School Counsellors’ Perceptions of Their Roles and Responsibilities in Canada
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This research was designed to assist in the understanding of the school counsellors’ roles and responsibilities in Canada. Currently Canada’s School Counsellors’ National Association is a chapter within the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association. It appears that each Canadian province and territory has their own school counselling association with varying degrees of standards, resources and influence. Generally, the school counsellor role has evolved from its original roots of vocational guidance which was to assist students in gaining social skills for employment purposes. This seems to be similar to the current Social Emotional Learning concept of students learning to self-regulate and problem solve particularly in social interactions. In Canada there is scare research regarding school counsellors therefore the literature reviewed was often from other countries. This research is to assist in clarifying and understanding the various roles and responsibilities and their importance within the current Canadian school system as perceived by Canadian School Counsellors. An anonymous online questionnaire process was utilized via Survey Monkey. The collection and analysis of data was a mixed qualitative and quantitative method using Likert type questions, fill-in the blanks and yes/no as well as open ended questions which were clustered and categorized. List serve members from the Canadian Counsellor Psychotherapy Association School Counsellor Chapter and BC School Counsellors Association were invited to complete the questionnaire. There were 133 responses to the survey and 100 completed forms (75.2%). The data was collected from mid-June to August 31, 2012. Most respondents were females. Participants represented predominately the public school system from Kindergarten to grade 12 in rural, suburban and urban districts. The schools‟ enrollments ranged from 24 to 2000 students. The data indicated that many elementary school counsellors worked part-time at several schools with different administrators and staff which could impact their roles. Though secondary school counsellors may be full time at one school it appears their work composition tends to be academic and graduation criteria oriented. The tasks counsellors fulfill appear to be varying from counselling students to non-counselling tasks such as course scheduling. The perception of the school counsellors' roles and responsibilities is ambiguous as other Canadian and non-Canadian research has indicated. The various stakeholders such as parents and administrators perceptions may not align and can create miscommunication particularly with school counsellors’ time constraints when working in a location part-time.