Accountability has become a key issue in the delivery of human services, and counsellors have been challenged to demonstrate that what they do makes a difference and that what they do meets the needs of the system in which they work. Thus proponents of the consultancy model such as Dinkmeyer (1973) have urged counsellors to move from the crisis-oriented approach in which only a few benefit from counsellor services to a consultative role which involves the counsellor with the total system. In 1979 the author was appointed to the Metropolitan West District of Sydney. This is an area with many social problems such as high unemployment, single parent families and families receiving social welfare benefits. Many students attending school are adversely affected by their home environment. To compound the problem a difference in value systems exists between home and school, which is a source of frustration to both teachers and students. As a result many children were referred for counselling because they were behaviour problems in the classroom. It was not possible for the counsellor to see all the students referred so other strategies needed to be employed. From discussions with teachers concerning the management of students who were behaviour problems it became apparent that teacher training had left them ill-equipped to deal with the student behaviours they were facing. A Classroom Management and Interpersonal Skills programme was designed and presented to a group of Primary school teachers in one of the schools to which the author was appointed. Evaluation of the effectiveness of the programme was based on the statistical analysis of pretest and post-test measures of teachers and students of those teachers participating in the programme. In addition to reporting on outcomes of the programme this study provides a theoretical rationale for its development. The statistical evidence does not strongly support the effectiveness of the programme. However there are some trends, particularly in the teacher data, which suggest that the programme was effective in bringing about teacher attitude change towards students. Teachers' written evaluations of the programme, together with informal feedback, indicate the programme was successful in providing some of the answers to behaviour problems which occur in the classroom. A corollary to the presentation of the programme has been a reduction in the number of children referred to the author as "behaviour problems". This has provided more time to work with infant children and parents, both counsellor functions which the administrative staff see as significant, and to continue in the role as a consultant to teachers.
|Date of Award||1982|