ASSESSMENT OF COUNSELLING STRATEGIES USED FOR REMEDYING
DEVIANT BEHAVIOURS AMONG STUDENTS IN ANAMBRA STATE.
NWADINOBI VERA NKIRU (MRS)
DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY
NWAFOR ORIZU COLLEGE OF EDUCATION NSUGBE.
The study was aimed at determining the various counselling strategies used for remedying
deviant behaviours among students and whether these strategies are adequate enough to
remedy deviant behaviour among students. The study was a survey design. Tlie population
consisted of all the guidance counsellors in Onitsha Education Zone of Anambra State.
There was no sampling because of the fewness of the counsellors. Two research questions
guided the study. The major instrument for data collection was questionnaire, Tlie research
instrument was a 4-point Liken type scale of measure, which was in two sections,
christened Counselling Strategies for Remedying Deviant Behaviour (CSRDB). Mean
scores were used to answer the research questions. The findings indicate that the
counselling strategies that are most adequate for remedying deviant behaviour among
students include individual counselling, cognitive restructuring and reward used for
encouraging good behaviour. Recommendations and conclusion were made based on the
findings, which includes that these, counselling strategies be used more frequently to
remedy deviant behaviours while punishment should
Deviant behaviour among students today, especially in our secondary schools,
has become a matter of concern for a good many formators, especially the guidance
counsellors. In fact one may be tempted to say that deviant behaviour has become a
cancer eating deep into the fabric of Nigeria's Educational System. Professionally,
deviant behaviour could be classified as those behaviours of students, Which interfere
with their optimal functioning and actualization of their potentials (Nwosu, 1997).
Okorodudu (2006) submits that deviant behaviour connotes a very clear
departure from acceptable norms established within the family unit, school, community,
peer groups, clubs, social organizations, employment organizations and in the larger
societies. Okobia (1992) looking at students deviant behaviour saw it as those
behaviours exhibited frequently and persistently in the classroom, which hinders the
teachers effectiveness, students learning, and positive interpersonal relationship. Some
of such behaviours are; calling teachers provocative nick names, walking out on the
teacher, noise making, sleeping in the class and pinching. Others include aggression,
vandalism, pilfering, lies, truancy, unpunctuality, irresponsibility, cheating, immorality,
alcoholism, use ""of dru5.s, cultism and examination malpractice.
The above could be classified as disruptive and undesirable which is capable of
rendering the young adolescent useless both to himself, his family and the society at
large. No matter how one interprets these unholy behaviour among students in
secondary schools, the fact remains that it is a state of disregard to laid down rules and
regulations. Teachers, Parents and Guidance Counsellors have always tried to find out
ways of solving the problem of deviant behaviours among students, yet the scourge still
remains and refused to be jettisoned.
Guidance and Counselling has always been a discipline meant to assist students
or individuals who have problems in any facet of life so that the goal of education
which is the production of all round individual could be attained. Iwuama (1991) points
out that if our society is not to be plagued by a brood of disgruntled, frustrated and
unrealistic individuals, secondary school students should be exposed to available
opportunities and social expectations in the country through career guidance and
counselling. Deviant behaviour as pointed out can affect both the individual and society
negatively. To remedy this situation, it needs therapeutic programme to help remedy
such maladaptive behaviour exhibited in the individual. Behaviour therapy according to
Essuman (1988) and Okobia (1989) will reduce undesirable behaviour through
counselling techniques and procedures of experimental science and clinical practices.
Nwogu (2007) wring on truancy which is also a deviant behaviour reported that there
has been such application as scolding, denial of love, corporal punishment, suspension
and expulsion meted by both the school authorities and parents to reduce or eliminate
truancy which appeared not to have lasting effect. Anagbogu (1991) pointing out the
place of counsellors in correcting behaviour problems submits that teacher counsellor
by utilizing individual counselling techniques can help the child improve his/her
behaviour problems. She went on to say that counselling is a learning process designed
to increase adaptive behaviour and to exterminate maladaptive behaviour.
Deviant behaviour of all kinds is a serious problem which interferes with
student's optimum development socially, psychologically, educationally and
emotionally. It poses a very big problem both for the home and the school authority.
Oftentimes, as Bolarin (1996) observed, the effects are remarkably felt on the
adolescent academic achievement as this is manifested according to him in constant
poor grade in class and repetition of classes. Nwosu (1997), on his part remarks that
truancy can make the child not to benefit from formal school setting as well as creating
problems for the teacher who spends most of his time identifying the deviant pupils and
administering appropriate punishment.
Most secondary schools in Onitsha Zone are plagued with this deviant behaviour
ranging from truancy, drug use and abuse, to other delinquent acts. It is becoming
rampant and if allowed to continue, could lead to the production of irresponsible
children who are most likely to engage in crime and other social vices. It could even
aggravate the problem of moral decadence which our society is almost known To th-is
end therefore, this researcher is out to find out the counselling strategies '-available for
remedying the problem of deviance among students and then whether these strategies
are effective enough for making these deviants better human beings.
This study will go a long way in reducing the problem of deviant behaviours and
suggest to the teachers, policy makers, school authorities and counsellors the
counseling strategy that is most appropriate for remedying the problem of deviance in
our schools. To a large extent, the society will benefit since moral decadence will be
reduced if deviant behaviours are checked by adequate counselling strategies.
1. What counselling strategies are used in remedying deviant behaviour among
2. To what extent are the counselling strategies adequate for remedying deviant
behaviour among students?
The researcher adopted survey research design in this study. The population for the
study comprised all the guidance counsellors in Onitsha education zone. The choice of
the population was based on the rationale that the problem of the study-deviant
behavior among students and the counselling strategies for remedying it, are in fact, the
concern of guidance counsellors in the field.
Because the counsellors were few in number, there was no sampling. The entire
population of 50 counsellors in Onitsha Zone was used (Source Guidance Division,
Anambra State Commission Awka).
Instrument and Validation:
The researcher constructed a questionnaire termed Counselling Strategies for
Remedying Deviant Behaviour (CSRDB). The instrument was used for data collection.
The instrument contained 16 items structured into three sections. Section A contained
items on demography, section B items, which solicited for respondent's perceived
opinion on some listed counselling strategies for remedying deviant behaviour. The
items were placed on a 4-point likert type scale of Strongly Agree (SA), Agree (A);
Disagree (D); and Strongly Disagree (SD). Section C contained 8 items, which elicited
responses of respondent's perception of the extent of adequacy of the counselling
strategies for remedying deviant behaviour. The items were placed on a 4-point Likert
type scale of Very High Extent (VHE) High Extent (HE), Low Extent (LE), and Very
Low Extent (VLE). The validity of the (CSRDB) instrument was assessed by test
experts in the Depaitment of Educational Psychology, Guidance and Counselling and
Measurement and Evaluation drawn from Nwafor Orizu College of Education, Nsugbe.
It was pilot tested after validation. The reliability analysis using Cronbach alpha gave
co-efficient value of 0.78. The instruments were administered personally by the
researcher through direct approach.
The 50 guidance counsellors were targeted at their monthly meeting and this ensured
100% collection of the questionnaire.
Method of Data Analysis:
The research questions were answered using mean scores. Mean scores ranging 2,5 and
above indicated different degrees of acceptance of the item while below indicated non-
Major findings of the study are presented in the following tables.
Counseling Strategies used for remedying deviant behaviour.
Reward system to encourage hard work and good behaviour
Modeling to foster good behaviour
Use of orientation to acquaint students with rules & regulations.
Engaging student in sports
Table 1 shows the responses of guidance counsellors on the strategies they adopt in
remedying student's deviant behaviour in Anambra State Secondary Schools. All the
items were accepted by the respondents as strategies except for item 7, which was
rejected as a strategy or remedying deviant behaviour.
However, items 6, and 8 ranks highest among the mean scores showing that
individual Counselling and cognitive restructuring are more in use than other strategies.
The grand mean is also above 2.5. Showing the acceptance of the counselling strategies
by the counsellors.
Use of reward technique reduces deviant behaviour among students
Orientation seminar minimizes deviant behaviour among students
Group counselling can reduce deviant behaviour among students
Modeling to foster good behaviour
Engaging students in sports diverts their mind from deviant acts to
Individual counselling could be very effective for remedying deviant
Punishing the deviant student will help to teach him a lesson and
change him for the better
Cognitive restructuring of students with deviant behaviour brings them
back to normalcy
Table II above shows that all the items above have at least the mean of 2.5, which
shows that the strategies are to a large extent adequate for remedying deviant
behaviour. Except items 4 and 7 had means below 2.5, which shows that punishment
and modeling are strategies quite alright but not adequate for remedying deviant
behaviour among students. The grand mean is also above 2.5.
Information from table have revealed that counsellors counselling strategies like
orientation, modeling, counselling, cognitive restructuring, punishment, engaging students
in sports and reward to remedy deviant behaviour among students. The finding is in line
with Essuman. Nwaogu and Nwachukwu (1994) who affirmed that if behaviour is
unwholesome, it needs therapeutic programme to help remedy such maladaptive behaviour
exhibited in the individual.
Research question two revealed the extent the counselling strategies could be in remedying
deviant behaviour. According to the findings, individual counselling, reward and cognitive
restructuring were more adequate for remedying deviant behaviour among students.
Punishment and modeling were not seen by the respondents as being adequate enough for
remedying deviant behaviour. The findings are in line with Onyechi (2004) who found out
that counsellors reject the use of punishment as a means of curbing the excesses of gifted
children as this may kill motivation and interest in learning amongst this group of children.
Again according to Cicchetti (2001) being physically abused has been linked with the
anxiety of children, personal problems, depression, conduct disorder, and delinquency.
Furthermore, the present findings agreed with the views of Anagbogu (1991) who
emphasized the strength of individual counselling techniques in remedying behaviour)
excess. Also the findings is in line with Essuman (1988) who equally sees individual
counselling as organized learned cognitive unitary configuration of conscious, perceptions,
conceptions and evaluations by the individual of himself as he actually is. I The findings of
this study about cognitive restructuring ranking second in the counselling strategies that are
adequate for remedying deviant behaviour lays credence to this definition. The point made
here is that individual counselling in conjunction with cognitive restructuring of the student
with deviant acts can go a long way in remedying the situation. Of course using reward to
encourage good behaviour according to the findings can also bring back the deviant
adolescent to normalcy adequately.
The researcher want to add that, the adequacy of individual counselling in remedying
deviant behaviour could be as a result of the skill involved which are interview, empathy,
unconditional positive regard, establishing rapport, which could lead to discovering of
causes of the deviant acts in the student. These causes when traced and trashed, the
individual finds no option than to behave normally, shunning deviant behaviours.
Based on the findings of this study, it is recommended that:
1. Parents and teachers should not hesitate to refer their children and students with
deviant behaviour to the guidance counselor for proper counselling.
2. Since deviant behaviour is increasing among students, federal and state ministries of
education should encourage teachers to go for in service training in guidance and
counselling so that more hands will be on deck to remedy deviancy among our
3. Practising guidance counsellors should wake up from their slumber and solidify the use
of individual counselling and cognitive restructuring strategies to remedy deviant
behaviour among students.
4. Federals and State ministries of education should provide every school with school
counselors to help stop crude and ineffective way of remedying deviant behaviour,
which makes it even worse like corporal punishment among others.
5. Orientation seminars should be organized for parents and teachers to shun the use of
cane and apply more of explanations in correcting adolescent's deviant behaviours.
6. Above all, the researcher recommends the use of reward to encourage good behaviour,
which was also found out from the study to be adequate in remedying deviant
The bulk of our secondary school students are mostly adolescents who by their nature
hate shouting on them and making them feel ashamed. Therefore to make them obey
rules and regulations, teachers, parents and school authorities should try to show love
and affection in all treatments meted out on students with deviant behaviours. This
way, our society will be rid of delinquents and the students will turn out to be useful to
themselves and the society at large.
This study was designed to ascertain the types of counselling strategies used by guidance
counsellors to remedy deviant behaviour, and to investigate the adequacy of the strategies
in remedying deviant behaviour. The investigation reveals that counsellors in schools,
actually adopts some counselling strategies like engaging students in sports, group
counselling, individual counselling, punishment, reward technique, cognitive restructuring,
modeling and use of orientation service to remedy the problem of deviant behaviour
among, students. Also it was found that among the counselling strategies, individual
counselling and cognitive restructuring and reward are the most adequate strategies used by
counsellors in remedying deviant behaviour among students.
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