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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Importance assigned to counselling functions by students in a public adult night school. Johnson, Edwin William Wagstaffe

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to determine whether adult students enrolled in credit courses in a public adult night school assigned the same degree of importance to various functions of an adult education counsellor. A Q-sort of fifty items representing four categories of functions--educational counselling, occupational counselling, personal counselling, and the counselor-adult relationships-- was administered to a volunteer panel of one hundred adult students in the Surrey School District of British Columbia. The hypothesis postulated no signifi cant difference in the importance which adult students enrolled in credit courses in a public adult night school assign to various functions of an adult education counsellor. It was tested with regard to the total population and to a number of sub-groups established by sex, age, previous counselling, education, and occupation. In all instances the hypothesis was rejected at the .05 level, thus indicating that more importance was assigned to certain functions than to others. By multiple comparisons designed to examine the relative importance assigned to the different functions, it was found that in the total population and almost all sub-groups educational counselling was considered significantly more important at the .05 level than either personal counselling or the counselior-adult relationship, and that the combination of educational and occupational counselling was considered significantly more important than the combination of personal counselling and the counsellor-adult relationship. In addition, the unemployed female group viewed occupational counselling as significantly more important than either personal counselling or the counselor-adult relationship. Comparisons were made between pairs of sub-groups by sex, age, previous counselling, education, and occupation to investigate possible differences in the importance which they assigned to the counselling functions. The following results were significant at the .05 level: the female group regarded occupational counselling as more important than did the male group; the employed female group viewed occupational counselling as more important than did the unemployed female group; the unemployed female group considered the counselor-adult relationship as more important than did the employed female group. In the total population studied, the nine items considered most important reflected the adult student's desire for practical assistance in selecting courses, in establishing goals, and in better preparing himself for learning. The nine items considered least important indicated that the adult rejected the need for assistance in matters which he felt capable of handling on his own, and that he had little desire for counselling of a personal nature. In addition to pointing out the specific counselling needs felt by the adults involved, this study demonstrated the particular concerns of women and the necessity for more research in this area. The usefulness of the Q-sort technique in such a study was shown.

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