In Turkish literature, when sustainable education is considered, school buildings, equipment and physical environment generally come to mind. Many studies have shown that sustainable education can be achieved by improving the physical structure of the school [1
]. However, in developing countries such as North Cyprus, it is mentioned that besides physical environments, social and emotional environments are also becoming important in education [3
]. Therefore, the necessity of having social emotional skills in the context of sustainable education is a key factor. In the study of Kaya and Tomal [4
], a social studies course program was examined and it was determined that concepts such as cultural sustainability, sustainable peace and sustainability of living spaces have achieved prominence. However, in this study, the researchers stated that studies focusing on the development of social skills are quantitatively very inadequate on the basis of sustainable education and that new studies should be conducted. The starting point of this study is an attempt to increase the qualifications of school counsellors, who will be the focus of social-emotional skills development in higher education via an empirical study. Thus, to the aim is to increase the school counsellors’ social emotional skills, along with education sociology and the sustainable education which will start in the future.
Cognitive and affective gains are as important as social skills in education. In fact, in the twenty-first century, parallel to changing living conditions, one of the expectations of the education system is the development of all aspects of the students [5
]. Therefore, it is very valuable to conduct studies on the social development of individuals. Improved social skills individuals constitute the basis for a sustainable future. They are also important in education and human relations as well as for the information they transmit to future generations, and they are a valuable resource in this sense. This research aims to obtain sociological findings and results on the basis of counselling and guidance with an interdisciplinary approach.
While Bank [6
] was explaining the content of the educational sociology, he underlined the importance of the “socialization process”, “education and social change”, “education and gender”, and “school as a social system”. In this research, a framework has been determined on the basis of the above issues regarding the sociology of education. Firstly, the focus was on the socialization processes of school counsellors who participated in this research, and therefore the aim was to improve their social-emotional skills. Thus, through the experimental process of this research, education has been used as a tool for social change. In addition, specific importance was assigned to the gender factor and the fact that the school is a social system in this study, which are the main topics of the sociology of education.
In order for psychological counselling and guidance candidates to develop in and practice their profession effectively, it is important that they have healthy relationships with others, understand others’ emotions and show empathy towards them. It is vital that psychological counselling and guidance students understand themselves in personal and social aspects, know their strengths and weaknesses and have self-confidence [7
]. Thus, psychological counselling and guidance students should have the ability to understand their clients’ emotions, thoughts and attitudes that are integral components of the counselling process. Furthermore, it is necessary to have the skills of conversing with others, sharing opinions, understanding verbal messages and learning social norms, and to act accordingly [8
One of the best learning experiences in an individual’s life is the moment when they learn how to read and write, which opens the doors to many opportunities in life. They will be able to make choices freely in this world and it will open new avenues in their careers. They will be able to learn everything that people have experienced throughout history by using literary resources. In this way, they will be able to understand people, develop real world values and have new experiences [9
]. Students of psychological counselling and guidance have the opportunity to learn about individuals and their personal characteristics, emotions, and their relationships with their environment through books [10
]. Books have many therapeutic properties and can provide guidance in people’s lives. The students of psychological counselling and guidance can use the bibliotherapy technique by opening new paths in their future professional lives, by considering facts from a different angle and benefiting from previous literary works. According to Riordan and Wilson [11
], bibliotherapy can be defined as "the guided reading of written materials in gaining understanding or solving problems relevant to the person’s therapeutic needs". It is particularly beneficial to use this technique in group counselling works [12
]. Moreover, it is possible that students of psychological counselling and guidance can understand their lives through their studies in order to have new experiences and access new information [13
When examining the historical development process, it can be seen that mental health specialists, librarians, nurses and instructors have used bibliotherapy effectively for different purposes [14
]. “Bibliotherapy is a treatment method which is used in determining the requirements peculiar to development periods of an individual, in handling individuals’ adaptation problems to life and in understanding their social emotional problems by bringing the proper individual together with the proper book at the proper time” [15
]. Bibliotherapy is used for meeting the needs of an individual as both a developmental approach and as a clinical approach. The bibliotherapy technique is used in preventing and solving the problems individuals confront in their daily lives during their period of development [16
]. When today’s developing technology and information resources are considered, the definition of bibliotherapy as “improvement through knowledge” can be considered appropriate. The information resource to be chosen is dependent on the bibliotherapy practitioners [18
In summary, bibliotherapy is used as a non-test technique in the field of psychological counselling and guidance. Psychological counsellors perform apply the bibliotherapy technique by using novels, stories and tales in guidance practices as well as individual or group counselling.
It is believed that bibliotherapy will help the students of psychological counselling and guidance to understand and discover themselves, to realise that there are other individuals that have the same problems as them, to develop more positive self-respect, to apply their self-perceptions to the solutions of problems, to see that there could be many different ways of solving problems and to enable them to see through the eyes of others by feeling empathy [15
]. In the light of such acquisitions, new generations that will be trained by the students of psychological counselling and guidance will be encouraged to become more self-confident and independent individuals. In this regard, the social-emotional acquisitions are important [20
Social emotional skills are the special qualifications that allow individuals to perform effectively in social environments. In order for individuals to have such qualifications and to apply their skills, fulfilling verbal and nonverbal behaviours plays an important role [21
]. A social qualification is the evaluation made regarding the behaviours that an individual shows in his/her social environment; consequently, social qualifications have parallels with emotional development. According to Çiftçi and Sucuoğlu [22
], social emotional skills are influenced by many environments in which intelligence, personality, perception, value, attitude and skills are utilised. Segrin [23
] stated that social skills are the qualifications related to establishing effective and appropriate relationships with other people.
From the literary perspective, it can be seen that the social skills scores of women were higher than those of men in the research conducted by Yıldırım and Özcan [24
]. Furthermore, Atkins and Burnett [25
] stated that there were differences in terms of the social skills of female and male students in their research on the social skills of students. It can be said that female students have greater speaking skills due to the family environment in which they are raised, thus allowing them to easily express their emotions and confront the circumstances they experience in life. It was also expressed in the mentioned research that females have more social skills and the fact that they enter puberty before males means that they mature faster. It was revealed also in the research of Kalafat [26
] that the general social skills level of females is higher than males. It was observed in the study conducted by Çilingir [27
] that females are more qualified than males in using non-verbal messages in the dimension of emotional control on the social skills scale, indicating that they have an increased capacity to regulate and control their emotions. Moreover, it was found in the research conducted by Deniz [28
] that in the total scores for emotional expressivity, emotional sensitivity, social control and social skills of female students studying at university were higher than those of male students, whereas the emotional control scores of male students were significantly higher than the average scores of the female students. On the other hand, it was observed in the research conducted by Altınbaş [29
] that the level of social support that female students receive from their family and friends is higher than for male students. However, Şenol and Türkçapar [30
] stated in their research that the difference in emotional sensitivity and emotional control dimensions, which are among the sub-dimensions of social skills based on gender, is statistically significant. In a similar vein, it was concluded in the study conducted by Avşar [31
] and Tekin et al. [32
] that the difference between the scores that students obtained from the sub-dimensions of emotional control and social control is statistically significant.
In this study, the gender variable was specifically addressed by the researchers. On the basis of bibliotherapy, reading is very important. In Turkish literature, studies on reading skills have found that the attitudes of women are significantly positive. For example, in the study conducted by Arslan [33
], 52 studies were examined and 70% of these studies showed positive results in relation to women in terms of reading skills. Therefore, it is considered that the gender variable should not be ignored in a study based on Turkish culture. Thus, this study aims to contribute to the literature by examining whether bibliotherapy is effective in changing the gender-based reading skill difference.
Referring to the studies in the field of psychological counselling and guidance, it was found that the use of bibliotherapy education conducted through stories is rare. It is believed that this kind of education will be an effective method for developing the socio-emotional skills of psychological counselling and guidance students. The aim of this study is to investigate whether or not female and male students will show development in social emotional terms through bibliotherapy education.
1.1. Problem Sentence
What is the impact of bibliotherapy education on the social and emotional skills of psychological counselling and guidance students?
1.2. Sub Problems
As a result of the bibliotherapy education applied in this study, the sub-problems are as follows:
Is there any significant difference between the pre-test and post-test scores of psychological counselling and guidance students (female and male students are evaluated separately) regarding their total and sub-dimension scores obtained from the “social skills” scale?
Is there any significant difference between the “social skills” and sub-dimension post-test scores based on gender?
The findings are provided in three tables on the basis of the sub problems of the research.
According to Table 2
, it was detected that the difference between the pre-test and post-test scores that female students obtained from the overall social skills inventory and sub dimension of social expressivity was found to be statistically significant (p
< 0.05). It was determined that there was no statistically significant difference between the pre-test and post-test scores obtained by the female students from the emotional sensitivity, social sensitivity, emotional control and social control sub dimensions (p
According to Table 3
, it was detected that the difference between the pre-test and post-test obtained by the male students from the overall social skills inventory and sub dimensions was not found to be statistically significant (p
According to Table 4
, it was detected that the difference between the pre-test scores that male students obtained from the overall social skills inventory and the sub dimensions of social expressivity, emotional sensitivity and social sensitivity were not found to be statistically significant (p
It was detected that the difference between the scores that the students obtained according to the gender factor from the sub-dimensions of emotional expressivity, emotional control and social control that were included in the scale were statistically significant (p < 0.05). While the emotional expressivity and social control sub dimension scores of the female students were found to be higher than the male students, the male students’ scores in the sub-dimension of emotional control were found to be higher than those of female students.
The most important finding of this study is that different people in the same experimental group may be affected at different levels from the same experimental practice. Female school counsellor candidates benefited from the experimental application more than men. The reason for this difference may be women’s reading substructures and interests, and their willingness to acquire social skills. On the other hand, the limitation of the research is that male school counsellor candidates do not benefit sufficiently from the experimental application. The bibliotherapy technique for male school counsellor candidates may not have been effective or the reading texts used in bibliotherapy may not be suitable (interesting/intriguing) for them. In the context of improving their social skills, male school counsellor candidates may have needed a longer period of time.
It was detected that the difference between the pre-test and post-test scores that female students obtained from the overall social skills inventory and the sub dimension of social expressivity was found to be statistically significant. This situation demonstrates that the skills of the female students in terms of engaging in social communication increased positively after receiving bibliotherapy education. One conclusion that can be drawn from this is that female students like to speak with other, to be in groups, are sociable and desire to be part of a group. Herbert and Furner [40
] stated in a study they conducted that the bibliotherapy technique is supportive of emotional and social development. On the other hand, Davis and Wilson [41
] mentioned that the bibliotherapy technique allows students to understand their social and emotional needs. It was mentioned in the study conducted by Herbert and Kent [42
] that it is possible to prevent social and emotional problems before they occur and to provide information that will be beneficial when facing problems and situations that may be encountered in future years.
It was found in this study that there is no statistically significant difference between the pre-test and post-test scores that male students obtained from the overall social skills inventory and sub dimensions. Özçep [43
] underlined that there are similarities in ranking the social skills sub dimensions of male classroom teachers according to the arithmetic average. This finding of the study are similar to the findings obtained from the current research. The reason for such a result may stem from the fact that the activities are directed more towards the female students than the male students, or the length of time allocated for the application of the program.
The emotional expressivity and social control sub dimension scores of the female students were found to be higher than the male students in the post-test applied in the study. The increased ability of females to send emotional messages in comparison to males shows that they are more active in their social relationships and have more self-confidence in this respect. Deniz, Hamarta and Arı [44
] found in their research they conducted on the effect of the affiliation styles of university students on their levels of social skills and loneliness that the emotional expression level, emotional sensitivity level, social control level and total social skills of female students were found to be higher than male students. This finding is supportive of the present study. Resultantly, it can be seen that after receiving bibliotherapy education, females retain the ability to adapt their behaviours according to their situation, developing the skills of playing a role, expressing themselves and maintaining their social adaptivity. When similar studies are investigated, the following results are obtained; Kazdin and Raine stated in their study that females exhibit more social skills than males [45
]. Aktı [46
] and Dicle [47
] stated in their study that the gender variable creates a significant difference in the social skills scores and social skills levels of females in comparison to males. Furthermore, it was concluded from the study conducted by Seven and Yoldaş [45
] that the social skills levels of female students were better than male students. This research has similarities with the current study in terms of the fact that the female students have higher scores than male students regarding their general social skills.
Nevertheless, it can be seen that the male students’ scores in the sub-dimension of emotional control were higher than those of female students. Based on this result, it can be said that the skills of the male students in combining certain emotions and hiding their feelings under a mask in an effective manner is better than the female students. Hence, it is obvious that bibliotherapy education contributes to male students in terms of developing emotional control skills. Kalafat [26
] stated that male university students obtained higher scores than female university students in terms of emotional control features. Furthermore, the study conducted by Bedir [48
] shows that there is a significant difference in the emotional control sub dimensions in favour of male classroom teachers. The findings of these two studies have similarities to the findings of the current study.
When the findings of this study are evaluated in the context of the sociology of education, the first observation is that the participants in the study contributed to the socialization process. Bibliotherapy training has positively affected the socialization skills of school counsellor candidates. Therefore, it is seen in this experimental study that social change can be realised through education. It was also found that females and males gained different scores in terms of social-emotional skill acquisition in experimental practice. Therefore, it has been seen once again that the gender factor can be effective in learning environments. Based on the findings above, it should be said that the university in which the research was conducted can be considered as a social system.