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The counselor reminds the children that some of the bullying is done because of ethnic and cultural differences. This week the session will be about helping those who are different by race, ability, gender, religion, etc. To feel accepted by doing something kind for them (Singh, et al., 2010).
The counselor can work with school personnel to develop a RAK week. During this week, the students are able to write on a large banner the kindness deeds they do (RAK Foundation, 2010). The students can help read books for library hour, recording at the same time, so the younger children can listen at any time. Food drives can be organized to help needy families in the school (RAK Foundation, 2010). During these activities, discussion about how the act makes the student feels help reinforce the positive actions.
Follow-up includes comparing how bullying and cyber-bullying makes one feel vs. how the RAK makes the student feel. The list can be written on the board. Which one is better: bullying or RAK? Do you like feeling good about yourself? Or feeling mean and ugly?
This session can conclude with discussion of the "Golden Rule." What does it mean? If you insult someone else, do they talk nice to you or ugly? What happens if you smile at people as you walk along the halls? Do people respond with a smile? Do you want others to pull pranks on you? Or to help you if you have problems?
VI. Volunteering -- session four
This session begins with review of confidentiality. The counselor takes the first part of the session to review the topics of bullying, cyber-bullying, and RAK sessions. Write on the board what is a volunteer. List the examples the children give of volunteers. Talk about the benefits of volunteering, how it can change lives, including your own. Volunteering is an extended form of RAK. One can choose the particular organization they want to help at, according to their interests (Kids Health, 2010).
Does any of the children parents volunteer? Discuss what types of volunteering their family does? How does it make their parents feel? Are any of the students in Scouts or other organizations that require community service? Talk about the different options available for young people. Some options may include: walking animals at shelter, shoveling snow for the elderly, participating in food drives, or cleaning up a graveyard. Discuss how being young does not keep one from volunteering.
To create a long-term effect, the counselor can divide the children into groups. These groups can decide on a volunteer project they will work on for a period of one month. A banner can be hung in which volunteer stories can be posted on. At the end of the month, a celebration party can be done with ice cream sandwiches or another type of prize. The purpose is to promote a volunteer lifestyle.
VII. Piaget and Cognitive Learning
Each of the above sessions based its format on the premise that children 3rd to 5th grade have the ability to reason logically. Children have schemas which they organize their environment (Crandell, Crandell, & Zanden, 2009). Using these sessions on bullying, the counselor challenged the schemas on what was right and wrong in how we treat people. Children, after learning bullying is wrong, make an accommodation in their schemas to be able to process the new information (Crandell, Crandell, & Zanden, 2009).
Bandura's Cognitive Learning stated that children are influenced by conscious experience, human attitudes, values, and aims (Crandell, Crandell, & Zanden, 2009). Learning takes in social modeling. New information is accumulated by watching parents, teachers, and others in authority show proper behavior (Crandell, Crandell, & Zanden, 2009).
With the counselor demonstrating how bullying hurts people, the long-term effects of bullying, and reasons regarding being different, she is helping the students to reason as to the wrongness of bullying. This lesson is continued to the negativity of cyber-bullying. Then the positive actions of treating people nice are shown by talking of RAK and volunteering. The counselor talks of the pros and cons of both aspects of social behavior. The children are able to apply the examples to their own lives and make the decision not to treat others badly.
Counselors in the elementary school have the opportunity to take a preventive stand in teaching social concepts. In order to be able to teach effectively, the counselor himself must be able to live the principles he is teaching. He must exhibit a self-efficacy before beginning the programs (Van Velsor, 2009). If the counselor does not have the qualities he wishes to teach, then he can not be effective in passing them along. Counselors must "walk the walk and talk the talk" (Scarborough & Luke, 2008). Children can sense insincerity from anyone they listening to.
By utilizing group therapy, a school counselor can make efficient use of the school day to reach the largest number of students at one time. General lessons can be passed along. If there are students who need more one-on-one instruction, then the group sessions, along with teacher recommendations, will allow the counselor to pinpoint the at-risk students (Bauman & Smith, 2007).
For group therapy to work in a school situation, certain rules need to be established. These include rules of confidentiality, talking one at a time, and derogatory statements. A list of the "counseling rules" hung on the wall will work as a gentle reminder to the students on what is acceptable or not.
Counselors in the elementary level can help change the negative habits that may guide the student into later trouble (Hendricks, 2010). Using the time to tackle tough topics such as bullying can help shape our town's futures, one student at a time. By changing the erroneous thoughts in childhood, one can help guide to a more positive future.
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