Improving Social Justice through Comprehensive Psychological Counselling and Guidance Services

Improving Social Justice through Comprehensive Psychological Counselling and Guidance Services

Improving Social Justice through Comprehensive Psychological Counselling and Guidance Services

Recently everyone is talking about the changes of the policies and procedures in the Psychological Counselling and Guidance. Particularly, educators are claiming that the new policies in PDR will negatively impact the quality of student counseling and guidance services.

When I ask why Psychological Counselling and Guidance is important, many educators, even counselors fail to articulate why we need high quality PDR system.

We all need to be a well aware of the fact that in the 21st century, offering an evidence based and comprehensive Psychological Counselling and Guidance services is a SOCIAL JUSTICE issue.

Social justice focuses on providing a more equitable distribution of power, opportunity, services and resources for all students. It means that all student deserve to receive a systemic counseling services from professional experts. Therefore, offering high quality PDR model can be considered as a social justice issue and if we fail to provide an effective PDR system in our K-12 schools, it will negatively impact our students’ academic, personal-social-emotional, and career development.

If you ask me what kinds of PDR services, we should provide to promote and advance social justice in our K-12 schools, I recommend all school leaders, policy makers and counselors to implement a comprehensive school counseling framework.  Besides a strong foundation, management and accountability system, this PDR framework includes comprehensive delivery system with 30 research supported, academic and counseling services. This framework encourages counselors act as a student advocate to enhance social justice by focusing on improving all urban students’ academic, social-emotional, and career development (See Table 1).

Table 1. School Counseling Program Framework for Advancing Social Justice in K-12 Schools

Social-Emotional Development Programs

  1. Classroom Guidance Lessons for Character Education and Social/Emotional Development (Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Caring and Citizenship)
  2. Individual and Small-Group Social and Emotional Counseling Sessions (Self-control, dealing with cyber-bullying, depression, divorce, grief)
  3. Bullying Education Prevention Program
  4. Community Service Program
  5. Consistent, School-wide rules, consequences and rewards
  6. Substance Abuse Awareness and Prevention
  7. Suicide Prevention Program
  8. Motivational and Leadership Guest Speakers
  9. Comprehensive School Clubs and Extra-Curricular Activities
  10. Motivational and Leadership Guest Speakers

Academic Development Programs

  1. Classroom Guidance Lessons for Academic Development (Study and Organization Skills, Time Management)
  2. Individual Academic Advising (Goal Setting, Personal Learning Styles, Academic Paths)
  3. Small Group Academic Development Counseling Sessions
  4. Honor and Advance Level Courses
  5. Peer Tutoring Program
  6. Teacher Tutoring Program
  7. Gifted and Talented Program
  8. Digital Academic Capstone/Portfolio Development (Academic Goal Setting, Sample Works, Test Scores)
  9. Extra Online Courses and Online Academic Resources and Digital Learning Tools
  10. Academic Mentoring Program

College Readiness and Career Development Programs

  1. Classroom Guidance Lessons (to help students understand different jobs) for College Readiness and Career Development
  2. Individual College and Career Counseling Sessions (Exploring your personal abilities, skills, interests, and values) Guidance to help me get ready for high school and beyond.
  3. School-wide Career Fair
  4. College Trips
  5. Summer College and Career Readiness Enrichment Programs
  6. Internship and Apprenticeship Program
  7. Job Shadowing Program
  8. College and Career Counseling Mentoring Program
  9. College and Career Readiness Portfolio (Goal Setting, Career Assessments)
  10. Parent-Student and Counselor College and Career Planning Meeting

If a school cannot achieve to provide its students with effective and comprehensive PDR services, this can be considered as the violation of social justice and student rights. In other words, offering poor PDR services with not qualified staff can be considered as putting our next generation at a substantial risk of preparing unproductive, disinterested and unhappy individuals with lack of career skills as well as with limited social and emotional intelligent.

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Dr. Olcay Yavuz

Assistant Professor & Program Coordinator
Educational Leadership & Policy Studies Department
Southern Connecticut State University, America

Olcay Yavuz, Ed.D. Associate Professor, Educational Leadership & Policy Studies Internship Coordinator, 6th Year Professional Diploma with 092 Certification Southern Connecticut State University

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