Multicultural Counseling in School

Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences 92 ( 2013 ) 32 – 35 1877-0428 © 2013

Published by Elsevier Ltd. Selection and/or peer-review under responsibility of Lumen Research Center in Social and Humanistic Sciences, Universality Mentality Education Novelty (LUMEN 2013)

Multicultural Counseling in School

The Authors: Alina Anghela, Ramona Adina Lupu

Valahia University of Targoviste, Bd. Carol I, nr. 2, Targoviste, Romania


The paper proposes to underline the role of the multicultural counseling, in the multiethnic school organizations, for the school integration of the different ethnical pupils. For the achievement of this purpose the following general goal was proposed: the analyze of the way in which the proactive valences of the counseling process prevent the situations of personal, educational and social crisis in the multicultural school. There were considered the following explicative paradigms: a) in the context of a majority culture, the native culture of the ethnic group influence the processes of adaptation/rejection of the rules and conventions for its social integration in the educational group ; b) the counselor intervenes professionally for the school integration taking into account the limits of the beneficiaries’ cultural valences; c) in the multicultural school organization, the counselor helps eliminating the discriminative stereotypes and preconceptions and promotes the culture of equality. For this purpose the qualitative type research, using the method of the structured interview, with items corresponding to the following analyze directions: beneficiary – counselor, counselor -beneficiary. On the direction beneficiary – counselor, the analyze unit is represented by the group of different ethnic persons (Bulgarians, Romani, Romanians). The registration unit is the ethnic pupil: Bulgarian, Romani and Romanian, with ages between 10-14. For the research direction counselor – beneficiary, the analyze unit is the counselor of school and professional education. The research underlined the fact that the resistance to change is latent. The rational internalization of the human values eliminate the stereotypes and cultivates tolerance in the context of multiculturalism.

© 2013 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. Selection and/or peer-review under responsibility of Lumen Research Center in Social and Humanistic Sciences, Asociatia Lumen.

Keywords: empathy, consoling, multiculturalism, transcultural aptitudes, cultural influence

Multicultural counseling in educational context – argument

The research problematic in the field of the intercultural education and of interculturality in school as organization focuses more and more frequently on the identification of good educational practices which, once identified and applied in the context of the intervention strategies in crisis situations at educational level, might influence the processes of school adaptation an integration for pupils. The Romanian school, from the perspective of the characteristics of educational groups, is a heterogeneous type school, with elements of multicultural structure (mainly characteristics of ethnical and religious nature). This aspect requires from the educational field actors to adopt in the educational process a working method which to consider also the deviant characteristics * Alina Anghel Tel.:0040 0722874797; E-mail address: Ramona Adina Lupu Tel. 0724376256; e-mail address: Available online at © 2013 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. Selection and/or peer-review under responsibility of Lumen Research Center in Social and Humanistic Sciences, Asociatia Lumen.

from multiculturality: traditions, costumes, habits, values, beliefs etc. in almost all the Romanian schools we identify children with ethnicity and religions which are different from those of the Romanians. The statistic results regarding the population’s ethnical structure1 in Romania, underlines the fact that, a percentage of almost 11% from the majority of the population is of different ethnicity. Most of it belong to the national minority groups which, in history, were exposed to the processes of adaptation and social integration in cultural context. For the children of the families which belong to national minorities but also to those identified in the families of immigrants, at level of educational politics was imposed the necessity of the education for all, respecting the principle of the equal access to quality education. The school has the fundamental mission to allow every child to acquire the necessary competences for normal social adaptation, integration and functionality. In this context, the approach of the educational interventions centered on pupil must take into account, besides the bio-psycho-social particularities which are specific for every person, the cultural ones which are vital in the cohabitation space. The social reality demonstrates, more and more frequently, the presence in the social space of a social problem derived from the perception slide-ups at group or individual level of certain categories of persons or of groups, following their different cultural belonging (ethnical and religious, but not only). These behavioral habits objectivize in: marginalization, exclusion and social branding with negative effects in the process of school and social adaptation and integration. In this context, with the purpose of preventing these problems, appears the necessity of specialized intervention which to support the process of correct construction of the social image in report with the other, between the limits of equality among men. For this purpose, education concentrates in the preuniversity curricula on the one side disciplines focused on the multicultural education problematic, and on the other it recognizes the necessity of developing specific counseling activities which to support the solving of critical, needy situations, registered at individual or group level, following the causes derived from discrimination processes at not only. ,,Whoever says intercultural, necessarily says, starting from the plenary meaning of the prefix: interaction, exchange, opening, reciprocity, objective solidarity. It also says, giving the full meaning of the word culture: recognize of values, of the way of lives, of the symbolic representations at which human beings, individuals or societies report themselves, in their interaction with one another and in the understanding of the world, the recognize of their importance, the identification of interactions which intervene simultaneously between multiple registers of the same culture and between different cultures ” (Micheline Rey, 1984, 153). The specialty literature identifies a multitude of definitions given to the concept of counseling, which it describes as a guided process, of supporting and orienting the beneficiaries in solving certain problems with the purpose of gaining personal autonomy and social nominalization. In educational context, the psychopedagogical counseling “facilitates the learning of some competences and abilities which allow the beneficiary to permanently adapt, through an evolutional change, to the reality’s demands” (Dumitru, 2008, 15). The multicultural counseling in educational space develops in the conditions of undertaking the proactive role by the counselor who teaches, aids, supports the beneficiaries to correctly understand certain types of social behaviors and reactions. As specialized activity, inside school, the multicultural counseling acts both in therapeutic and prevention purpose face to the identified crisis situations and facilitates the optimization of strategies which school might use in actual situations. At multicultural counseling competences level, according to some researchers, identify ,,three levels developed by specialist: the conscience of one’s own suppositions, values and tendencies, understanding the global perspective of the client who is different from cultural perspective and the development of different strategies and techniques”. (Sue, 1998 apud Nelson-Jones Richard, 2009, p.255). In the limits of this analytic frame were built the explanations of the research which evaluates the efficaciousness of the strategies used in multicultural counselin

According to the data offered by INS, at the 2011 census, 88,6% are Romanian, 6,5% Hungarian, 3,2% Romani, followed by: Ukrainians, Germans, Turks, Russians, Lipoveni, Tartars, Bulgarians etc. (


Multicultural counseling in school – case study

Aim of the research
The research initiated from the wish to evidence the importance of multicultural counseling in the school integration of different ethnical pupils, in multicultural school organizations. For this purpose, was formulated the following objective: the analysis of the way in which the proactive valences of the counseling process prevent the situations of personal, educational and social crisis, in the multicultural school institution.

We considered necessary to construction the following explicative paradigms: a) in the context of a majority culture, the ethnical group’s native culture influence the processes of adaptation/rejection of its social integration rules and conventions in the educational group ; b) the counselor intervenes professionally for the school integration considering the limits of the beneficiaries’ cultural valences; c) in the multicultural school organization, the counselor helps eliminate the discriminative stereotypes and prejudices and promotes the equality culture. The explicative theoretical fond is justified in the context of the social influence which, in Germain de Montmollin’s opinion (1977) represents ,,the ensemble of the modifications, judgements, opinions, behaviours, values, models of life intervened following the interaction with an individual or a group”. In this frame, the counselling activity identifies educative-formative valences which facilitate the efficient and durable learning necessary for solving the situations of individual and collective crisis. According to the presented subject, we appreciate that the process of school integration and the school success of the pupils who belong to different ethnies than the majority is a successful one, if the group in which the pupil takes part benefits from programs of proactive multicultural counseling. The process of socialization and sociocultural integration may be understood in terms of appropriating, interiorizing values and norms which are generally human or are specific for a culture or a group (Ilu , 2004, 37).

In order to measure the results of the research, were taken into account the following indicators:

a. Changes in the Romanian pupils’ behavior and attitude face to their Romani and Bulgarian ethnical colleagues;

b. The increase of the social and school adaptation degree of the Romani and Bulgarian pupils.

c. The pupils’ efficient integration in the school and social life;

d. The promotion and development of positive social relations with people around them.

Characteristics of the research: The research we made respected the methodology of an exploratory (Yin,[2003],(2005),32) qualitative type of research, using the method of structured interview, with corresponding items to the following analysis directions: behaviors, attitudes, adaptation, school integration at the level of the beneficiaries – target group, different ethnical pupils (Bulgarians, Romani, Romanians), actively present in the school unit with ages between 10-14 years.

The results’ analysis and interpretation was made considering the operationalization of the concept of ,,proactive counseling”. The identified operational dimensions were: learning and the support offered to the beneficiary/beneficiaries for the purpose of correctly understanding his own behavior and that of the people around. Thus, at the level of the explanation based on the learning mechanism, it was considered that the majority ethnical pupils which were included in programs of intercultural education, developed sentiments of sympathy and attitudes of comfort in the social behavior, inside and outside school, following the correct information and the internalization of the positive elements of the minority’s cultural identity. This fact was not enough in the pupils’ subsequent orientation in the multicultural school group. The intervention for the purpose of modifying attitudes and identifying desirable behaviors focused on counseling techniques which aimed: the visualization of the role inside the group and the recreation of situations in which it was/he was exposed to problems which affected his position. The acknowledgement of the social position and the explanation of expectations through the mechanism of recreating the significant scenes, on the one side helps the beneficiary acknowledge his behavior in report with the other, and on the other side identifies the problems of social adaptation and integration at individual level. Through this method we were able to correct the discriminative behaviors at group level, manifested through: rejection, marginalization, branding. Among the strategies applied with the purpose of changing the negative behaviors at school group level, we also mention the scheme projected by G.J.Blackham and A. Silberman (apud Tom a, 1999, 180),, which follows: positive quench and reinforcement, roles assuming and positive reinforcement, behavioral contact, positive reinforcement and renouncing to reinforcement.

The model used in the counseling process was applied at a number of 48 pupils, with ages between 10- 14 years, from different classes. Among these, 20 were of Romanian ethny, 16 Romani and 12 Bulgarians. The counseling sessions unfolded on a 3 months period with a frequence of 2 hours a week. The pupils were monitored during the 6 months period. For the analyzed case, were observed the following: previously to the process of individual and group counseling, the ethnically majority pupils developed discriminatory behaviors objectivated in: marginalization and branding during the recreational activities, isolation, ,,little churches”, refuse in communication, labeling, rejection, verbal violence, detachment. These behaviors were more intense in the case of the Romanian ethnical children behaviors towards the Romani. The reason they chose such forms of behavior was justified in the context of the differentiation and of respecting the personal beliefs previously implemented and modeled by family. The acknowledgment by the majority pupils of the negative effects that the undesirable behavior towards the minority colleagues by means of the previously described technique, eased the change of the attitude and of the behaviors through: the adoption of attitudes and the development of positive behaviors which eradicated the negative behavioral manifestations previously described. Moreover, the effects of this counseling model facilitated the positive behaviors of the pupils who came from minority ethnic groups. In the same time, the educative speech constantly centered upon autonomy, responsibility and assuming responsibility (Monteil, 1997, 46) presented to the beneficiaries consolidates the vector ,,internality norm”. In this frame was identified a grown development of the adaptation behaviors at different social situational contexts. In the same time, grew the participation at extracurricular activities and the manifestation of self-esteem following the acceptance at the group level. The focusing on the development of the activities in partnership made possible the growth of the scholar success rate also following the development of social competences in multicultural context. The counseling process in multicultural context and focused on the elimination of discrimination based on ethnical and religious criteria was successfully completed in the sessions of multicultural education.


The research evidenced the fact that the resistance to change is in latent state. The rational internalization of the human values, eliminate the stereotypes and cultivate acceptance in the context of multicultural living together. This aspect leads to the confirmation of the work hypothesis.


Dumitru, Ion Al. (2008). Consiliere psihopedagogic . Baze teoretice i sugestii practice. Ia i: Ed. Polirom. Ilu , P. (2004). Valori, atitudini i comportamente sociale. Teme actuale de psihosociologie. Ia i: Ed. Polirom. Monteil, J.M. [1989](1997). Educa ie i formare. Perspective psihosociale. Ia i: Ed. Polirom. Montmollin, (1977). L’influence sociale. Phenomenness, facteurs et theories. Paris:PUF Nelson-Jones Richard. [2007](2009). Manual de consiliere. Buc.: Ed.Trei Rey, M., (1999), „De la Logica „mono” la logica de tip „inter”. Piste pentru o educa ie intercultural i solidar ”. , Ia i: Ed. Polirom Tom a, Gh. (1999). Consilierea i orientarea în col . Buc.: Ed. Casa de Editur i Pres Via a Românesc . Yin, Robert K. [2003](2005). Studiul de caz.Designul, colectarea i analiza datelor. Ia i: Ed. Polirom