The concerned group in this activity is a group of middle school students in a public school, exposed to domestic violence in their homes. The rationale for the choice of this topic is recognition of the fact that domestic violence is real. It does not only affect parents, but it also affects children. Nowadays, numerous cases of domestic violence are reported every day. These include wife/husband battery, sexual molestation of children by their parents, specifically fathers, and excess beating of children by their parents. These affect children in a different way, including the ability to concentrate on their studies at school. This paper discusses some of the ways a counselor can use to deepen focus on the topic of domestic violence in a group of middle school students in a public school.
Many middle students are usually between the ages of 9 and 14. At this age, they may lack the courage to come out and discuss their problems, especially home-related problems with their peers or school counselors. This is because they lack adequate understanding for the occurrence of issues such as domestic violence; how the violence may affect them, psychologically and physically, or how sharing of such problems may be of help to them. Based on these reasons, the middle students may lack deep focus on the topic, even if somebody volunteered and encouraged them to talk about the issue and prompted the victims to share their problems in order to get assistance.
One of the methods that a counselor can use to deepen focus on the topic is use narrations or other form of art during meetings with the students (Jacobs et al., 2011). Here, the counselor can narrate a story of a family suffering from domestic violence, and mention some of the effects of violence to the children. In addition, the counselor can mention in the narrative, how the children in the family sought help. Contrary, the counselor can use role-plays, where the group members participate in imaginary cases of domestic violence. Here, the counselor only assigns the roles to the participants but does not tell them what to say. Instead, the counselor asks them to assume the roles assigned and imagine what happens in cases of domestic violence. These encourage the participants to express their points of view.. This is because; an individual, who experiences domestic violence can easily participate in role-play or even narrate a story based on personal experiences. This way, victims of domestic violence are able to share their problems, thus deepening focus on the topic.
As students participate in these activities, the counselor should observe the participants’ emotional changes. This is because; it is likely that a victim of domestic violence can be too emotional while expressing his/herself through narratives or role-plays. This way, the counselor is able to assist the victims of domestic violence, depending on their emotional balance. For instance, for those who are too emotional about it, the counselor can offer private counseling and more personalized assistance. This is also another way of deepening focus on the topic.
Another method that a counselor can use to encourage deep focus on the topic is offer incentives to the participants (Jacobs et al., 2011). For example, the counselor can offer to reward a participant who volunteers to give information about a fellow group member or even a schoolmate, who is a victim of domestic violence but fears to share the information. In addition, for fear of victimization, the counselor can assure protection of the identity of the participants who volunteer such information. This can encourage the participants to offer more information and even participate in the group’s activities without fear or shyness.
Feedback mechanism is also another way of deepening focus on a topic (Marzano, 2008). Here, the counselor should allow the participants to provide their feedback freely without time or method restrictions. This means that a participant can provide feedback at any time during group discussions or after group discussions/meetings. In addition, a participant can use any method to provide feedback. These may include face-to-face communication, telephone calls, or written information. This would encourage the participants to express their feelings, give ideas, opinions, or suggestions freely. Besides, free feedback allows the counselor to notice where the participants need more information as well as their understanding level. The counselor can adjust the approaches used to deliver information to the group or tailor his/her teaching approaches in order to connect more with the participants. This creates an environment whereby the participants and the counselor are able to deepen their focus on the subject matter.