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LETTER TO EDITOR
Year : 2018  |  Volume : 7  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 210-211

A faculty training module on the art of counseling students in academic issues


1 Department of Psychiatry, JSS Medical College and Hospital, JSS University, Mysore, Karnataka, India
2 Department of Psychiatry, Adichunchanagiri Institute of Medical Sciences, Mandya, Karnataka, India
3 Department of Biochemistry, M.S. Ramaiah Medical College, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India
4 RV College of Engineering, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India

Date of Web Publication20-Jul-2018

Correspondence Address:
Dr. M Kishor
Department of Psychiatry, JSS Medical College and Hospital, JSS University, Mysore - 570 004, Karnataka
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/ijhas.IJHAS_50_18

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How to cite this article:
Kishor M, Vinay H R, Kusuma K S, Kantanavar P, Chandran S. A faculty training module on the art of counseling students in academic issues. Int J Health Allied Sci 2018;7:210-1

How to cite this URL:
Kishor M, Vinay H R, Kusuma K S, Kantanavar P, Chandran S. A faculty training module on the art of counseling students in academic issues. Int J Health Allied Sci [serial online] 2018 [cited 2019 Sep 20];7:210-1. Available from: http://www.ijhas.in/text.asp?2018/7/3/210/237264



Sir,

Educational institutions strive hard for excellence in training of students. Academic issues such as student's ability to understand the subject, ability to appreciate and apply the learned information, ability to demonstrate skills where necessary, and ability to reproduce the information during the evaluation are key aspects of excellence for any educational institutions. However, students may underperform in their academics for various reasons. Psychological issues, personality issues, health and environmental issues, infrastructure, and factors related to faculty are all possible reasons for underperformance of students. In this article, only “approach to academic issues” is discussed and “approach to nonacademic issues” is not considered as it is not the focus.

Faculty plays a key role in identifying and addressing academic issues of their students. Here, we have attempted to address one possible way of approach to train faculty in counseling students for academic issues. This module can be incorporated in student well-being initiatives of an educational institution.[1]

It is preferable that this module is used for faculty training by resource persons such as senior faculty and/or by psychiatrist/psychologist wherever they are available. The training module mentioned here is for 60 min duration, for a group of faculty numbering <40 to make learning effective; predominantly, the methodology should be interactive with case scenario, role plays, and group discussion. However, the duration and faculty number for training session can vary from institution to institution based on the infrastructure and resource persons.

The session starts with brief introduction on aims and learning objectives of the training module, methodology, and ground rules of the meet.

The principles of counseling are discussed; counseling is a skilled dialog through which a client (student) is helped to (1) resolve problems, (2) avoid a potential problem, and (3) make constructive changes.[2] It may be completed in one session or many (5–6 if feasible or needed). The confidentiality, nonjudgmental approach, listening skills, empathetic approach, transference and counter-transference, and problem-solving methods are discussed.

The first step of approach is brought forward for discussion among faculty groups. Should a faculty volunteer to approach a student? Or wait for a student to approach? It is understood that both can be possible and the reasons are enumerated. If a student approaches, the priority is given for the student to narrate the need, and if a faculty approaches, the faculty explains the need with empathy.

The next step can be discussion on the place and time for student counseling session. This helps in understanding consensus about preferable place and convenient time. For example, faculty office space or student counseling room can be preferred and time should be convenient for both faculty and students, either in leisure or 30 min prior or after the working hours if there is no leisure period that is convenient.

Sometimes, academic issues may not be strictly differentiated from nonacademic issues. Nonacademic issues can be behavioral and psychological issues, anxiety, depression, personality issues, or environmental issues. The faculty can make reasonable differentiation if they are the cause or consequence of academic issues. If it is more related to nonacademic issues, the faculty can either take help of professional or refer.

The next issue for discussion is about teacher's approach in understanding the component of learning that is being affected, is it related to one subject or for all? Is it student's difficulty in comprehension of the subject or in the application of knowledge? or is it inability to recall in written or oral format? It also becomes important for the faculty (if possible even before calling the student for counseling) to know the index student's performance in the prior evaluation process, for example, last test/examination, and knowledge of student's academic track record such as score in preuniversity or high school. The solution for various scenarios is discussed among participants. For example, if a student has consistently performed average (around 50%), the student is encouraged to improve; however, emphasis is on minimal required or must know from the syllabus for that particular subject. If the student finds difficulty in understanding the subject, then alternative/supplementary ways such as recognized online resources can be recommended. The faculty also ensures the student appreciate experiential learning “do it and learn it.” In this entire process of dialog between faculty and student, the student should get the feel that faculty is interested in him/her and is keen to provide guidance.

As the faculty is able to capture the area of concern, the next issue is to simultaneously look at the principles of learning that affects student's academic performance. The group discussion can be on evaluating in the student, the principles of learning such interest of the student, methods used by student to learn, and student efforts in the direction of desired goal. The honesty and humbleness to acknowledge deficits are important for learning.

The participating faculty then discuss on methods to elicit this information and the manner in which they are conveyed to students. For example, the student has consistently performed high with 70% and above in prior evaluation, and now his/her performance is below 50%. Hence, student is asked to reflect on reasons for underperformance in the session; the faculty helps in identifying the aspect that needs focus. The second example can be, if the student has scored low in all subjects except his favourite subject, the faculty can help student to reflect on time invested in all subjects. Similarly many examples can brought out in the faculty training session, some of which can be better learnt by role play. The training of faculty of this component can be through role play.

The conclusion of particular session is last in the discussion. The group discusses on ways to conclude the faculty–student interaction. It could be student summarizing the session on what he/she understood, the immediate plan of action, ways to self-evaluate the progress, and/or possible agenda for the next session. The faculty can give the feedback and encourage positive steps to the student.

The success of the module depends on the genuine interest and reasonable effort of faculty to assist student in academic issues and student's ability to utilize the services of trained faculty.[2]

The module can be accommodated within the student well-being model or student mentorship program or any similar program in educational institutionsEven Guidance books prepared by the faculty on such modules can help students develop complex thinking skills, expand their thought process, and help prepare them for their future life as a professional.[3] The training of faculty in addressing academic issues is crucial step for student excellence in educational institutions; further modification can be carried out as need arises and periodic reevaluation with input from beneficiaries helps in improving the standards of training.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
  References Top

1.
Kishor M, Vinay HR, Kusuma KS, Kantanavar P. Young minds: A proposed model for students' wellbeing in educational institutions. Int J Health Allied Sci 2018;7:123-5.  Back to cited text no. 1
  [Full text]  
2.
Devi MR, Devaki PR, Madhavan M, Saikumar P. The effect of counselling on the academic performance of college students. J Clin Diagn Res 2013;7:1086-8.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Chandran S, Kishor M, Bhargava S, Jayaram R, Sundararajan R, Prabhu P, et al. An innovative concept book guide for MBBS students. Indian J Psychiatry 2017;59:525-6.  Back to cited text no. 3
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