Adopting a relational leadership as a strategy for empowering teacher counsellors: A pathway to promoting learners’ well-being and empowerment
This paper explores how schools in the 21st century can position themselves such that they facilitate the achievement of sustainable development goals (SDGs). It is actually the mandate of global education systems and schools to address and ensure achievement of SDGs, particularly SDG4; that aims at quality education that ensures inclusivity and equity for promotion of lifelong learning. This paper fits in this context as it aims at addressing guidance and counselling provision and teacher counsellors’ empowerment in Lesotho schools, viewing guidance and counselling from a point of view that it is an educational service that supports and facilitates achievement of educational goals. While global education systems are committed towards achievement of sustainable development goals it is essential that schools consider ways in which they can strengthen learners support structures more than ever before. This paper argues for teacher counsellors’ empowerment as a means of strengthening of guidance and counselling provision. The paper recognises the critical role of teachers beyond content delivery-towards promoting learners’ well-being and empowerment. The paper views teacher counsellors’ empowerment to be very critical to promoting learners’ well-being and empowerment in the midst of complex societal challenges that seem to threaten their academic journeys, well-being and life in general. A thematic analysis of data generated through a qualitative semi structured interviews, focus group discussion and dialogue with teachers participating in in-service BEd Honours programme (Educational Psychology) at National University of Lesotho (NUL) revealed that some of the challenges such as working in isolation, feelings of inadequacy and lack of empowerment contribute to teacher counsellors’ failure to provide effective guidance and counselling services to learners. The discussions also pointed to the need for empowering leadership in schools. Informed by Ubuntu/Botho theory and Asset-based theory this paper proposes purposeful adoption of relational leadership in Lesotho’ schools as a strategy for teacher counsellors’ empowerment towards promotion of learners’ well-being and empowerment.
Keywords: Relational leadership, guidance and counselling, teacher counsellors, well-being, empowerment, Ubuntu/Botho and Asset-based theory