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Counseling skills among trainee teachers

1.0 Introduction

Education is for everyone and the need for education has increases in comparison to the past and according to Kangasharju & Pekkala, (2001) it is view as investment for the future. Education, in general plays the role to educate and produces well-rounded person and useful for the development of the country. Therefore, school is the roots of all the work to educate and be the first institution to produce well-rounded person for the nation. In school, teacher is the main person who involves directly teaching the students and deals with their performance and behaviour. Not only teachers are involved in developing the students but also the school counseling unit.

The counseling unit started back in the 1960’s in the Malaysian education system. The counseling unit in school first introduced as the guidance unit in the 1960’s. Counseling is always mistaken by many negative’s beliefs that it is only meant for the problematic students. Solving and dealing with problematic students is not the main objective of school counseling. According to Suradi Salim (1996), there are three main purposes of school counseling which are to understand students, to develop students and to fulfill the school responsibilities towards the society. Therefore, as a counselor, they should be able to deal with any student’s need, behaviour and guide them.

Therefore, in order to do so, the counseling skills are required and should be possess by the teacher as well. This is due to the counseling skills would lead to an organized classroom and guide teachers to make learning session interesting and reduce misbehaviour in the classroom. The skills are generally, being used by the teachers whether they are conscious or unconsciously. The skills that the teacher should know should not be as complex as the counselor does. The basic skills in counseling such as empathy, genuineness, self-closure and few more at least put into practice by the teacher in order to know their students and create or invent interesting learning and teaching sessions.

Hence, in order to access the skills of the teacher, it is good to see it from the perspective from the students. Therefore, the characteristics of rapport building, empathy and active listening are evaluate through students’ observations of the trainee teacher application of counseling skills.

Background of the study

The interest of this research to be carried out is due to investigate how can basic counseling skills can be put into practice as a teacher and to access it from the students’ perspectives whether the trainee teachers (TT) did use the counseling skills to attend their needs during the class. According to Drab (2010) in his websites, the basic counseling skills are:

Active listening



unconditional positive regards


Open Questions

Counselor self-disclosure


Information Giving and Removing Obstacles to Change

rapport building

All the skills listed above are some of the skills that put into practice by the teacher. These skills are useful and can be beneficial if the trainee teachers (TT) are aware of the skills and know how to use it wisely. The skills might not be applicable to all the students but by knowing and put it into their awareness, they can easily invent or creating lessons that are interesting.

The skills can be used for multiple reasons for example to know the students background, knowing the students problems and interest in study the selected subject, control the students behaviour and many others. This can lead to better rapport among the students and the trainee teacher. Building the rapport among the students is not easy and by using the basic counseling skills, it would be the steeping stones to a better lessons and classroom-learning environment.

Besides that, empathy is another skill that can be use in order to understand the need of the students. The needs of students are differing from time to time and required teachers to understand and possibly to attend all the needs that are necessary for the lesson purposes. It is important to have empathy during the lesson because it will ensure the smoothness and organization of the lesson for the teachers. Despite empathy and rapport building, it would not come to implementation if the teacher did not listen to their students. Therefore, the teacher should own the listening skills in the first place.

Statement of problems

Teaching is the first step towards developing a well-rounded person and can contribute to the nation. However, teaching itself required effort to make it interesting. Most teaching method or teaching ways still dull and boring that lead to students lose interest. Many teachers teach the students not based on their interest or even get to know what the students like. Most of them are focusing more on finishing the syllabus rather than make the teaching interesting. By knowing the students interest and build a positive rapport with the students, surely it would lead to a better learning.

However, teachers tend to neglect that or fail to do so due to they do not know how to do it properly and build the rapport that can lead to positive classroom learning. As a result, teachers would feel stress and demotivated to teach the students. This is one of the problems, which many teachers face in this country. Teachers are stress because of not only the teaching but also the workload or the administrative works. By having an ease teaching perhaps would lead to lighten their burden as a teacher. Conducting the lesson in a classroom would never be easy due to students easily lose their attention and to sustain it might difficult. This is due to the students feel board in the class that lead them to misbehave in the class. Lacking of empathy can lead to many classroom issues that the teacher either can control or not.

Aubrey (1997) quoted by Moris.H,(2001), If teaching involves helping others to learn, then understanding the subject content to be taught is a fundamental requirement of teaching. Therefore, classroom teaching is not only teaching itself. The students and even the facilities in the classroom are also involved. This is not to mention any distractions outside of the classroom. Therefore, the teacher shall listen to what the students want and problems that can distract them from learning. However, many teacher claimed themselves listen to the students but actually they did not. Many teachers failed to listen to the students and assume that they know best. Thus, the teacher is neglecting the students’ interest and opinion.

Thus, those problems lead to the researcher to carry out this research not only to ease the teacher but also make the students interested to learn and the create a conscious awareness of using those skills and in the same time to evaluate the selected skills from the students point of view.

Research Objectives

Specifically this study will be carried out to fulfil the following objective:

To determine what are the perceptions of students towards the minor in counselling trainee teachers of Faculty of Education, UiTM Malaysia in term of application of the counselling skills.

1.4 Research Objectives

The following questions will be drawn from the quantitative component of this study.

What is the students’ perception towards the minor in counselling trainee teacher in general?

How do the trainee teachers exhibit empathy from the students’ point of view?

What is the students’ view of trainee teachers’ rapport building skills?

What is the students’ observation of the trainee teachers listening skills during the lesson?

1.5 Significance of study

Knowing the basic skills of counselling does not implied that the teacher must be a counsellor or competence in counselling skills. Those skills are meant to be use as our communication skills for daily interactions and how to sustain a relationship. This study would lead to the teachers knowing how importance for them to know and put it into practise in their teaching.

As a teacher, classroom management is crucial in order to deliver knowledge to their students. By knowing the level of awareness of using the counselling skills, perhaps it would lead to determine what are a good teacher and effective teacher. As a result, the ministry and indirectly the school can come out with programme that helps the teachers to enhance their teaching skills and not only in term of teaching but also classroom management in general.

Furthermore, by knowing the mostly used skills in counselling that teachers always applied consciously or unconsciously in teaching, it would help the government or even the school counsellor to come out with a programme that would help the teachers to enhance the skills and teaches them the new skills to cope with the demand of the students and also behaviour.

Besides that, the skills can also be thought theoretically to the teacher and to make those skills into practice help them to create an interesting lesson and build the rapport among the students. Knowing the theory itself would lead to the teachers to try and error in their teaching that would help them to use it effectively later. This small research hoping that the basic counselling skills should be thought in the higher institutions especially the undergraduates who involve in educational field. The counselling skills can be used not only to counsel people but also helps teachers to organize a classroom besides than for everyday communication purposes.

Hence, this research might lead to betterment of teaching profession and reduce any misbehaviour among the teachers that recently reported. Alongside it will help to produce better generations for the development of the country and ease the task as a teacher in general.

1.6 Limitation of the study

The selection of respondents are mainly the students that being taught by the trainee teachers of UiTM Malaysia in the school who are majoring in Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) and Minor in Counselling. Therefore, the scope for this research only limited to trainee teachers who are taking counselling as their minor in UiTM Malaysia.

This research cover only a small number of respondents which the respondents are the form 1,2 and 4 students of Sekolah Menengah Sultan Sallahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah, Section 2, Shah Alam Selangor and Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Seafield, Subang Jaya in which only cover 267 students.

Therefore, the results gained from this research cover only the small population of Selangor. Despite that, time also one of the factors that taken into consideration as there are procedures that the researcher needs in order to gain permission to collect data in the school. It also required certain duration of time to gain access to a school. Therefore, only one school is selected for this research purposes.

Furthermore, the number of trainee teachers who are minor in counselling only few in numbers. The selected school for this research has the most amounts of trainee teachers who are minor in counselling in comparison to other school.

1.7 Definition of terms


– ACA Code of Ethics (2005) define students as an individual or a group of people engaged in formal educational preparation

1.7.2 Perception

– According to Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English Third edition the way that you notice things with your senses of sight, hearing

1.7.3 Application

– Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English Third edition define application as practical purpose for which a machine, idea etc can be used, or a situation when this is used

1.7.4 Counseling skills

– Silverman (1997) define counselling skills as is a skilled or principled use of relatioship which develop self knowledge, emotional acceptance and growth and personal resources

1.7.5 Trainee teachers

– Arthur-Kelly, Lyons, Butterfield, & Gordon, (2003) defines trainee teachers as teachers in training on practicum session.

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