Our Commitment to your Teaching and Learning
We are committed to continually developing our teaching and learning practice to ensure each students learning experience is positive, and consistently of a high standard.
Students will find that the bar of challenge is high in relation to our counsellor training process. This is because of the range of academic content required to sustain working with a richer repertoire of human experience, and also due to the experiential nature of the course. Whilst it is anticipated students will have positive insights and experiences throughout the course, difficult thoughts, emotions and physical sensations may sometimes arise (see contraindications below). This range of experience complements the work you will eventually do in practice as Psychospiritual counsellors. We will aim to promote and support healthy struggle, and enjoyment in learning new things. Through challenge, you will be able to develop both your knowledge and skills as a counsellor.
We are committed to developing the academic agility and ability of students to respond to different assessments with confidence. To improve your success, we encourage cultivation of the VESPA mind-set (Vision, Effort, Systems, Practice and Attitude). Students who are successful know what they want to achieve (VISION), and complete required hours of independent study (EFFORT). They also organise their learning resources and time (SYSTEMS), practice and develop their skills (PRACTICE), and respond constructively with professionalism to challenge (ATTITUDE).
In classes, students will experience high quality explanation that activates and connects new learning to prior knowledge of counselling. This takes into account that new information is best learnt in small steps. We will endeavour to explain complicated and abstract material in as simple and clear way as possible. Where practical, we will ground theoretical knowledge in experiential practice. This will aid your long-term recall of knowledge, and its application in the therapy room.
Tutors will regularly model counselling processes in lessons, ensuring you understand the steps taken to achieve particular outcomes. This will enable you to identify how each step fits together to produce high quality work. In addition, through the use of case studies and published articles on research and counselling theory, we aim for students to develop skill at critically appraising previous work in the field. This will enable you to understand how knowledge has been applied in practice, as well as its ethical dimensions.
Your study and skills practice are essential to learning. There will be regular opportunities to practise new material in careful and deliberate ways to increase accuracy, quality of knowledge, and eliminate misconceptions. Time is given in lessons to practise new material in meaningful ways. Throughout the course, emphasis is placed on hard work and effortful mastery. You will be encouraged to value making mistakes, and to see them as opportunities for learning.
Constructive feedback is integral to the growth mind-set of all students. We will create an environment where a combination of constructive and courteous feedback (from tutors and your peers), aids student understanding of theory and its application. You will be trained in how to respond effectively to feedback. Much of this will take place in class where verbal feedback is given as part of exercises. Tutors will provide useful comments and suggestions to help foster independent learning.
We believe that questioning from the perspective of an open and curious mindset, drives excellence in order to deepen and develop students understanding. Tutors will use questioning to provoke thought, instigate discussion, challenge misconceptions, and derive best practice. Questioning sustains the learning culture of the Institute, and demonstrates that everyone’s opinions matter. We aim to nurture our students as critical thinkers.
What we expect from you
Tutors expect that students will:
Come prepared with all necessary materials (i.e. class notes, assignment guidelines, textbooks, writing drafts, flash drive, stationary etc.).
Arrival & Absences
All sessions start promptly at 9:30am, and finish at 4:30pm. Students are permitted to arrive and enter the classroom a couple of minutes early, but only if ready to engage and learn (students do not enter the classroom to socialise). If the lesson is virtual, students should access the Zoom session at least 10 minutes before the class start time. This gives time to sort any technology issues.
If you encounter problems accessing the lesson, make sure to text your tutor. They will likely not be checking emails once the class has started. If you are running late, you should also text your tutor to inform them directly rather than inform indirectly through colleagues/peers (i.e. members of your study group). If late, students should wait outside the room (or in the waiting room if virtual), to be permitted at the tutors discretion.
If you miss a class, students are to liaise in the first instance, with their study group and obtain any notes and instructions on assignments covered. Note, students must attend at least 80% of scheduled sessions as part of the successful completion of the course. Students falling below this threshold will need to apply to remit study (please refer to the student handbook).
As students are studying for a professional qualification, they must dress appropriately (as they would in professional practice). Students should also be active participants in the lesson. We encourage students to ask questions, listen and reflect on answers. We require students to be respectful and courteous to tutors and peers at all times, and to commit to upholding the values of the Institute. Students must be patient, considerate, and respectful to both tutors and peers during the the course.
Students are encouraged to be punctual to class and back from break/lunch. The session will restart at the correct time whether all students are back promptly or not. During virtual classes, students will be able to access a designated breakout room during breaks. However, in virtual classes, students are encouraged to take a proper screen break to reduce fatigue and strain on the eyes. Additional short screen breaks will be provided during virtual classes.
Students must not rescue each other. If a student requires time-out from a lesson, they may leave the training room, but other students (or tutors) are not to follow. If a student wishes to leave the training venue early, they must first inform their tutor in-person prior to leaving the site. Students must not leave and inform the tutor retrospectively.
Completing written assignments
Attempt your written assignments on your own before bringing it to members of your study group, or if this does not help, a tutor for guidance. A tutor cannot do your work for you, but they will work with you. When required, tutors will respond within 24 hours to any queries raised.
All assignments are graded according to a set marking scale (please refer to the student handbook). If an assignment is not passed, the student can amend and resubmit as many times as is necessary. Students can work at their own pace throughout the course. However, falling behind the set schedule for submitting assignments is not recommended.
As an Institute, we would prefer students not to use AI tools such as ChatGPT to complete written assignments. This is because of the highly personal nature of many assignments within the course, and we want learners to get the full benefit of their own efforts, exploration and self-reflection. However, if a student does use AI tools to help complete assignments, they must not use such tools to commit plagiarism (please refer to student handbook).
It's students responsibility to familiarise themselves with the advantages and disadvantages of using ChatGPT for learning. AI tools are to be used only as an assistive tool for writing. For example, ChatGPT is powered by a particular data set that has limitations. Using ChatGPT to conduct simple information searches (like using other search engine tools), can help students see what kind of information they can and cannot find using AI. However, as ChatGPT outputs text in an authoritative tone, some students may incorrectly assume that all information generated is accurate. It is not. The reality is that the ChatGPT data set is limited, and has been known to present false data and misinformation. Students are therefore strongly recommended to reflect critically on any information ChatGPT generates. Used correctly, ChatGPT can provide generative starting ideas for helping students pre-write or brainstorm ideas for an assignment. Whilst the content supplied by ChatGPT may be inaccurate, it may be a useful aid for reflection, and/or to explore the expectations for the assignment or task.
Finally, as trainee counsellors, students should be mindful of the ethical implications to engaging with ChatGPT's dataset as its development depends on exploited human labour and copyright breaches. Large Language Models (LLMs), such as ChatGPT, require considerable computing power that only major tech companies can financially sustain. Running any technology with major computing processes on this scale has an environmental impact.
Complaints, Disagreements & Appeals
If a student has an issue with another student, we encourage them to firstly try and resolve any issues amicably between themselves (often a safe environment to do this is within process group). If this does not resolve the issue, the tutor will mediate/facilitate an impartial discussion. If a student has an issue with a tutor, the tutor will negotiate a time to meet the student and find a resolution. If this is unsuccessful, a different tutor will mediate/facilitate impartial discussion. If no resolution is reached, the student may make a formal complaint to the external evaluator for the course who will investigate on the students behalf.
If a student disagrees with the decision given by a tutor regarding their coursework, the student has the right to appeal. The stages of the appeal are to: (i) speak with the relevant tutor to gain further insight into both parties perspective on the mark given (ii) if the student is not satisfied with the tutor's explanation said student can appeal to the centre IQA (iii) if the student is still unsatisfied with the decision given by the IQA, said student can appeal to the relevant director of the Training Centre, whose decision is final. Please not that all appeals must be submitted to the training centre in writing.
Health & Safety
All tutors and students must be compliant with health and safety legislation, and other policies in operation within the training venue. For example, upon hearing the fire alarm, the venue fire procedures are to be adhered to in full. Anyone wanting to smoke must leave the training venue, or use the designated smoking area if one is provided.