Every child can be a counsellor
Aditi Mathur and Ratnesh Mathur
- The child gets multiple opportunities to look inside herself/himself, inside others, understand the labyrinth of emotions, thoughts, opinions, behaviours, images, beliefs, etc., that people go through in life.
- The child learns important counselling skills which he/she can use in all future relationships.
- The dynamics of any peer to peer interaction is qualitatively different when compared to any adult-child interaction. This is why peer to peer counselling can often provide what adult counselling may lack. Aspects such as bonding, listening, relating, trusting, perspectives, etc., are all different and hence have the potential to add richness to any child’s journey in life.
- Peer to peer counselling is free, available most of the time and in a group, there are many friends whom the child can approach.
- We believe collaborative learning is an extremely beneficial approach – hence a peer to peer counselling system helps the overall learning environment in any school.
At Aarohi there are no counsellors, rather everybody is a counsellor. Every child realizes that he or she can be a counsellor to anybody and in turn anybody can counsel the child. And that is life.
- One to one counselling: Children choose their partner/s or are allotted a partner. Typically the time slot is short, say ten minutes per child – so a pair takes 20 minutes totally.
- Pool of counsellors: Another option is to invite some children to volunteer themselves as counsellors – so either at class or at school level you would have a team of counsellors and from this pool, any child of the school can choose a counsellor for a one to one session. These sessions can be of any duration – usually decided mutually between the two children.
The authors run an open unschool called Aarohi and invite all readers to visit and see how open learning can be an amazing way to work with children. They also conduct training retreats and online training for teachers and parents. Visit www.aarohilife.org.