Demonstrating and modelling effective communication skills, whilst dealing with others, contributes to positive relationships. You should take into account the way in which you approach others and in turn how to respond to them. Positive relationships make it much easier to communicate information and are therefore very important. Parents, as well as other adults who come into school, are more likely to be engaged and likely to offer beneficial support if communication is strong, clear and effective; this in turn has a positive effect on pupils. You should always model effective communication skills as it is important for pupils. This means that you should monitor everything you say especially at times of stress or excitement in order to demonstrate to pupils the expectations of the school. It is important to personally maintain the standards of which you expect from students so that they understand boundaries of what is, and isn’t, acceptable. Effective communication is something you have to work at as it does not happen by chance. It is important to think about the way you relate to others and the messages that this sends out. When communication breaks down misunderstandings can occur, this can lead to poor relationships and bad feelings.
L O 1.2 Explain the principles of relationship building with children, young people and adults
The principles of relationship building with children and adults in any context are that if that if others are comfortable around us, they are much more likely to communicate effectively. People are more likely to avoid communicating with one another if they are suspicious or do not get along with one another. It is important therefore to work on and maintain positive relationships. Relationships are built upon every day in schools. This happens in many ways, some of which we do without even realising it. Good relationships are formed when the following are taken into consideration: Effective communication – This is the main area in which relationships are developed through the use of different forms of communicating such as: Showing respect
It is important to be courteous and respectful, and to listen to others points of view when developing positive relationships. In schools many people have different beliefs and come from different cultures and it is important to respect and acknowledge the views of others and you should learn people’s names and ask them how they would like to be addressed.
In schools any child or adult may be under particular pressure and may act or behave out of character. It is important to take the time to think about positions of others and give them the consideration they deserve.
Remembering Issues which are personal to them
It always helps, when building relationships to inquire about and remember aspects about other people’s lives for example talking to children about their hobbies
Taking time to listen to others
You should always listen to others, especially if they are asking for help, advice or they need to confide in you. You should always show your interest in what others have to say and use appropriate responses.
Being clear on key points
Whilst conversing with others and giving them information, you should always make sure that they have understood what you have said. This is because children can easily be distracted away from the main point of the conversation; therefore you should ask them to repeat back to you what it is the child should do.
Maintaining a sense of humour
Although work in schools is important, you should always try to see the funny side of situations. Laughing is a great way of relieving stress as well as being a great ice breaker.
L O 1.3 Explain how different social, professional and cultural contexts may affect relationships and the way people communicate
Depending on the situation and who with, communication will be adapted to fit the setting. This will most likely be done without thinking, for example in a more formal setting, such as a meeting, you would tend to use a more formal level of language than you would whilst on playground duty with pupils. Schools timetable regular meetings to allow for open communication between colleagues. Schools also have planned communication with other adults and professionals, consisting of meetings and discussions as well as more informal forms of communication. Speech however is not the only form of communication, it is conveyed in the way we respond to others, such as how quick we reply to digital communication (email, text), how attentive we are when talking to someone as well as things like body language and the way we dress. Nov-verbal communication can cause issues however as it can easily be misread. Different cultures have their own ways of speech free communication which include eye contact and gestures for example in some cultures it is impolite to look someone in the eye when talking to them.
LO 2.1 Explain the skills needed to communicate with children and young people
LO 2.3 Explain the main differences between communicating with adults and communicating with children and young people
There are lots of similarities, in terms of communication, when dealing with children, adults and young people such as maintaining eye contact and interest, responding to what they are saying and treating them with respect and courtesy.
However, when communicating with children, you need to maintain the relationship, and where relevant their carer. It is also important to be very clear and unambiguous when communicating with children to ensure that they understand exactly what you are saying. It may be a good idea to question children about what you have just said in order to check their comprehension. It is important to communicate what you expect from them as this helps children learn to increase their own communicative skills. Therefore you should pitch your level of vocabulary and verbal expressions to the right level so that all can understand you. It is also detrimental to children’s progression to offer physical contact, such as hugs and holding hands, however if it is not initiated by you personally then it would be wrong to decline.
LO 2.4 Explain how to adapt communication to meet different communication needs of adults
It is important that you are attentive with adults and approach them with sensitivity, particularly if they have difficulties communicating. You will most likey adapt the way in which you communicate accordingly to the situation, without even realising it, Whilst communicating with someone who has a hearing impairment for example, you would ensure that you face them and speak slowly and clearly, whilst keeping eye contact, in order for them to lip-read.
Schools often need to communicate with parents/carers/guardians and do this via text, email or letter. This format is effective as it is instant and is easily accessible fpr most people. In my practical setting they do offer their newsletters and such in other languages so parents and such may still get relevant information in a format that they can then read and understand. They would also bring in a translator for one to one meetings with parents when required so face to face interaction can still take place and both parties can communicate effectively.
L O 2.5 Explain how to manage disagreements with children, young people and adults
Disagreements in work are commonplace, and most of the time they are due to miscommunication or lack there of. These can cause bad feelings on both sides if not dealt with appropriately. Adults can misread or perceive information in a way which was not meant. Disagreements can occur when we blame others for saying things that may be ambiguous or for having varying opinions on matters. Where conflict takes place, it is important to show sensitivity and must try to resolve the problem with haste. This is because the longer a problem persists, the more difficult it is to resolve. It is important not to be drawn into conflict with a child or young person, and situations such as this need to be dealt with carefully, it may be good practice to alert another member of staff in order to seek advice to remedy the problem.
Conflict can often occur in line with miscommunication, This may be because:
● letters have not been passed on by parents or children
● there is a lack of time
● there has been a misunderstanding.
In order to resolve issues of poor communication, you should discuss the problem in order to find the cause and then find a resolution together. Never just ignore the problem or talk about the problem to everyone but who the problem concerns.
Adults may often not have the same ideas about the purpose of an activity or meeting, or have a diﬀerent idea in mind. Aims should always be made clear about what you are there to do and why.
Different values and ideas
Parents and schools often have different attitudes and expectations. Conflict can often occur when a child is told to do two contrasting things. This can be resolved by working alongside parents.
Whilst working in a school it is important to keep in mind that people may have issues at home or other such pressures, which may affect the way they communicate. Once you have made a good personal relationship with someone, it is likely you will notice changes in their behaviour and you are able to ask if there is a problem and if you can assist them with anything.
Lack of confidence
Adults often act with aggression when they are unsure in what they are doing or lacking in confidence. This may come across as a personal attack however it is due to their perception of themselves and their own abilities. It would be wise to be sensitive and offer encouragement and support.
Adults who work with children in any setting need to have some idea about current legislation, as this will aﬀect their practice. There is an increased awareness of how important it is to recognise the uniqueness of each child and have respect for their human rights. Legislation is an area which is constantly under review and you will need to keep up to date through reading relevant publications. Every Child Matters (England 2005) based on the Children Act 2004 This Green Paper stresses the importance of more integrated services and sharing of information between professionals. It came into being aer the tragic case of Victoria Climbié, when there was no communication between health and social workers. Data Protection Act 1998 In schools we ask parents and carers for a variety of information so that we are able to care for children as eﬀectively as we can while they are with us. However, we can only ask for information which is directly relevant – for example:
● health or medical information
● records from previous schools
● records for children who have special educational needs. This is conﬁdential information and must be used only for the purpose for which it was gathered. If the information needs to be passed on to others for any reason, parental consent will need to be given. This usually involves parents signing a consent form. Key term Conﬁdential information – information that should only be shared with people with a right to have it, for example, your teacher, your line manager or an external agency Under the Data Protection Act 1998, any organisation which holds information on individuals needs to be registered with the Data Protection Commission. This is designed to ensure that conﬁdential information cannot be passed on to others without the individual’s consent. There are eight principles of practice which govern the use of personal information. Information must be:
● processed fairly and lawfully
● used only for the purpose for which it was gathered
When you are party to gathering information, whatever this is, you may sometimes be in a position where you need to reassure others about the fact that it is conﬁdential. If you attend meetings or need to be told about conﬁdential items, you should make sure that you let others know your obligations. In most cases, parental consent would need to be given before any information about children can be shared with other professionals. However, if there are any issues to indicate that the child is at risk from harm or abuse, or if there is a legal obligation placed on the school to disclose information, this can be done (see the following case study). There may also be cases where information on pupils needs to be accessible to all staﬀ, for example, where pupils have speciﬁc medial conditions such as asthma or epilepsy. In this case there should be an agreed system within the school for making sure that all staﬀ are aware of these pupils. There may also be cases where information on pupils needs to be accessible to staﬀ who need to know – for example, where pupils have speciﬁc medial conditions such as asthma or epilepsy. In this case there should be an agreed system within the school for making sure that staﬀ who are in contact with the pupils are aware of their condition.
Courtney from Study Moose