Social and Emotional Counseling
Secondary Counseling at VIS takes a three-pronged approach in that not only is emotional support available to students but also to the care takers of children, the parents and the teachers. The philosophy behind the counseling of students at VIS is that the emotional needs of children go hand in hand with the academic needs. In other words, if students are distracted by an emotional concern it will be difficult to focus their energy and attention on the academic task at hand in the classroom.
The role of the VIS Counselor is to provide social and emotional counseling to the Secondary students. This can be initiated through student request, teacher request, and parental request or via the counselors’ observations. Clear procedures are implemented to ensure that the communication occurs between appropriate parties.
VIS feels that it is important to have available an adult who is viewed as safe and trustworthy by students so that they can talk through troubling issues of concern. Being able to express their worries often allows them to return to the classroom with a greater degree of emotional balance which enables them to work more enthusiastically in the academic realm. It is important to be aware that young people from the ages of 11 to 18 are experiencing profound physical and psychological changes as they move through puberty and into early adulthood. Because of these changes, issues that may seem trivial to an adult take on huge proportions in the mind of an adolescent.
Pastoral care is provided by teachers and the Secondary counselor supports the teachers by meeting with the student at any time via teacher, student or parent request.
Support is provided not only to students but also to parents. The counselor communicates to parents verbally and through an advice column in the school's newsletter Dragon Tales. Parents of Secondary and upper Primary students are also invited to a six-session parenting course facilitated by the counselor. This course helps parents to learn methods of respectful discipline, skills for clear, honest communication, concrete strategies to prevent risky behavior and how to be an encouraging presence in the life of their child.
Career counseling at VIS begins with advisory classes in Grade 6, during which students use a career search website and complete a variety of activities facilitated by their Advisor. By answering a large number of questions online they are given a number of options about careers they might be interested in pursuing. Students can then access online interviews and additional information on each of the careers that have been suggested.
VIS has a career exploration month which culminates with student work experience days outside the school and a careers-tasting morning where members of the community are invited to talk about different aspects of their respective careers.
VIS provides a college counseling service to assist students in searching and applying for colleges and universities all over the world. The counselor also facilitates a college night for parents and students in grades 10 through 12 providing useful information on the transition to college including timelines, advice to parents, explanations of various college systems according to country, and useful websites to use in the college search.