Vice President of the Barbados Association of Guidance Counsellors, Karen Haynes. (GP)

The COVID-19 experience has taught guidance counsellors that they need each other and that positive relationships must be purposefully engendered in order to create environments where students may achieve academic success.

This was emphasised by Vice President of the Barbados Association of Guidance Counsellors, Karen Haynes, today as she addressed a workshop at Erdiston Teacher’s Training College, entitled Building School-Family-Community Partnerships: Maximising your School Counselling Services and Impact.

“The naked truth is that COVID-19 has dealt us all quite a blow and many of our major stakeholders are still reeling from isolation from their peers; feeling overwhelmed by the successive changes and losses and screen fatigue that has been plaguing parents, teachers and students, alike.

“It is therefore important that we put our heads and our hearts together to identify the things that are yet needed and the potential improvements, which may be steadily achieved, over time.… COVID has taught us that one of the key ingredients of positive relationships is communication, whether for virtual or in-person conversations.”

Noting that the workshop would provide guidance counsellors with the opportunity to develop a culturally relevant model for partnerships in education, she commended the main facilitator and former guidance counsellor at The Lodge School, now professor at Pennsylvania State University, Dr. Julia Green Bryan.

Of her, Ms. Haynes said: “Our training is being taught by one who knows and understands the Barbadian context and acknowledges the differences in culture at private and public secondary schools across Barbados. Thus, together we may engineer a culturally appropriate model for establishing partnerships in secondary schools in Barbados.”

The Vice President urged her colleagues to embrace a solutions-oriented approach, as they seek to identify practical solutions based on the knowledge of the peculiar dynamics in their various institutions and at the end of the workshop leave with a sound understanding of the benefits and challenges confronting partnerships.

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