ERIC Identifier: ED315699
Publication Date: 1990-00-00
Author: Ellis, Thomas I.
Source: ERIC Clearinghouse on
Counseling and Personnel Services Ann Arbor MI.
The Missouri Comprehensive Guidance Model. Highlights: An
Traditional organizational patterns for school guidance have emphasized the
position and duties of the counselor or the therapeutic process of counseling,
at the expense of a coherent programmatic focus. As a consequence, guidance has
been widely regarded as an ancillary support service, rather than as an integral
part of education. This pattern has placed counselors in a remedial and reactive
role, a role in which their duties were ill-defined, large blocks of time were
spent working with a small number of students, and they were likely to be
saddled with extra administrative and clerical duties, such as scheduling and
In response to this widespread lack of an appropriate organizational
structure, Norman C. Gysbers and associates at the University of Missouri
(Columbia) developed a Comprehensive Guidance Program Model that has been
adopted by schools and statewide educational agencies throughout the country,
from Alaska to New Hampshire (Starr & Gysbers, 1988). The purpose of the
model is to help districts develop comprehensive and systematic developmental
guidance programs, kindergarten through grade twelve. It is also to provide
guidance with specific educational content, with accountability for attaining
certain student competencies. When fully implemented, the program allows
counselors to devote all their time to the program, thus eliminating many of the
non-guidance related tasks that they now carry out.
WHAT ARE THE COMPONENTS OF THE PROGRAM?
Comprehensive Guidance Program Model has two major parts: structural and
programmatic. The structural part has five components: Definition and
Philosophy, Facilities, Advisory Council, Resources, and Staffing Patterns and
Budget. This part addresses administrative aspects of the program that do not
involve contact with students, but are essential in maintaining the
administrative and structural integrity of the overall program.
The programmatic part has four components: Guidance Curriculum, Individual
Planning, Responsive Services, and System Support. The Guidance Curriculum
consists of structured developmental experiences presented systematically
through classroom activities, to provide students with knowledge of normal
growth and development and to promote good mental health and assist them in
acquiring life skills. The curriculum is organized around (1) career planning
and exploration; (2) knowledge of self and others; and (3) educational
The Individual Planning component consists of activities that help all
students set goals, plan, and manage their own learning, as well as their
personal and career development. Conversely, the Responsive Services component
consists of activities to meet students' immediate needs and concerns, whether
these require counseling, consultation, referral, or information.
The System Support component consists of management activities that
establish, maintain, and enhance the guidance program as a whole through
professional development, staff and community relations, consultation with
teachers, advisory councils, community outreach, program management, and
research and development.
WHAT IS THE CONTENT OF THE COMPREHENSIVE GUIDANCE PROGRAM MODEL?
The Comprehensive Guidance Program Model is predicated on the
concept of life career development, defined as self-development through the
integration of roles, settings, and events in a person's life (Gysbers &
Moore, 1975). (The concept of "career" refers to one's whole life, and not just
occupation.) The program emphasizes three domains of human growth in life career
development: self-knowledge and interpersonal skills; life roles, settings, and
events; and life career planning.
In the self-knowledge and interpersonal skills domain, the focus is on
helping students to understand and accept themselves and others, and to become
aware of their personal characteristics--interests, aspirations, and abilities.
Through learning about the interactive relationship of self and environment,
they learn how to create and maintain relationships, and they develop personal
standards and a sense of purpose in life.
The second domain emphasizes various life roles (learner, citizen, consumer),
settings (home, school, work, and community), and events (job entry, marriage,
retirement) in which students participate over their life span. This domain
focuses on the sociological, psychological, and economic structure of their
world, and encourages students to overcome stereotypes and plan for the future.
The Life Career Planning domain is designed to help students understand that
decision making and planning are important tasks in everyday life. Students
learn of the many occupations and industries in the work world. Students also
develop skills in gathering information from relevant sources and using that
information to make reasoned decisions. Students are also encouraged to assess
their personal values as these relate to prospective plans and decisions.
WHO SHOULD BE INVOLVED IN THE PROGRAM?
teachers, administrators, parents, students, community members, and business and
labor personnel all have roles to play as human resources in the guidance
program. While counselors provide the services and coordinate the program, they
must enlist the involvement, cooperation, and support of teachers and
administrators for the program to be successful, for the program is predicated
on an assumption that guidance is central to the educational process. To involve
parents, community members, and business and labor personnel, a school-community
advisory committee can be formed to provide recommendations and support services
to counselors and others involved in the program.
The involvement of the teaching staff is critical, so teachers should have
the opportunity to volunteer for active participation in program planning and
implementation. Counselors and teachers should work together to plan the
delivery of the guidance curriculum, so that guidance learning activities are
presented in the appropriate content areas, and so that teachers do not feel
displaced by counselors in the classroom.
WHAT FACILITIES ARE NEEDED?
Furthermore, to make the
guidance curriculum, individual planning, responsive services, and system
support components function effectively, the program requires a new way to
organize guidance program facilities. Besides the usual individual offices for
one-to-one counseling sessions, the program requires reorganization of space
into a guidance center, which brings together guidance information and resources
and makes them accessible to students. Such a center could also be used for such
activities as group sessions and self-exploration. The guidance center could
also include a library and/or computerized database, providing advice and
materials for career planning, educational opportunities, community involvement,
and recreational opportunities.
HOW CAN SCHOOLS BEST IMPLEMENT A COMPREHENSIVE GUIDANCE PROGRAM?
Step 1. Sell the model to the counselors in the department,
since those participating in it must feel some ownership. According to Gloria
Morgan, who has implemented the Missouri model in two high schools,
approximately three years is needed to implement a comprehensive guidance
program (Gysbers, 1990). Because many counselors and administrators resist
change, it is essential to lay the groundwork for implementation by thoroughly
discussing the program in advance with all affected staff members.
Step 2. Develop an inservice workshop for teachers, so that faculty will
understand and support the purposes of the Comprehensive Guidance Program.
Step 3. Launch a public relations program to inform students, parents, and
the community about proposed changes in the guidance program. This can be done
through workshops, talks at local civic groups, newspaper articles, and even
local television spots.
Step 4. Conduct a thorough assessment of the current guidance program,
including available resources, both human and financial. This means evaluating
the time and task allocation of the counseling staff, and taking inventory of
Step 5. Conduct a needs assessment, including a survey of students, parents,
and teachers, in order to help counselors identify important program categories
and competencies in the three major areas around which the guidance curriculum
is organized: career planning and exploration, knowledge of self and others, and
educational and vocational development. The self-assessment and needs evaluation
both provide baseline information to use in designing the new program along the
lines of the model, but in a way that addresses the needs of each school.
Step 6. Develop the guidance curriculum, introducing specific competencies
sequentially. In the initial planning stages of the curriculum, it is best to
concentrate on cooperative departments and teachers, and to plan the entire
year's curriculum in advance, if possible. The guidance curriculum is usually
the most difficult part of the program to implement, because it must fit in with
existing curricular constraints, and must overcome the reluctance of teachers to
give up class time or to alter and supplement their existing instructional
plans. It is thus essential to seek administrative support, be well organized,
and give teachers as much advance notice as possible.
Step 7. Establish a coherent annual evaluation procedure that assesses
attainment of student competencies, personnel performance, and the achievement
of program goals.
According to Gysbers and Henderson (1988), the
Comprehensive Guidance Model is intended, above all, to lead to guidance
activities and structured group experiences for all students, and to
de-emphasize administrative, clerical tasks, reliance on reactive personal
counseling, and limited accountability. To fully implement the model program, it
is essential that all constituencies understand the following characteristics: -
that the program is oriented toward overall student development, rather than ad
hoc crisis management; - that the four programmatic components constitute 100%
of the counselor's activities, with no add-ons; - that guidance is an integral
part of the overall curriculum, and not an ancillary service; - that the focus
is on the program, rather than the counselor's position, and on education,
rather than clinical or agency-based assistance.
Gysbers, N. C. (1990). Comprehensive guidance
programs that work. Ann Arbor, MI: ERIC Counseling and Personnel Services Clearinghouse, The University of Michigan.
Gysbers, N. C., & Henderson, P. (1988). Developing and managing your school guidance program. Alexandria, VA: American Association for Counseling and Development.
Gysbers, N. C., & Moore, E. J. (1975). Beyond career development---life career development. Personnel and Guidance Journal, 53, 647-652.
Starr, M. F., & Gysbers, N. C. (1988). Missouri Comprehensive Guidance: A model for program development, implementation and evaluation. Jefferson City: Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.