jamaican guidance counsellor

Book Excerpt On Jamaican Guidance Counsellor’s Handbook by Denise N. Fyffe


Mrs. Goodrich showed up to the Fairies Secondary School as usual, looking forward to the challenges that would greet her in her chosen profession, as a School counsellor.

Her day was particularly hectic and burdensome, as several boys got in trouble for missing classes and gathering at the back of the school and she was expected to ‘set di bwoy dem on di straight and narrow’, according to the principal.

In addition one of her favorite students, Latoya who was of Muslim background, in her counselling session that afternoon admitted that she would not continue to college, but get a part time job, marry and have children. Mrs. Goodrich, at the end of the day, sat down, and reflected on the days occurrences. She began to wonder what was she to do as the school counsellor, and whether there were problems like this 75 years ago. Mrs. Goodrich pondered what would have happened if there were no school counsellors today?


School counselling was not born it evolved. In supporting this statement we will first look at the meaning of some key words and seek to identify issues and provide points for and/or against the topic.

Born is defined as being “brought into existence; or to be created” (ask.com, 2006). According to the American Heritage Dictionary, evolve means to “develop or achieve gradually”, evolving is a process and may occur over time. Craig Charles stated that “It’s evolve or die, really, you have to evolve, you have to move on otherwise it just becomes stagnant.[1]” This can be applied to School counselling, as it has transformed from a mere larvae to the beautiful butterfly that it is today.

School counsellors are “professional members of an educational team who assists students in their personal, social, and academic, and career development aspects of education through services such as individual counseling, small group counseling, and classroom teaching, and provide leadership in educational reform (advocacy)[2];” They are traditionally known as a guidance counselor, although this term is deemed inaccurate by most professionals today.

School counselling was not born it evolved from the vocational, guidance and counselling movement of the late 19th and early 20th century.

Based on the definition of the key terms one could agree that School counselling was not born, but it has evolved over time. Also, School counselling adopted its functions and design from the vocational counselling field and applied it to schools, the formal institutions that ‘house’ this field today.

School counselling is a relatively new field, compared to other fields of study. It is a process and the rules and guidelines that are the guideposts for it today, were changed in the past, are changing in the present and will continue to evolve in the future.

History of School Counselling

School counselling branched out of the vocational guidance movement, in the United States at the beginning of the 20th century. This was due to the societal, political, educational, trade and industry developments of the time. Jesse B. Davis is deemed the first to offer a methodical school guidance program, in 1907.

In 1908, the “Father of Vocational Guidance” Frank Parsons, established the Bureau of Vocational Guidance to assist young people in making the transition from school to work. Other pioneers such as David Hill, Anna Reed and Eli Weaver had a different approach as they created guidance services which sought to make students employable.

The 1920s to the 1930s saw ascension in the interest of school counselling and guidance because of the rise of progressive education in schools. There were no set standards that were accepted by all, for training and various philosophies were propagated.

However, personal, social, and moral developments were accentuated. “Many schools reacted to this movement as anti-educational, saying that schools should teach only the fundamentals of education. This, combined with the economic hardship of the Great Depression, led to a decline in school counselling and guidance” (Wikipedia, 2006).


  1. A Brief History of School Counseling; Retrieved on September 30, 2006
  2. Baker, S.B. (1992). School counseling for the twenty-first century. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall.
  3. http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/school_counselor
  4. http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/c/craigcharl273985.html
  5. Schmidt, J.J. (2003) Counseling in schools: Essential services and comprehensive programs. 4th ed. Boston: Allyn & Bacon


Read more in Jamaican Guidance Counsellor’s Handbook

jamaican guidance counsellorThe Jamaican Guidance Counsellor’s Handbook, introduces the Jamaican educational system and highlights the psychometric movement, the trait and factor theory as well as legislation that impacted the development of present guidelines and ethical standards. It also explores the counselling process, issues of school management, school organizational structure and several counselling techniques which are apt for the school setting. The book also examines the various roles and responsibilities of a Jamaican Guidance Counsellor and provides a list of resource centers in Jamaica.

Available at all online book retailers and Amazon.com.


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