Counsellor Perceptions of the Role of the Indian Affairs Education Counsellor in Saskatchewan
Dafoe, Isla Jean
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This study was designed to identify Counsellors' perceptions of the expectations of six major role definers and role behavior of Education Counsellors employed with the Indian Affairs Branch in Saskatchewan. To obtain this data, the Counsellor Survey Form was constructed and administered to all Counsellors in Saskatchewan at the time of the study. The questionnaire consisted of items suggested in the literature on counselling, as well as items considered appropriate from the author's previous experience as an Education Counsellor. Items were classified into seven categories of role functions. The study sample consisted of 25 Education Counsellors employed in Saskatchewan during the period from April to June, 1973. Totals represented 68 percent return of fully completed questionnaires. The major areas of study were: the degree of consensus about Counsellor functions as perceived by the Counsellors among six major role definers; a comparison of the perceived role expectations of each role definer with Counsellor role behavior; and conflict inherent in the Counsellor role. The major role definers were identified as: Counsellors; District Superintendents of Education; principals; teachers; parents; and students. Statistical procedures used to test hypotheses included: one-way analysis of variance; and Newman-Keu1s comparison between ordered means. It was found that Counsellors perceived significant differences between role expectations of two or more role definers for 27 percent of the functions investigated. Counsellor role behavior differed significantly from perceived role expectations for 64 percent of all items included on the questionnaire. The majority of items for which disagreements were perceived in both dimensions of the problem were contained in the categories of functions related to assisting students and functions related to assisting administrators. It was found that parents and students, the client group, were perceived to have similar concepts of the Counsellor role. Superintendents, principals and teachers, the educator group, were also perceived to have similar expectations of Counsellor functions. The Counsellors' concept of their role differed from that of all other role definers. For both role expectations and role behavior the Counsellors shared most correspondence with their perceptions of the Superintendents and least with the parents. Lack of convergence of role expectations and perceived expectations for conflicting or incompatible functions were found to be sources of role conflict. The study indicated a need for further examination of the Counsellor role with a focus on: perceived expectations and real expectations; those factors which contributed to role conflict; the influence of cultural and socio-economic differences on counselling services, and supplementary services required by joint schools to improve educational opportunities for Indian students.