Date of Award

2001

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

School

School of Education

Program

Counseling Psychology, Ph.D.

First Advisor

Lenore S. Brantley

Second Advisor

Frederick A. Kosinski, Jr.

Third Advisor

Hinsdale Bernard

Abstract

Problem. The increasing emphasis on school counseling by the Ministry of Education in Trinidad and Tobago highlights the need to clarify and standardize the role of the counselor in the secondary schools. The satisfaction of these needs can be facilitated by determining the perceptions held by counselors, principals, teachers, and students about the counselor’s role in the school system; by clearly articulating this role; and by identifying the relationships between the counselor’s role and the counselor’s job satisfaction. The burden of this study was to determine these perceptions and relationships.

Method. A descriptive mode of inquiry was used to explore respondents’ perceptions. Questionnaires were sent to 370 subjects: 35 counselors, 35 principals, 100 teachers, and 200 students. The counselors were given two questionnaires; the Counselor Function Inventory (77 items covering seven major counselor services) and the Minnesota Satisfaction Questionnaire (20 items covering different aspects of job satisfaction). Principals, teachers, and students were given only the Counselor Function Inventory, which sought to gauge respondent perceptions about counselors’ actual (real) role and ideal role in secondary schools in Trinidad and Tobago.

Findings. The results showed significant perception differences between counselors, principals, teachers, and students about counselors’ actual and ideal role. The perceptions of counselors and principals tended to be more similar than dissimilar; the perceptions of teachers and students tended to be quite similar; and the perceptions of counselors tended to be quite different from those of teachers and students. Counselors’ discrepancy in their perception of actual and ideal counselor services tended to have little relationship with their job satisfaction, except in the cases of placement services and follow-up services. The study found that secondary-school counselors in Trinidad and Tobago experienced high levels of job satisfaction generally.

Conclusions. The study revealed a need for consensus in perception and definition of the counselor’s role by the counselor’s professional colleagues and other role-definers. This situation seems to suggest a need for standardization of the counselor’s role in secondary schools of Trinidad and Tobago. As a result of this study, professional role definers (and determiners) are made more aware of the need for concerted efforts toward standardization and more harmonious participation in the education process. The level of satisfaction registered by secondary-school counselors should serve as an incentive to educational planners to provide strong professional support for counselors.

Subject Area

Counseling in secondary education--Trinidad and Tobago.

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