant to their j obs. Analysis of the rank orders for effectiveness of counsellor education for interventions and techniques (Table 10) and the rankings of current importance of these competencies (Table 13) reveals a Spearman correlation coefficient of -.131 (p=655) indicating a small negative correlation. It is notable that family counselling tops the list for effective preparation and is mid-range for importance. Consulting with teachers tops the list for importance and is mid-range with respect to effectiveness. Both testing items (achievement/ability and personality) are in the top half of preparation, and near the bottom of importance. Elementary counsellors appear to be indicating that this aspect of their training is over-emphasized. Affective education, abuse prevention programs, and personal safety programs, are all in the bottom half of effectiveness, while two of these (abuse prevention and personal safety) are in the top half of importance, second only to consulting with teachers and crisis counselling. Taken together, it appears that school counsellor education programs have different priorities than elementary counsellors with respect to interventions and techniques. When comparing the three "Effectiveness in Preparation" tables (Tables 8 -10), with the three "Current Importance" tables (Tables 11-13), the means are I l l consistently lower in the second group. Respondents indicated "IMPORTANT" or "VERY IMPORTANT" to a larger extent than they indicated "EFFECTIVE" or "VERY EFFECTIVE'. This finding is interesting, because when one examines the list of competencies, it seems to resemble a series of teaching objectives as opposed to items on a job description. Taken together, however, respondents appear to believe that these competencies are more directly relevant to their role than to their experience of counsellor education. In Table 16, respondents provide an unambiguous statement that counsellors regard large case load, high needs of students, and demands on time as the greatest barriers to their effectiveness. This is consistent with findings of Samis (1991) and Allan and Ross (1979). These factors continue to hinder counsellors in the performance of their role. The counsellors who participated in this study demonstrated, at times, some differences in opinion. Some, for example, indicated in their open-ended responses that learning programs such as DUSO and Second Step was a "waste of time," while others indicated that "there should be more attention to the programs available such as Second Step and CARE." Similar discrepancies were noted in the helpfulness of counselling theory, or the need to incorporate personal experiential growth and learning into the counselling program. Some respondents identified these as both the best and the worse elements of their counsellor-training program. It is important, however, to note agreement where it did exist. One clear statement was that on-site practicum experiences are highly valued by 112 elementary school counsellors. Mentorship was valued as an important component of the counsellor education program, along with relevance of educational experiences to the context of the elementary school. Some respondents preferred a focus on children and felt that there may have been an over-emphasis on counselling adults in a program designed to prepare counsellors for the elementary school system. Content in counsellor education programs pertaining specifically to schools was both appreciated and missing from programs. This was also the case for content regarding children, and specific issues affecting children in the school system. Implications for Counsellor Education The aging demographic of elementary counsellors may be cause to examine current procedures for admitting students to graduate programs in counselling. The admission requirements of university programs (work experience, a teaching certificate, excellence in an undergraduate degree, and prerequisite courses beyond that degree) may be restrictive for younger applicants and have long-term implications on the development of elementary counselling. An obvious implication is the major disincentive for qualified students to begin a graduate program in elementary counselling if constituted as a long program with inflexible requirements, the most difficult of these being attendance in a clinic or practicum, offered during the day. Experienced teachers with young families facing this prospect may turn away from counselling in favour of other, more accommodating, graduate programs. One of the elementary school "clinics" in the UBC program has traditionally operated on a group supervision model with students supervised on-site by a counsellor and meeting at the university in the 113 evening to debrief this experience. New counsellor education programs, based in the United States, have recently been introduced in British Columbia, which are set up to allow students to complete a Masters degree while continuing to work full time. With "knowledge of school context" consistently identified in the current study as beneficial to respondents' counsellor education programs, it is difficult to imagine how systematic training in school counselling can be accomplished without a school-based practicum experience. On the other hand, if established programs remain inflexible to the needs of potential students, these established programs may play a diminishing role in the future of elementary school practice. Respondents to this study consistently rated career counselling courses and experiences to be irrelevant to their work - rating career counselling as the least important of the skill competencies (Table 12), and career decision-making theories and techniques as the least important knowledge competency (Table 11). Despite these low importance ratings, careers have been identified as being part of the counsellor education programs by 78.5% of respondents (Table 6). Respondents appear to be indicating the need for counsellor educators to adapt career decision-making theories to the pre-adolescent child within the context of school. Moreover, perhaps practitioners have developed or are developing model career exploration programs for use in the elementary school. If such programs or approaches were made available and presented to students at the graduate level, it is unlikely that the importance ratings would remain low. Post degree and upgrading work in elementary school counselling will be required in the future, as never before. The challenge for elementary counsellor educators in the past was to produce a committed and well-trained core of school 114 counsellors. When one reviews the data in this and other studies, it is clear that the challenge has been met. The new challenge for counsellor educators will be to remain relevant to the school system and connected to counsellors in the field. One way to accomplish this is through continuing educational opportunities designed in a short-term or workshop format for practicing elementary counsellors who have obtained a graduate degree. A second challenge will be for doctoral programs to attract elementary counsellors interested in articulating their field experience and designing field research designed to examine the context of counselling in the elementary school. Finally, it is important to note the relationship of theory to the practice of counselling in the elementary school. Respondents in this study indicated that theory is emphasized in counsellor education programs. This is unsurprising given the nature and curriculum of counsellor education programs. Perhaps more surprising is the number of respondents (n=50) indicating "theory" as the most beneficial component of the counsellor education program, along side the relatively few (n=10) indicating a focus on theory as the least beneficial. Taken together, these findings support the notion that elementary counsellors value their grounding in theory provided by graduate programs, and see this preparation as relevant to their job. Implications for Further Research A major implication of the current study is to recognize the new resource of practising and established elementary school counsellors in the British Columbia school system. When VanHesteren and Zingle (1977), Allan (1977), and others began discussing elementary counselling in Canadian schools, this was largely a theoretical concept. As such, counselling theories and concepts were 115 borrowed from the more established fields of adult counselling, career guidance, and psychotherapeutic or mental health counselling (Van Hesteren, 1971). A description of what constitutes "best practice" for elementary counselling would necessarily be drawn under the loose categorical terms such as those currently provided by the B.C. Ministry of Education (Figure 1). Phrases such as "The counsellor ameliorates factors which may precipitate problems for students" can now be replaced by specific case descriptions produced by elementary counsellors. The current study has identified a willingness and enthusiasm of counsellors in the field to actively participate in the development of rigorous and relevant counsellor education programs. Development of participant-observer, field-based research approaches seems a logical next step for elementary school counselling. One respondent characterized it as follows: There is a huge gap between the field and the university. There needs to be more connection. Professors need to work more in the field - actually to be 'out there' and people in the field need more information about theories and research. There should be more participant-observation research. Even the physical separation between universities and schools could be changed by having research centres in the school system. Urban Counsellor, 8 years M.A. in Counselling Scanlon and Bailie (1994) described a gap for practicing counsellors between the "academy" and the "real world" of practice. Respondents to this study appear to recognize a similar gap, and are prepared to contemplate ways to bridge the gap. 116 Summary and Conclusion The purpose of this study was to examine the perceptions of British Columbia elementary school counsellors, in terms of the following primary research questions: (a) What counsellor competencies were included as part of each elementary counsellor's specialized educational or graduate program, (b) how effective was the educational content and experience in these competency areas, (c) how important is the educational content and experience in these competency areas with respect to their current role as elementary school counsellors, (d) what counsellor competencies are perceived as strengths and weaknesses of elementary counsellor education programs, and (e) what areas should be included in elementary graduate training programs to make them more effective? A list of B.C. elementary school counsellors was developed and 219 elementary school counsellors (67%) completed and returned the questionnaire. Respondents indicated that preparation related to the context of the elementary school was of primary importance to them. Theories were highly emphasized and well taught by counsellor education programs, but were viewed as less important than specific counselling skills and interventions. Implications of this study are discussed with respect to (a) contributing to existing literature in elementary counsellor role description, (b) assisting practicing elementary counsellors by outlining their challenges, recommendations and concerns, and (c) contributing to the development and relevance of elementary counsellor education programs. 117 REFERENCES Allan, J. (1977). The need for trained counsellors in the school system. Canadian Counsellor, IT, 33-39. Allan, J., & Boland, J. (1981). 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Toronto: Holt, Rinehart and Winston. 129 APPENDIX A - First Version of Pilot Questionnaire ELEMENTARY SCHOOL COUNSELLOR SURVEY Description This survey seeks to ascertain the usefulness and effectiveness of graduate education to elementary school counsellors when they work in the B.C. school system. The results of this survey will be made available to all British Columbia graduate training programs in Counselling Psychology. Section A: Background Information DIRECTIONS: Please check the appropriate responses to questions 1 through 9. 1. Gender Female Male 2. What is your age? 45-49 50-54 55-59 60-64 65+ 3. What percentage of time are you currently working as an elementary counsellor? % 4. This school year, how many schools were you assigned to? 5. How many students, in total, attended these schools? 499 or less 500 to 749 750 to 999 1000tol249 1250tol499 1500ormore 6. Have you held a full-time teaching position within the school system? Yes No 7. Have you held a counselling position outside of the school system? Yes No 8. How many years have you been working as an elementary school counsellor? 9. Which region of the province do you work in? East Kootnay West Kootnay Mainline-Cariboo Fraser Valley South Coast Greater Vancouver North Coast Peace River Vancouver Island North 20-24 25-29 30-34 35-39 40-44 Northern Interior Okanagan Vancouver Island South Section B: University Preparation DIRECTIONS: Please check or fill in the appropriate responses to questions 1 through 9. 1. Indicate your current academic qualifications: (all degrees and diplomas held) Bachelor of Arts Bachelor of Science Bachelor of General Studies Bachelor of Physical Education Other Bachelors Degree Teacher Education Program Bachelor of Education Diploma in Guidance Studies Education Diploma Master of Arts Master of Science Master of Education Doctor of Education Doctor of Philosophy Other (specify): 2. What is the year that you obtained your highest level of educational attainment? 3. Which of the following best describes your graduate program of studies? Primarily full time Primarily part time (on campus) _ _ Primarily part time (off campus) Primarily part time (summers only) Other (please describe below): 4. Have you completed a graduate degree (Masters or Doctorate) in Counselling Psychology? Yes (indicate where you received this graduate degree or diploma) University of British Columbia Simon Fraser University University of Victoria Other Canadian University (please list below): Other Non-Canadian University (please list below): Other (please list below): No (indicate the statement(s) that best describe your educational preparation in area of Counselling Psychology): 131 Completed a graduate degree in another area (specify): Incomplete graduate degree in Counselling Psychology (please describe the courses that you have taken and indicate whether or not you plan to finish the degree): Completed a graduate diploma in Counselling or Guidance Studies Other (please describe the training in elementary counselling that you received): 5. Circle the appropriate number (1-4), rating how effectively your educational program prepared you in the skill or area of expertise; then rate how relevant the skill or area of expertise is to you in your role as an elementary school counsellor. 4. VERY EFFECTIVE 3. EFFECTIVE 2. NOT VERY EFFECTIVE 1. NOT AT ALL EFFECTIVE 4 VERY RELEVANT 3. RELEVANT 2. SOMEWHAT RELEVANT 1. NOT AT ALL RELEVANT Knowledge Competencies TRAINING RELEVANCY Human development theories and concept Individual counselling theories Consultation theories and techniques Family counselling theories and techniques Group counselling theories and techniques _____ Career decision-making theories and techniques Learning theories Motivation theories The effect of culture on individual development & behaviour Evaluation theories and processes _ _ _ Ethical and legal issues related to counselling Program development models Identification of depressed and/or suicidal children Identification of "at risk"children Skill Competencies TRAINING RELEVANCY Diagnosing student needs Individual counselling Group counselling Consultation with staff, students, and parents 132 Coordination of programs Educational testing, career development, substance abuse Play therapy Art Therapy Career counselling Educational counselling Identifying and making appropriate referrals Administering and interpreting achievement, interest, and personality tests Cross-cultural counselling Ethical decision making Building supportive climates for students and staff Removing and or decreasing race and gender bias in school policy and curriculum Behaviour modification Explaining to the staff, community, and parents, the scope, practice and functions of a school counsellor Planning and conducting in-service for staff Identifying resources and information related to helping clients Evaluating the effectiveness of counselling programs Personal Characteristics of Effective Counsellors TRAINING RELEVANCY Have a genuine interest in the welfare of others Are able to understand the perspective of others Believe individuals are capable of solving problems Are open to learning Are willing to take risks Have a strong sense of self worth Are not afraid of making mistakes and attempt to learn from them Value continued growth as a person Are caring and warm Possess a keen sense of humour Interventions and Techniques TRAINING RELEVANCY Classroom Management techniques Discipline problems Inter-cultural issues Affective education Personal safety programs Consulting with teachers In-service with teachers Testing Individual counselling Small group counselling Crisis counselling Family counselling 133 Career education Parenting programs 6. Overall, how effective was your counsellor education program at training you for the job of elementary school counsellor? outstanding very good satisfactory less than satisfactory poor 7. Graduate programs include both a theory and practical component. Please check the statement below which best describes your program. It had about the right balance between theory and practice It should have had more theory and less practical application It should have had more practical application and less theory 8. In general, which statement below best describes the length of your graduate program? Too many course requirements Too few course requirements About the right number of course requirements DIRECTIONS: For each of items 9-15 indicate the extent of your agreement with the statement as characteristic of your graduate program in counselling psychology. 1. Strongly Agree 2. Agree 3. Disagree 4. Strongly Disagree 9. There was an opportunity to have skills modelled by instructors. 10. Instructors were knowledgeable about the school system. 11. Program offered sufficient time for clinical supervision 12. Program was ineffective and failed to provide adequate training 13. Program was up to date on contemporary issues facing the school counsellor. 14. Program offered sufficient training in the politics of school counselling. 15. I would recommend this program to interested colleagues. DIRECTIONS: Please rate each of the following items (16-26) in terms of how great a barrier it poses in your day to day work as an elementary school counsellor. 1. Large Barrier 2. Moderate Barrier 3. Small Barrier 4. Not a Barrier 16. school-based administration 17. district administration 18. funding 19. too large a caseload 20. inadequate office space 21. high needs of students 22. poor role definition 134 23. support from parents/community 24. your training 25. teachers 26. students 27. Are there any other barriers that have a negative impact upon your effectiveness? 28. What content areas would you suggest be included in the graduate university training program to make the program more effective? APPENDIX B - Accompanying Cover Letter APPENDIX C - Second Version of the Pilot Questionnaire ELEMENTARY SCHOOL COUNSELLOR SURVEY Description This survey has been designed to ascertain the usefulness and effectiveness of graduate education to Elementary School Counsellors when they work in the British Columbia School System. The results of this research will be made available to all B.C. graduate training programs in Counselling Psychology. Participation in this survey is strictly voluntary. Respondents are able to skip questions they chose not to answer or withdraw from this study at any time. DIRECTIONS: Please check or fill in the appropriate responses. Section A: Background Information 1. Gender: • Female • Male 2. What is your age? • 20-24 • 25-29 • 30-34 • 35-39 • 40-44 • 45-49 • 50-54 • 55-59 • 60-64 • 65+ 3. What percentage of time are you currently working as an Elementary School Counsellor? • Full-time counselling (100%) • Part-time counselling Indicate the percentage of your time that is designated for counselling % Indicate the percentage of your time that is designated for other aspects of your job (example: vice-principal, grade 5 teacher, etc.) % (please list below) 4. How many years have you worked as an elementary school counsellor? 5. This year (1994/95) how many schools, in total, are you assigned to? 6. How many students, in total, attend these schools? • 499 or less • 500 to 749 • 750 to 999 • 1000 to 1249 • 1250 to 1499 • 1500 or more 7. Please indicate your present work location. • East Kootenay • Fraser Valley • North Coast • Northern Interior • West Kootenay • South Coast • Peace River • Okanagan • Mainline-Cariboo • Greater Vancouver • Vancouver Island North • Vancouver Island South The schools are: • primarily rural • primarily urban ELEMENTARY SCHOOL COUNSELLOR SURVEY "How Well Do School Counsellor Education Programs Prepare Elementary School Counsellors for Their Job?" DAVID PATERSON The University of British Columbia 1995 Section B: University Preparation 8. Do you currently hold a B.C. Teaching Certificate? • Yes • No 9. What is the highest level of education that you have achieved? • Doctorate Degree • Masters Degree • Masters Degree (in progress) • Masters Degree (incomplete) • Graduate Diploma • Undergraduate Diploma • Bachelors Degree • Other 10. Have you completed a Masters or Doctorate degree in Counselling? • Yes Name of Degree Year Obtained Name of University (proceed to question #11) • No Please indicate the counselling courses you have taken. C O U N S E L L I N G C O U R S E S T A K E N N A M E O F TRAINING INSTITUTION (use back ofpage if necessary) 11. Which of the following best describes your graduate program of studies? • Primarily full time • Primarily part time • Primarily part time (summers only) • Primarily off campus or through Distance Education • Not on a graduate program 12. Circle the appropriate number (0-4), rating how effectively your educational program prepared you in the skill or area of expertise; then rate (1-4) how important the skill or area of expertise is to you in your role as an elementary school counsellor. Knowledge Competencies Human development theories and concept Individual counselling theories Consultation theories and techniques ^ <^  ,jP * ° 0 1 2 3 4 0 1 2 3 4 0 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 Family counselling theories and techniques 0 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 Group counselling theories and techniques 0 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 Career decision-making theories and techniques 0 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 Learning theories and Motivational theories 0 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 Abnormal Psychology 0 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 The effect of culture on development and behaviour 0 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 Evaluation theories and processes 0 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 Ethical and legal issues related to counselling 0 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 Program development models 0 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 Identification of children who need counselling 0 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 Identification of children who have been abused 0 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 Identification of depressed and/or suicidal children 0 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 Skill Competencies Diagnosing student needs 0 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 Individual counselling 0 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 Group counselling 0 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 Consultation 0 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 Play Therapy 0 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 Art Therapy 0 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 Behaviour modification 0 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 Cognitive Therapy 0 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 Career counselling 0 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 School curriculum planning 0 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 Skill Competencies (continued) Identifying and making appropriate referrals Cross-cultural counselling Ethical decision making / y 0 1 2 3 4 0 1 2 3 4 0 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 Building supportive climates for students and staff 0 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 Removing and/or decreasing race and gender bias in school policy and curriculum 0 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 Explaining, to the staff, community, and parents, the scope and practice of a school counsellor 0 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 Planning and conducting in-service for staff 0 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 Identifying resources related to helping clients 0 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 Evaluating the effectiveness of counselling programs 0 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 Interventions and Techniques Classroom management techniques 0 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 Discipline problems 0 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 Affective education (DUSO, TAD, etc.) 0 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 Personal safety programs (Second Step, etc.) 0 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 Abuse prevention programs (CARE, etc.) 0 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 Consulting with teachers 0 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 In-service with teachers 0 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 Testing (achievement & ability) 0 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 Testing (personality) 0 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 Crisis counselling 0 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 Family counselling 0 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 Inter-cultural counselling 0 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 Career education 0 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 Parenting programs 0 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 13. Overall, how satisfied were you with your counsellor education program? • VERY SATISFIED • SATISFIED • NEUTRAL • DISSATISFIED • VERY DISSATISFIED 1*3 14. In general, which statement below best describes the length of your counsellor education program. • Too many course requirements • Too few course requirements • About the right number of course requirements 15. In general, which statement below best describes the balance between required courses and elective courses in your counsellor training program? • It had about the right balance between required and elective courses • It should have had more required courses and fewer elective courses • It should have had more elective courses and fewer required courses 16. Counsellor education programs include both a theory and practical component. Please check the statement below which best describes your program. • It had about the right balance between theory and practical application • It should have had more theory and less practical application • It should have had more practical application and less theory 17. Indicate the extent of your agreement with the statement as characteristic of your training program in counselling psychology. There was an opportunity to have skills modelled by instructors 1 2 3 4 Instructors were knowledgeable about the school system 1 2 3 4 Program offered sufficient time for clinical supervision 1 2 3 4 Program was ineffective and failed to provide adequate preparation for the job 1 2 3 4 Program was up to date on contemporary issues facing the school counsellor 1 2 3 4 I would recommend the program to interested colleagues 1 2 3 4 18. Please rate each of the following items in terms of how great a barrier it poses in your day to day work as an Elementary School Counsellor. ^ //// Too large a case load Inadequate office space High needs of students Poor role definition Travel demands Administrative demands Lack of support from parents/community Lack of in-service opportunities Deficiencies in training Unreasonable expectations from teachers Lack of freedom & flexibility Demands on time Isolation from other counsellors Lack of support for the role of counsellors Other (please list) 2 2 .2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 19. What do you consider the most beneficial elements of your counsellor training program for your job as an Elementary School counsellor? 20. What do you consider the least beneficial elements of your counsellor training program for your job as an Elementary School counsellor? 21. What content areas would you suggest be included in the graduate university training program to make the program more effective? 22. Is there anything that we have not asked about that you think we should know? THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR COMPLETING THIS QUESTIONNAIRE APPENDIX D - Final Questionnaire ELEMENTARY SCHOOL COUNSELLOR SURVEY "How Well Do School Counsellor Education Programs Prepare Elementary School Counsellors for Their Job?" DAVID PATERSON The University of British Columbia 1995 ELEMENTARY SCHOOL COUNSELLOR SURVEY Description This survey has been designed to ascertain the usefulness and effectiveness of graduate education to Elementary School Counsellors when they work in British Columbia schools. The results of this research will be made available to all B.C. graduate training programs in Counselling Psychology. Participation in this survey is strictly voluntary. Respondents are able to skip questions they choose not to answer, or they may withdraw from this study at any time. DIRECTIONS: Please check or fill in the appropriate responses. Section A: Background Information 1. Gender: • Female • Male 2. What is your age? • 20-24 years • 45-49 • 25-29 • 50-54 • 30-34 • 55-59 • 35-39 • 60-64 • 40-44 • 65+ 3. What percentage of time are you currently working as an Elementary School Counsellor? • Full-time counselling (100%) • Part-time counselling Indicate the percentage of your time that is designated for counselling % Indicate the percentage of your time that is designated for other aspects of your job (example: vice-principal, grade 5 teacher, etc.) % (please list below) 4. How many years have you worked as an elementary school counsellor? 5. This year (1994/95) to how many schools, in total, are you assigned? The schools are: • primarily rural • primarily urban • mixed rural & urban 6. How many students, in total, attend these schools? • 499 or less • 500 to 749 • 750 to 999 • 1000 to 1249 0 125010 1499 • 1500 or more 7. Please indicate your present work location. • East Kootenay • West Kootenay • Mainline-Cariboo • Fraser Valley • South Coast • Greater Vancouver • North Coast • Peace River • Vancouver Island North • Northern Interior • Okanagan • Vancouver Island South page 1 Section B: University Preparation 8. Do you currently hold a B.C. Teaching Certificate? • Yes • No 9. What is the highest level of education that you have achieved? • Doctoral Degree • Masters Degree • Masters Degree (in progress) • Masters Degree (incomplete) • Graduate Diploma • Undergraduate Diploma • Bachelors Degree • Other 10. Have you completed a Masters or Doctorate degree in Counselling? • Yes Name of Degree Year Obtained Name of University (proceed to question #12) • No (proceed to question #71) 11. If you indicated "No" to item 10, then please list any counselling courses that you have taken as professional development or course work over the past five years. COUNSELLING COURSES TAKEN NAME OF TRAINING INSTITUTION 12. If you indicated "Yes" to item 10, which of the following best described your graduate program of studies? • Primarily full time • Primarily part time • Primarily part time (summers only) • Primarily off campus or through Distance Education • Not on a graduate program page 2 13. Circle the appropriate number (0-4), rating how effectively your educational program prepared you in the skill or area of expertise; then rate (1-4) how important the skill or area of expertise is to you in your role as an P R F P A R A T I O N IMPORTANCE elementary school counsellor. PREPARATION IMPORTANCE CURRENT Knowledge Competencies j? Human development theories and concept 0 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 Individual counselling theories 0 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 Consultation theories and techniques 0 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 Family counselling theories and techniques 0 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 Group counselling theories and techniques 0 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 Career decision-making theories and techniques 0 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 Learning theories and Motivational theories 0 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 Abnormal Psychology 0 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 The effect of culture on development and behaviour 0 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 Evaluation theories and processes 0 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 Ethical and legal issues related to counselling 0 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 Program development models 0 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 Identification of children who need counselling 0 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 Identification of children who have been abused 0 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 Identification of depressed and/or suicidal children 0 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 Identification of children who are gifted 0 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 Skill Competencies Diagnosing student needs 0 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 Individual counselling 0 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 Group counselling 0 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 Consultation 0 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 Play Therapy 0 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 Art Therapy 0 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 Behaviour modification 0 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 Cognitive Therapy 0 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 Career counselling 0 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 page 3 /57 CURRENT PREPARATION IMPORTANCE Skill Competencies (continued) School curriculum planning 0 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 Identifying appropriate community referrals 0 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 Cross-cultural counselling 0 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 Ethical decision making 0 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 Building supportive climates for students and staff 0 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 Removing and/or decreasing race and gender bias in school policy and curriculum 0 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 Explaining, to the staff, community, and parents, the scope and practice of a school counsellor 0 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 Planning and conducting in-service for staff 0 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 Identifying resources related to helping clients 0 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 Evaluating the effectiveness of counselling programs 0 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 Understanding the role of Elementary counselling within the school system 0 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 Interventions and Techniques Classroom management techniques 0 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 Discipline problems 0 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 Affective education (DUSO, TAD, etc.) 0 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 Personal safety programs (Second Step, etc.) 0 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 Abuse prevention programs (CARE, etc.) 0 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 Consulting with teachers 0 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 In-service with teachers 0 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 Testing (achievement & ability) 0 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 Testing (personality) 0 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 Crisis counselling 0 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 Family counselling 0 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 Inter-cultural counselling 0 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 Career education 0 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 Parenting programs 0 1 2 3 4 1 ? 3 4 page 4 14. Overall, how satisfied were you with your counsellor education program? • Very Satisfied • Satisfied • Neutral • Dissatisfied • Very dissatisfied 15. In general, which statement below best describes the length of your counsellor education program. • Too many courses • Too few courses • About the right number of courses 16. In general, which statement below best describes the balance between required courses and elective courses in your counsellor training program? • It had about the right balance between required and elective courses • It should have had more required courses and fewer elective courses • It should have had more elective courses and fewer required courses 17. Counsellor education programs include both a theory and practical component. Please check the statement below which best describes your program. • It had about the right balance between theory and practical application • It should have had more theory and less practical application • It should have had more practical application and less theory 18. Indicate the extent of your agreement with the statement as characteristic of your training program in counselling psychology. ^ 4? / V ^ Skills were modelled by instructors 1 2 3 4 Instructors were knowledgeable about the school system 1 2 3 4 Program offered sufficient time for clinical supervision 1 - 2 3 4 Program was ineffective and failed to provide adequate preparation for the job 1 2 3 4 Program was up to date on contemporary issues facing the school counsellor 1 2 3 4 Program provided me with a solid knowledge base from which to begin working in the school system 1 2 3 4 Program provided me with appropriate skills to begin working in the school system 1 2 3 4 I would recommend the program to interested colleagues 1 2 3 4 page 5 J53 19. Please rate each of the following items in terms of how great a barrier it poses in your day to day work as an Elementary School Counsellor. Too large a case load Inadequate office space High needs of students Poor role definition Travel demands Administrative demands - Lack of support from parents/community Lack of in-service opportunities Deficiencies in training Unreasonable expectations from teachers Lack of freedom & flexibility Demands on time Physical isolation from other counsellors Lack of support for the role of counsellors Too many administrative responsibilities 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 Other (please list) 20. What do you consider the most beneficial elements of your counsellor training program for your job as an Elementary School counsellor? page 6 21. What do you consider the least beneficial elements of your counsellor training program for your job as an Elementary School counsellor? 22. What content areas would you suggest be included in the graduate university training program to make the program more effective? 23. What practical areas would you suggest be included in the graduate university training program to make the program more effective? page 7 24. Is there anything that we have not asked about that you think we should know? THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR COMPLETING THIS QUESTIONNAIRE page 8 APPENDIX E - Reminder Letter 

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