Title

RACE IN PREDOMINATELY WHITE SCHOOLS: IMPLICATIONS FOR SCHOOL COUNSELORS AND COUNSELOR EDUCATORS

Conference Strand

Teaching, Training, and Supervision

Abstract

The authors discuss their study of school counselors utilizing Critical Race and whiteness theories. In the study, seven participants were interviewed from predominately white schools on the topic of discussion about race. Six broad themes gathered from the data will be discussed: lack of knowledge, exposure, prevalence, avoidance, tolerance/competence, and counselor roles.Considerations for counselor education programs will be examined.

Description

Research in the area of racial and multicultural competence within predominately white Kindergarten through 12th grade school settings is severely missing from academic literature (Chandler, 2009; Chandler & McKnight, 2009). A critical piece of multicultural education includes the concepts of whiteness, white fragility, and racism. In predominately white schools, whiteness and white fragility are issues that add another layer of difficulty to school counselors’ implementation of social justice advocacy curriculum. But, it is also important to look at these issues within the school counselor's themselves.

In the research conducted by one of the presenters, school counselors were interviewed to gather data about not just their own practice of discussion and educating about issues related to race within their schools, but also on their personal knowledge of the concepts. One major theme derived from the data was that the school counselors interviewed had a severe lack of knowledge regarding the concepts of race/racism, including institutional racism.

The presenters aim to discuss these findings in depth, along with the importance of including these topics in teaching, training, and supervision of counseling students. Practical implementations will be included.

Objectives of the presentation:

- Participants will learn of a qualitative study conducted using interview questions to garner information from school counselors in predominately white K-12 schools

- Participants will leave with a better understanding of the lack of knowledge some school counselors reported having about issues of race and racism

- Participants will hear from presenters regarding the work that needs to be done in counselor education programs in order to prepare students to have a better understanding of race and how it affects them and their practice

- Participants will gather practical knowledge they can utilize within their respective counselor education programs in order to assist in developing more culturally-competent, and race-competent, students

Evidence

Many researchers and authors reported that conversations about race are either being avoided or are poorly managed in K-12 schools (Brown & Brown, 2010; Chandler & McKnight, 2009; Lintner, 2004; Burrell & Walsh, 2001; ; Loewen, 2007; Zimmerman, 2004). Many of them pointed to the fact that there is a discrepancy in actual historical events and the ways in which history is actually taught and written about (Burrell &Walsh, 2001; Zimmerman, 2004; Brown & Brown, 2010). In order for school counselors to have a rich understanding of the competence level of students, it is important to understand what they are learning about race, or lack thereof.

Gordon (2010) asserted that teacher and counselor carelessness about race would not just hurt and impact children of color but also would not equip white children to challenge racist realities. Gordon alleged, “Discussions about race are often avoided to protect the pleasant relationships among colleagues at the expense of adopting racially conscious approaches to teaching and learning” (p. 149). Bemak and Chung (2008) essentially described this phenomenon when they coined the term the Nice Counselor Syndrome, or NCS. In this phenomenon, for a plethora of different reasons, white counselors avoid discussing concepts like race, racism, and whiteness with students and staff.

The Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP, 2016) provides guidelines for counseling programs seeking accreditation on how to structure their counseling programs; this includes guidelines on incorporating important content into mandatory classes. According to CACREP, one key part of the counseling curriculum is “Social and Cultural Diversity,” with eight subsections of this topic. These subsections include concepts like theories and models, power and privilege, oppression and discrimination.

One practical consideration, presented by Chao (2013) was that programs need to better address training needs or issues of colorblind racial attitudes of students, as viewed through the student participants of this study on multicultural counseling competence. This, and other practical considerations, will be discussed in the presentation.

Format

Individual Presentations

Biographical Sketch

Katelyn MG Richey, PhD, LPCA, NCC, Assistant Professor, School of Professional Counseling, Lindsey Wilson College. Before working as a counselor educator, Katelyn worked as a clinician in community mental health, as a school-based counselor, and as a school counselor for two years. Quentin Hunter, PhD, LPCA, NCC, Assistant Professor, School of Professional Counseling, Lindsey Wilson College. Previous to working as a counselor educator, Quentin worked as a counselor at a VA hospital, in a clinical mental health setting, and at a school-based setting.

Chris Baxter, M.Ed, Certified School Counselor, Doctoral Student, North Carolina State University. Before entering his doctoral program, Chris spent 3 years as a school counselor.

Location

Session Three Breakouts: Hampton B

Start Date

2-7-2020 2:30 PM

End Date

2-7-2020 3:45 PM

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Feb 7th, 2:30 PM Feb 7th, 3:45 PM

RACE IN PREDOMINATELY WHITE SCHOOLS: IMPLICATIONS FOR SCHOOL COUNSELORS AND COUNSELOR EDUCATORS

Session Three Breakouts: Hampton B

The authors discuss their study of school counselors utilizing Critical Race and whiteness theories. In the study, seven participants were interviewed from predominately white schools on the topic of discussion about race. Six broad themes gathered from the data will be discussed: lack of knowledge, exposure, prevalence, avoidance, tolerance/competence, and counselor roles.Considerations for counselor education programs will be examined.