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Elementary school counsellors' perceptions of their current role and their ideal role with parents and families Samis, Kymberle A


This study sought to identify B.C. elementary school counsellors' perceptions of: (a) the extent to which they are currently using six different forms of intervention with family members (family consultation, family counselling, family therapy, parent education,' parent consultation, parent counselling); (b) the extent to which they would like to use these forms of family member intervention; (c) the need for school districts to offer services for family members; (d) the appropriateness of these functions to the elementary school counsellor role; (e) the severity of the barriers hindering counsellors' performance of the six different forms of family member intervention; and (f) what is needed to overcome these barriers. The accessible sample of 327 elementary counsellors was determined through written contact with school district Heads of Student Services. The survey instrument, developed specifically for this study, was completed and returned by 249 (76.2%) counsellors. Sample means and standard deviations were calculated to determine the counsellors' perceptions of their current and ideal extent of use of the six family member interventions as well as six other "traditional" school counsellor functions. To determine if the differences between these current and ideal means were significant, two-tailed paired samples t tests were conducted. Sample mean and standard deviation scores were also calculated to determine the counsellors' perceptions of the severity of the barriers to performing the six family member interventions. The results of this study indicate that of the six forms of family member intervention, B.C. elementary counsellors would like to perform parent consultation (M=1.86) and family consultation (M=2.33) to the greatest extent("Often"); they also believe these interventions to be the most appropriate to their role. Parent education, parent consultation, and family consultation were reported as the family member interventions most appropriately offered by the school district. "Work Load" and "Work Schedule" were consistently reported as the largest barriers to performing each of the six different forms of family member intervention. The recommendations most frequently made by counsellors to overcome the barriers to family member intervention included: (a) hire more counsellors; (b) provide increased opportunities for training; (c) provide counsellors with a more adequate space in which to work; and(d)redefine, clarify and narrow the role of the elementary school counsellor.

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