The effect of a program of parent and teacher counselling on the achievement of pupils experiencing learning difficulties

  • Don Barringhaus

    Student thesis: Master's Thesis


    Children may have difficulty with learning for a great variety of reasons. In determining these reasons, the diagnostician will need to consider among other intellectual functioning, environmental influences, biological and emotional disorders and cultural differences. What also needs to be included is how students view themselves as people and as students - that is, their feelings of self-worth or self-esteem. Very often the solution to a child's learning problems are looked for in the cognitive areas, when it is this affective aspect of learning that requires attention. There is ample research evidence to show, that children with poor opinions of their self-worth, are less likely to be doing well at school than children who have a high opinion of themselves. Less clear however, is the actual cause and effect relationship. That is, is it more usual to find low self-esteem causing poor school performance or does poor school performance cause low self-esteem. This study assumes that low self-esteem is likely to be a major cause of poor performance and that any efforts to change a child's opinion of himself in a positive way, will result in improved performance - in this particular case - at reading. As self-esteem is largely learned from interaction with significant others, an attempt was made to influence the self opinions of a group of children by specific counselling of these others, here, their parents and teacher. The major thrust of the counselling was directed towards the parents, although it is understood that an equal amount of effort with the teachers of the children involved would have been justified. In a program extending over ten one and one half sessions, parents of an experimental group of children, were counselled in two groups. The aims of the program were to provide parents with an awareness of how their child's self concept is formed, how it affects their achievement in school and how they might influence its change. In the study, this experimental group did not show any significant gain in achievement or self-esteem over the control group. Nevertheless, there emerged a number of useful implications for better practice in the field of educational counselling.
    Date of Award1978
    Original languageEnglish

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