I was a student counsellor on practicum experience, working in Government Day Secondary School Bwari, Abuja in Nigeria. This was an opportunity to counsel and assist adolescent students with different challenges in educational, personal, social and vocational life. Government Day Senior Secondary School is a school with a population of three thousand five hundred students with about a hundred students in a classroom. I usually went for group counselling in these classes four times in a week for the six weeks I spent there.
Helping some students with maladaptive behaviour both in group and individual counselling was really challenging. Some are wounded teenagers who have been abused severally by their relatives, some are repeaters who need help to improve in their academic performances.
Many of the students were encouraged to understand and unlearn those maladaptive behaviour that have been distracting them both in their educational, personal, social and vocational life. Some activities were organized during the practicum experience which include:
GENDER ASSEMBLY: Gender assembly was one of the strategies used in sensitizing the female students to improve their moral behavior. The girls were more than one thousand and the sensitization focused on upholding good moral conduct. Many of the female students came for counselling and a large number of students were helped
ORIENTATION PROGRAMME: Another part of the experience was orientation programmme organized for all the senior prefects for 2021-2022 academic session. The students were enlightened about their different posts and how to serve the school by establishing and maintaining the highest standards of behaviors, attitude and to provide a positive role model for other students to learn.
ADMINISTRATION OF PSYCHOLOGICAL TEST: Administering psychological test to Senior Students in class 1 (SS1) was a wonderful experience which showed different approaches of administering psychological test, that is, informed consent in counselling in a school environment. The test score aided the placement of students in the right classes that suit their interests.
Generally, the experience in a Government Day Secondary School exposed different societal challenges faced by adolescents especially the girl child. Sometimes, adolescents are blamed for the wrong choices and decision they make without considering the context and societal pressure in which such choices were made. Thus little or no help is given to them. According to Mary Aikenhead, “Our duty is to be like the Good Shepherd in the very parable taught us by his own sacred words-we must support (those) who are weak, and bind up the wounds and fractures of our flock, even, before they complain of the pain brought on by their own folly”. We are invited to pay keen attention to the young people because their experience today, defines tomorrow’s society.
Sr. Agatha Maurice RSC