3NCGE NEWS Winter 2011GeneralDirector's NoteAs guidance professionals, we support our students/clients to reflect on their learning - what they have learned, how they have learned, what plans they have for learning and what they will do with that learning, As guidance professionals we too engage in reflective practice; what have I learned from working with my student/client/group, how can I better help them the next time and what learning could I engage in to support my practice further.This reflective practice, whether as an individual or as part of a group remains specific to us and our direct clients. That is until we choose to share the learning. Documenting our experiences, engaging in action research or participating in facilitated group discussions, surveys, interviews, workshops or focus groups enriches our practice in guidance counselling because we can learn from one another. Throughout this issue of NCGE news, we hear first-hand from guidance counsellors about their experiences of professional development, the methodology used, the resources relied upon or the programmes they took part in. Guidance counsellors engaged in guidance in higher education, post-primary schools, colleges of further education, adult education or in the labour market system have developed models of guidance for the target groups they work with. Some have shared with us how participation in mobility projects such as Academia, Grundtvig and Comenius have helped them to exchange information, collaborate and establish links to guidance networks. In addition to their professional development, we hear of the personal impact these study visits can have.Welcome to the Winter 2011 / Issue 36 of NCGE News Online.
4GeneralDirector's Note continuedNCGE NEWS Winter 2011Closer to home, NCGE designed and delivered the Whole School Guidance Programme specifically for the Colleges of Further Education sector in conjunction with CDVEC. One participant shares her experiences and learning from the programme. In the article for Primary Education, we highlight the 'Nana' model of play therapy, developed in the USA which reflects a whole school approach to student support. While there is no formal guidance provision in primary schools in Ireland, support teachers work closely with classroom teachers to support those children who, for a wide range of reasons, are struggling with the school environment. As Peter Hyde concludes in his article on action research, 'by engaging in action research and by sharing it guidance counsellors are giving a voice not only to their profession and expertise but also to their students and schools.' If we take the idea of giving a voice to the profession, the launch of the National Forum on Guidance provides an opportunity for dialogue and the chance to develop and establish networks of guidance professionals. The more sharing of information and resources, across the education and labour market sectors, the clearer and louder this voice becomes, at local, national and European level. Part of the NCGE remit is to promote the implementation of best practice in guidance and counselling in both formal and non-formal settings in accordance with national priorities and to advise on policy and strategies for the promotion of a continuum of guidance in the context of lifelong learning. Through analysis and reflection of our own work, we seek to improve and develop the resources available for guidance professionals. In this issue we showcase the re-developed NCGE Whole School Guidance Planning Virtual Learning Environment and actively share and seek your feedback for the re-development of our NCGE Guidance Counsellor handbook. As guidance professionals, we support our clients to reflect and make decisions and plans based on their learning. However, as guidance professionals, we support each other by sharing our experiences and our own learning. As always, we in NCGE welcome your comments on this edition of NCGE News online and how we can further support you in your work.Is mise le measJennifer McKenzieDirector