“This Epidemic Will Have A Significant Impact On The Mental Health Of Students. If It Is Not Solved, We Will Face Serious Problems.”

2021-02-03   |   by CusiGO

ANA Cobos, President of copoe, said: ‘if I’m looking for a word to define the status of a Spanish education consultant, I can say it’s’ unstable.’. The deployment of these professionals, which are crucial to the academic and personal development of students, varies according to the level of Education (almost all secondary schools, but only some primary or vocational schools) and the autonomous region, From mixed mode (external support in primary and secondary schools) to other modes that ensure central guidance at all stages. “We don’t have wickers to make baskets; we lack guidance, so we can make a high quality guidance,” he said. He repeated it several times.

The work of counselors is multi-disciplinary, from the prevention of failure and early dropout to the identification of special education needs, psychological education counseling and guidance work or alternative learning. But it goes a step further, it (or should) exist at all stages of learning. “In Spain, there is an average of one counsellor or counsellor per 800 students, and there is a clear lack of professionals. “We have to multiply them by three to get close to the ratio of 250 students per instructor recommended by UNESCO,” Cobos explained. This explains the students’ dissatisfaction with the quality of counseling they receive: 94% of young people aged 18 to 25 lack more support from counselors and teachers for their career choices, According to a study published by the World Summit on Educational Innovation (WISE) in 2019.

Questions. How important is education guidance?

answer. Orienteering is a relatively new subject, and we haven’t seen its importance yet. Education system has always been based on teaching, but there is an educational and non teaching part, which is the starting point of guidance and needs to be strengthened. We need to be highly alert to all variables that may degrade performance. The education system must go far beyond scholarship; it must promote the well-being and happiness of the people.

Q. What is the job of an education consultant?

A. We have three main areas of action: focus on diversity, academic and career guidance, and action guidance. The latter focuses on all the academic work and influences it in a certain way. Senior high school students have one hour of tutorial time every week, and the tutor is responsible for coordinating the same courses in the whole center. For example, now we are studying the theme of coexistence and peace in my center. Next week we will learn skills. Next, we will use Valentine’s day to see healthy relationships from a gender perspective, including the myth of romantic love, which has caused great harm to our lives. Young people, because they advocate a masculine attitude, this is internalization. For example, you can work here, analyze the Disney Princess, or check the lyrics.

If you look at it, these are all academic problems, because they affect the academic community, and you have to deal with them collectively. Then, on an individual basis, specific interventions were taken: boys or girls with separated parents and poor life; family duels; drinking and driving; anxiety and suffering caused by epidemics; sex education problems and starting… We prepare courses, sometimes by mentors, others, or associations or entities.

Q. What is being done in the other two areas, namely diversity, academic and career guidance?

A. With regard to diversity, every boy or girl has the necessary educational response to make the most progress in academic and life development, from children with autism spectrum disorders (tea) to children with Asperger’s syndrome and high intellectual performance, Or minors with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can receive medication and / or psychotherapy. Counselors start working even before the children go to school, so that those who need to adapt can prepare for the beginning of the course. Every time there are periodic changes, we will adjust the needs of education response, study each case individually, and conduct psychological education evaluation.

High quality academic and career guidance begins in childhood, when we implement the professional knowledge program, children regard it as a game, when we play doctors, nurses, firefighters, police, truck drivers, hairdressers… Let boys or girls wear these people’s skin. It’s like a game, but the sum. Then it will go all the way to the first critical moment, when you are in the third critical moment, you have to choose a journey. Fourth, they choose high school or vocational education. After graduating from high school, they choose university or higher vocational education. We are also mentors throughout the process.

P. He mentioned earlier the instability of counselors’ work. Should we think that this is always happening, or rather, that this is a statement, what should it be?

A. This is the ideal we should do. Some centers do exist, but we need more resources. It is difficult to guarantee the quality because of the shortage of manpower. But numbers are one thing, and reality is sometimes another. There will be a well adapted population center, middle class, no economic instability, where you can have 400 students as counselors and work well. But there are others whose ratio is 200, you can’t, because some families have family members in prison, and social problems are very serious: unemployment, instability, drug abuse… Just as the education administration promised guidance at that time, when promoting the integration of disabled students into society and extending compulsory education to the age of 16, we now need another impetus: quality and equity.

Please note: from 2010 to 2016, there was not even any competition for counselors, both this year and 2018. But we need not only to replenish retirees, we need to increase the number. We have a high proportion of students who start their careers but don’t end their careers because they don’t have a good understanding of their careers… According to a recent study by Bankia, about 50% of secondary vocational school students drop out of school, which is very serious. In the University, although the proportion is small, it can also happen.

Counselors are responsible for putting out the fire. We’re like tedax: every time they find a bomb downtown, they call us. If you turn it off, it doesn’t matter. But if it explodes, it will kill you first, because we are in the sensitive zone of all problems: a child’s mother committed suicide at night; a boy or girl’s father has abused him or her since he was nine years old; a girl has panic attacks… instructor. Then there is the daily fire, which has to be put out, and it takes a long time.

Q. What is the impact of coronavirus epidemic on educational guidance?

A. Mental health is a problem that needs high vigilance. In fact, due to the consequences of this epidemic, it is expected that the mental health situation will be quite serious. If it is not solved, we will face serious structural problems. There must be ways to detect them early: boys and girls with anxiety related mental health problems; addiction to technology, which often happens; and problems with social skills, self-esteem and even identity, if your digital identity conflicts with your real life self. All of these are our work from prevention to classroom guidance action plan.

Mental health and education services also need to be coordinated, and we need to be more coordinated with health services, the prosecutor’s office and social services. Clear agreements must be made so that these children can continue to work and not be ignored, as social problems often lead to absenteeism. When a child is out of school? There’s too much social service. You have to put your hand in. We saw it coming, but we didn’t decide. These families must be helped to involve the prosecutor’s office and, if necessary, even take minors away from parents who never perform their parental duties.

Q: how to prevent leaving early?

A. When we work with a child, we notice diversity, starting with a little boy, we see the social problems he brings, a family that doesn’t participate… A six-year-old primary school teacher can already tell you which children in your class are going to college. It seems to be a barbarism, but in many cases it is firm, because you see the child and his parents, you see his background, he failed.

There are extracurricular programmes to work with these children and their families. These centres open in the afternoon to provide programmes for families with fewer resources, as well as private courses and learning support for children. You also have to awaken the profession and make them fall in love with a profession. Teamwork is great, through coordination with the management team and teachers, because students may need to adjust the curriculum, reduce the requirements of the curriculum, or give priority to some content rather than others. Now, this should be done, and it should be done in an unstable situation.

P. If the internal team of the center is also guaranteed, rather than the external intervention team, will it help the primary school?

A. Of course. If you are a member of the education sector, if you are a part of this reality, all the work I tell you will be done better. If you want to put out the fire, the counselor is already there, he can put out the fire. But what if it happens on a Tuesday and the counselor doesn’t come until Friday?

Q. Because in primary school, a counselor has to take care of several centers…

A. Yes, of course. That’s the hybrid model. There, achieving quality is almost impossible. Primary school counselors work with special education children to make long-term diagnosis (dyslexia, high intelligence, ADHD, etc.) and then help them transition from sixth grade to secondary school. What is the fourth possible problem? It’s not that you’re not being taken care of, it’s what’s the focus of your work. The urgency here leaves important prevention behind.

Q: what is the best way to become an educational mentor?

A. From copoe, we can see clearly that you must study the career of pedagogy or psychology, continue to study the master’s degree of teacher education and professional guidance, continue to study the master’s degree of psychological education, and never stop learning, because the reality is so changeable, The problem now is not the same as it was 15 years ago.

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