In brief

28th March 2003 at 00:00
Counselling Children: a practical introduction. By Kathryn Geldard and David Geldard. Sage Publications. pound;17.99 (second edition)

Whatever you feel about the counselling of adults - exactly what it is, and whether and when it's necessary - there's no doubt that getting children to talk about themselves and their problems calls for specialist skills. As this book says: "We counsel adults by sitting down with them and inviting them to talk with us. If we were to try to use the same strategy with children, many of them would say nothing except to answer direct questions."

Having made the case, the book, written by a therapist psychologist team in private practice in Queensland, goes on to cover just about all of the approaches the counsellor is going to need in dealing with families and individuals.

Counselling Pupils in Schools: skills and strategies for teachers. Edited by Garry Hornby, Carol Hall and Eric Hall. RoutledgeFalmer. pound;17.99

Teachers often remark - sometimes ruefully - that they spend too much time on counselling and not enough on teaching. This book starts from the assumption that because so many children have emotional and behavioural needs, the ability to counsel should be part of the teacher's professional equipment.

"All teachers need to have basic counselling skills," writes Garry Hornby in the first chapter. "And at least one teacher in each school needs to have developed specialist expertise in counselling."

The book sets out what's required with clarity, and in a way that will make teachers feel they can do it. The section on "active listening" is particularly helpful given that teachers, almost by definition, are not necessarily good at listening to children.

A Life at the Chalk Face. By Roger Griffiths. Memoir Club. pound;15 (Whitworth Hall, Spennymoor, County Durham DL16 7QX)

Roger Griffiths was headmaster of Hurstpierpoint College for 22 years. At his interview, in 1964, a panel member discovered that Griffiths had failed his diploma in education at Oxford. This went down well. "'Good!' said Fairfax Scott, 'I have never believed in these educational theories'."

Mr Griffiths was a successful headmaster and, later, a respected membership secretary of the Headmasters' Conference, where he did much to improve that organisation's support for its members - within the boundaries of confidentiality he has good stories about the cavalier way that some independent school heads can be treated by their governors.

His memoirs speak of a scholar and a committed teacher - and a man with an eye for a good classic car.

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