Counselling in Learning
Counselling in learning, as counselling "The mental hypertext", that is, an effective method of learning, is based on Rogerian Counselling and on its assumptions that the goal of the Counselling process like the goal of the learning process leads to the individual's autonomy and independence in life (Rogers, C.R. 1951).
The individual as a learner is a member of a community, his fellow learners and the knower, and he learns and communicates his learning through interacting with the members of a society which evolves in scientific and economic progress, and which discloses an increasing demand for selection.
Throughout his life man is forced to change according to changeable situations, to adjust himself to new conditions by gaining new knowledge.
Lifelong learning engages the whole person in his lifetime, including his emotions and feelings as well as his linguistic knowledge and his behavioural skills. Interaction through communication may be symmetrical, between equals, learner-learner or knower-knower, and asymmetrical between unequals, learner-knower (Munby, J. 1978).
Learner-learner interaction changes in the direction of increasing intimacy and trust whereas learner-knower interaction like client-counsellor interaction changes its nature from dependent to independent.
Learning is not an individual accomplishment but a social one, requiring communication which does not involve just the unidirectional transfer of information but the interactive pattern between the sender's action and the recipient's feedback reaction (La Forge, P.G. 1983).
Counselling in learning may be a very difficult task whereas the teacher, as the knower or the counsellor, may build up a method of learning together with the student, the learner or the client by which they may learn, interact and communicate in a successful way.
Counselling in learning is based on a group of ideas concerning the psychological requirements for successful learning that are collected by the Rogerian Cnrran, under the acronym SARD (Curran, C.A. 1976).
S stands for Security: unless learners feel secure they will find it difficult to enter into a successful learning experience.
A stands for Attention and Aggression: a loss of attention is an indication of the learner's lack of involvement in learning; aggression is a demonstration using the new knowledge as a tool for self-assertion.
R stands for Retention and Reflection: when the person is deeply involved in the learning process what is retained is internalised and becomes a part of the learner's new persona; reflection is a consciously identified period of silence, within the framework of the lesson at school or the student's homework, for the student to focus on his learning forces to assess his present stage of development and to re-evaluate future goals (La Forge, P.G. 1983).
D stands for Discrimination: the learner should choose among different things and see how one thing relates to another (in Richards, J.C.-Rodgers, T.S. 1999, pp. 117-118).
Counselling in learning advocates a holistic approach to learning since true human learning is both cognitive and affective, as it is whole-person learning.
Such learning takes place in a communicative situation where the sender and the receiver of verbal and non-verbal information are involved in an interaction, in which both experience their own wholeness (Curran, C.A. 1972).
A method of learning as a possible orientation in learning may be useful as a guide to help the learner to face daily difficulties in all careers which require the performance of communication as the act of expressing the learner's personality and wholeness and experiencing the other's personality and wholeness.
The successful lifelong learner and performer should know the method of his learning, self-training and self-retraining to continually prove his competence by his performance throughout his life.
Counselling in learning means giving help, assistance and support by suggesting some techniques of approach to learning.
The counselling-client relationship, like the knower-learner relationship, is characterised by an interaction which is initially dependent and then changes from dependence to independence.
Curran, a specialist in Counselling and a Professor of Psychology at the University of Chicago, applies Psychological Counselling techniques to learning. Curran's application derives its primary insights from Rogerian Counselling which consists of one individual, the counsellor assuming insofar the internal frame of reference of the client, perceiving the world as that person sees it and communicating something of this emphatic understanding (Rogers, C.R. 1951): the teacher should analyse the student's needs and moods and adjust his intervention to them.
Counselling in learning draws on the Counselling metaphor to redefine the roles of the teacher as a counsellor, and of the student as a client, in the learning process.
Counselling in learning is based on a conception of the learning process which reminds one of the ontogenetic development of the child, The relationship between the counsellor and the client is like the relationship between the parent and his child. The parent helps the child to develop into an adult who organizes and controls his life.
In the first "birth" stage, feelings of security are established; in the second, as the learner's abilities improve, the learner as a child begins to achieve a measure of independence from the parent. By the third, the learner "speaks independently" and may need to assert his identity, often rejecting unasked-for advice. The fourth stage sees the learner as secure enough to take criticism, and by the last stage, the learner merely works upon improving style and knowledge of linguistic appropriateness. By the end of the process, the child has become an adult able to face life: the learner knows everything the teacher does and how to face texts and listening so he is independent and can become knower for a new learner (Curran, C.A. 1972 in Richards J.C. and Rodgers,T.S. 1999, pp. 117-118).
The goal of Counselling in learning is the achievement of the individual's independence and the empowerment of his communicativeness which make him a better performer.
Alessandra d'Epiro Dusmet de Beaulieu
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