In this era of the fourth industrial revolution, our education system needs to fulfil the global economy’s demand for highly skilled and adaptive workers. But to create a well-balanced education system, we have to create a strong mindset among students who are about to enter the unexplored digital world of the twenty-first century. For that purpose, Daffodil International University (DIU) has initiated a highly structured counselling system for students which will help them to search for their own potential in relevant fields of interests. Counselling or advising is a dynamic process where both the advisor and advisee maintain a respectful yet communicative and supportive relationship between themselves. In this particular relationship, the advisor serves as a teacher and guide the students in a self-awakening journey of achievement (O’Banion, 1994). It is necessary for conditions where an institutional representative provides with suggestions about an academic, social, or personal matter. The structure of these suggestive programs might be to inform, suggest, counsel, discipline, coach, mentor, or even teach (Kuhn, 2008). The education system of many Asian universities especially Bangladesh is not participatory oriented due to the absence of practices of group discussion, shyness of learners, the sometimes exploitative role of educators, and traditional teaching-learning practices in the classroom (Islam, 2005).
A teacher talking in the classroom and students taking notes is a backdated and unsupportive education system which is unfortunately very popular in the Indian sub-continent. In such single-mode delivery systems, students do not feel interested in their study materials due to lack of involvement and engagement (Hirschbuhl, Jackson, & Bishop, 1995). According to Lynn (1977), the “essence of teaching is communication”. Various educators have suggested that student achievement is related to effective communication between teachers and students (Bloom, 1976; McCroskey, 1977; Seiler, 1978) If teachers and students are lacking basic communication skills, then learning is inefficient. Teachers can be benefited greatly by learning and then by practising basic counselling communication skills with students (Rice & Smith, 1993).
Students Counseling and Mentoring at DIU
There is no doubt that teaching is an endless journey but a teacher works as a bridge where the individual and the society shake hands (Palmer, 2017). Daffodil International University has initiated a three-tiered counselling system which covers teaching and learning initiative from a supportive and participatory perspective. The first tier is the stage where a course teacher himself or herself counsels or advises a student. Every course teacher of Daffodil International University has to maintain its counselling hours rigorously. During these counselling hours, the course teacher deals with academic, financial or social problems of the students. The documentation of the counselling process can be maintained in the “Mentoring” section of the Daffodil ERP. The second tier is the stage where a specific course teacher receives counselling requests from a student’s mentor. In this stage, the mentor requests the course teacher to take care of some specific issues (mostly academic) with the student. The third stage is the stage where a course teacher sends requests to the mentor of a student for taking care of specific problems. Figure 1 demonstrates the counselling practices at DIU. Please visit the following links for more information:
Figure 1: Counselling practice at DIU
How to identify students who need counselling
The course teachers and the mentors look for some particular characteristics or occurrences which identifies or indicates the possible occurrence of disturbance. For example, a course teacher or mentor may look for irregularity in class, poor academic performance, financial problem, drop out, addiction to drugs and other social or family pressure points. After noticing such symptoms, a course teacher or mentor goes to the mentoring section of DIU ERP, and then log in. After logging in, they enter into the course counselling option and face two choices. The course teacher can send a counselling request to the students mentor or he/she can receive any request from mentor of he/she can himself/herself counsel the student. Figure-2 shows the mentoring management system at Daffodil International University. For more information please visit: http://software.diu.edu.bd/mentoring/#/student-counselling
Figure-2: Mentoring management system
How to Counsel the Students
At first, a mentor has to deeply understand the student’s socio-economic background. Understanding the family and per dynamics can help the mentor to identify the student’s specific problem and the context with it. Then the mentor will have to inquire about student’s academic performance. After that, the mentor will go to mentoring option again and will record his/her counselling data. Figure 3 reveals counselling request to mentor which done by the course instructor. Then the mentor will diagnose the problem and will find out the best solution to that problem. Then the counsellors will regularly check for progress. For more information please visit: http://software.diu.edu.bd/mentoring/#/student-counselling/counselling-request-to-mentor
Figure: 3 Sending Counselling request to mentor
How to track/monitor the students who are being counselled
A mentor can look for improvement and check for progress in the mentoring option of the ERP website. Moreover, the course instructor can send any request to the mentor for better improvement. Figure 4 shows the course instructor request toward his/her (Students) mentor. For more details, please visit http://software.diu.edu.bd/mentoring/#/student-counselling/counselling-request-from-mentor
Figure: 4 A teachers can send counselling request to mentors
How to document the counselling outcome
There are three segments of documentation e.g. i) counselling request to mentor, ii) counselling request from mentor and iii) a teacher/course teacher commonly can document about the student’s any affairs like result, financial matter, career development, motivation and other relevant problems which he/she (Teacher) has tried to solve. It will be automatically generated in our present ERP. Figure 5 illustrates it. For more details, please visit the following link- http://software.diu.edu.bd/mentoring/#/student-counselling
Figure 5: Documenting counselling sessions
How to Set Up Counselling Hours
A teacher will provide one hour for a specific course in a week as counselling hour. This has to be maintained throughout the semester.
Who Is a Student Mentor and What Their Duties Are
A mentor is a person who helps or advises someone who needs help with some specific issues. Mentors at DIU carry out the responsibilities of attending students’ problems and maintaining a proper communication channel with them. A teacher in DIU is viewed as a two-way bridge between the students and the university.
Bloom, B. S. (1976). Human characteristics and school learning. McGraw-Hill.
Hirschbuhl, J., Jackson, J., & Bishop, D. (1995). Teaching at a distance: Student involvement through interactive multimedia. 11th Annual Conference on Teaching and Learning: Teaching Strategies for Distance Learning, Madison, WI, 95–99.
Islam, M. K. (2005). A Model of Teaching and Learning Online in the Asian Context. 开放教育研究, (6), 16.
Kuhn, T. L. (2008). Historical foundations of academic advising.
McCroskey, J. C. (1977). Oral communication apprehension: A summary of recent theory and research. Human Communication Research, 4(1), 78–96.
O’Banion, T. (1994). An academic advising model. NaCADA Journal, 14(2), 10–16.
Palmer, P. J. (2017). The courage to teach: Exploring the inner landscape of a teacher’s life. John Wiley & Sons.
Rice, G. E., & Smith, W. (1993). Linking effective counselling and teaching skills. The School Counselor, 40(3), 201–206.
Seiler, W. J. (1978). Communication Apprehension, Students Assistance Outside the Classroom, and Academic Achievement: Some Practical Implications for the Classroom Teacher.
Author: Md. Fouad Hossain Sarkart, Assistant Professor, Department of Development Studies, Faculty of Humanities and Social Science, Daffodil International Universty, Dhaka-1207, Bangladesh