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The status and role of the school psychologist in Canada Heise, Donald Henry

Abstract

This survey study attempts to investigate the status and role of school psychologists in Canada and the extent of variation of their status and role across Canada. Canadian literature has almost nothing to say about school psychologists in Canada. Data were gathered on the distribution of personnel, the scope of the service, working conditions, qualifications for the position, activities undertaken, the nature of pupil problems referred, and views on the status and role of school psychologists held by educational officials and the school psychologists themselves Sources of data were a questionnaire survey, communications with educational officials prior to distributing the questionnaire, and documents submitted by departments of school psychology. Fifty nine (59) returned questionnaires plus evidence from documents implied a total of ninety five (95) school psychologists in Canada. The breakdown by province is as follows: Nova Scotia (3); New Brunswick (1); Quebec (6); Ontario (40); Manitoba (16); Saskatchewan (6); Alberta (13); British Columbia (10). A lack of official position regarding a status and role for school psychologists is characteristic of most Provincial Departments of Education, School boards, however, have considerable interest in school psychological services. School psychologists working for these school boards are given adequate status and direction in their work. Function, though not defined for Canada, shows pattern in the kinds of problems faced and in approaches to their solution, in the somewhat excessive scope of those duties that are preferred by school boards, and in professional activities. The preferred school psychologist seems to be one who possess an M. A. degree in psychology or a closely related, equivalent aspect of educations School psychologists express unhappiness caused by an over-emphasis on testing with minimum follow-up and by awareness of problems, both pupil and professional, that are impossible to cope with under present conditions. In terms of status and role, it is possible to distinguish school psychologists from other special service personnel such as guidance and counseling personnel.

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