Becoming a Counsellor: Between Belief and Behaviour

| September 20, 2011
Becoming a Counsellor: Between Belief and Behaviour

Keywords: language counselling, counsellors, beliefs, self-access centre, independent learning, self-directed learning

Pornapit Darasawang
King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi, Thailand

Bio Data
Pornapit Darasawang is dean of the School of Liberal Arts. She obtained a PhD in TESOL from the University of Edinburgh. She has taught the MA and PhD programmes in applied linguistics. Her research interests lie in learner autonomy, self-access learning, and learner training.

The preparation of out-of-class learning not only focuses on advice to learners about how to take responsibility for their own language learning, but also involves helping teachers to become aware of their roles in guiding learners towards autonomy. Self-access centre use represents one means for students to engage in out-of-class learning. Such centres provide facilities for autonomous learning and also support learners by providing counsellors to help learners plan and conduct learning for their own needs and purposes. This research was conducted to find out if the beliefs of counsellors have any effect on learner performance. It was conducted with eight student teachers taking a course on how to set up and manage a self-access centre. They were trained how to be counsellors through the provision of theory, modelled by the use of video clips on how to give consultation, and involved experiential learning through a consultation practicum where they could apply the learned theory to work as counsellors with undergraduate students for six weeks. The data revealed how the participants applied the knowledge learned to conduct the consultation sessions and how their behaviour as counsellors was affected by their beliefs, which in turn affected how they assisted students develop their skills and awareness of self-directed learning. According to their behavioural patterns, the participants were separated into two types of counsellors: teaching-oriented and independent learning-oriented counsellors. The teaching oriented counsellors focused on teaching the students, whereas the independent learning-oriented counsellors tended to help the learners to learn how to learn. Therefore, the latter were able to better prepare the learners for out-of-class learning. The behaviour of these two types of counsellors was affected by their beliefs deriving from their experiences as language learners and language teachers. Thus, helping the counsellors to analyse and realise the influence of their beliefs as language learners and teachers was seen as useful training to give effective consultation

See pages 87-102

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Category: Main Editions, Volume 13 Issue 3