Guidance was on the wrong track

4th November 2005 at 00:00
Guidance was on the wrong track, according to an article in The TES Scotland of November 7, 1975:

Scotland needs many fewer guidance teachers, Mr Douglas Weir, Glasgow University education department, told Strathclyde guidance teachers at an in-service course in Seamill, Ayrshire, last week.

Vocational guidance should have no place in school, and guidance teachers should be highly trained, specialist counsellors.

The SED (Scottish Education Department), he said, had made effective guidance extremely difficult and had contributed to the current chaos in education by crediting teachers with more pupil-centredness than they had, by assuming greater staff continuity than existed, and by being niggardly in training.

Scotland was still attached to a subject-centred rather than a child-centred philosophy, ignoring the lessons of developmental psychology.

The alternative was to turn to a democratic ideology and child-centred philosophy, accepting that education should have nothing to do with economic status but should be concerned with the human right of all children to as much education as possible; and recasting the teacher's role from instructor to guide.

This threw doubt on vocational and curricular guidance.

Society now demanded of pupils that they think logically, solve problems by inquiry, use evidence as the basis for learning and make rational judgments . . .

In 10 years' time, what functions would remain to the guidance system? Curriculum choice before the age of 16 would have been removed. Every teacher, as in the past, could assist S5 and S6 pupils in decision-making.

Vocational choice would have been removed from schools, leaving it to an improved breed of careers officer.

That left personal guidance, where the guidance teacher had a great role .

. . Such guidance teachers would be full-time specialists.

If we accept the common curriculum and if we move the obstacles in the way of the only effective guidance, namely personal guidance, then we might at last be able to concentrate on preparing people, not undergraduates or young workers or young unemployed or any other over-simple role.

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