Teacher Perceptions of the Role of School Psychologists: Needs and Expectations

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Reader, Anita
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Mount Saint Vincent University
Teachers working in Nova Scotia were surveyed to determine their perceptions and knowledge of school psychologists and the services they deliver in the province. Teachers’ service needs were also examined. Results of the study indicate that teachers value the psychological services that school psychologists currently provide, but strongly desire an increase in the time dedicated to these services. According to nearly half of the teachers, school psychologists were currently on-site and available for services at their school approximately one day per week. Teachers indicated that they would like school psychologists to be more visible than this, reporting three days per week as ideal. A considerable number of teachers were uncertain about how accessible school psychologists currently were at their school. Teachers were aware of the considerable amount of time school psychologists spend dedicated to psychoeducational assessments, yet favoured an increase in the amount of time school psychologists spend in other service roles. Specifically, teachers expressed a desire for more comprehensive mental health services, especially in the areas of behavior support, prevention, and counselling. Most teachers reported being somewhat knowledgeable about school psychologists’ training and considered school psychologists to be primarily specialists in behavior, but noted that they also received training in cognitive disability, mental health, student learning, and research. Practical implications for school psychologists and school psychologist/teacher collaboration are discussed.
School Psychologists , School counselling