I will be assessing my own communication and interpersonal skills in relation to each interaction.
My placement is at a pre-school, I have good verbal communication as I interact well with the children when I am speaking to them I listen to what their saying when they are speaking to me, I keep an open mind and concentrate on the main direction of the children’s message to me, I avoid distractions to make sure I am effectively listening to them at all times, usually the children speak to me about the toys they are playing with and they tell me about the activities they are doing. For example the in my last one to one interaction I was talking a girl in the nursery about her pets at home and if she looks after them, even though I don’t have any pets I listened to the girl and gave her appropriate feedback and questions. I make sure I am in a comfortable environment so I can hear the children effectively so it’s not noisy; I am always prepared to listen to everything the children say to me. In a one to one interaction I find it easier to communicate verbally as I’m only speaking to one child so I can stay focused on that particular child and what they’re saying to me to make sure I am actively listening to the child, this is an area I communicate well with and many skills in this area improve every time I go.
Whereas in group interaction I find verbal communication harder so I need to improve on this, I find it hard to speak to more than one child at a time because they are children they are all speaking at the same time so I am getting a lot of information at the same time I try my best to effectively listen to them but with a lot of information being told to me it’s hard to process the information, I need to improve on this by making sure the children are taking turns so I can listen to them without getting bored. For example in my last group interaction I was making a puzzle with the three children and they were all asking me questions at the same time to I found it hard to listen to all the questions.
I also need to improve on the questions I ask the children to make a conversation with them; I ask them questions but then I run out of questions to ask them so then the conversation stops, I should ask more questions that interest the children so my communication skills improve. In a group interaction I am better, so I am good at asking questions as there are more children with more questions to ask me so the conversation run more better and information is shared quicker and more effectively, compared to a one to one interaction I run out of questions to ask the child as I do not obtain information well. I need to improve on this skill to I can communicate better with a single child to give them more involvement in the conversation. I can respond to questions more effectively as I find it easier to understand the question they have asked me because they are children and the questions are quite simple. I let the children tell me what they want to say to me so I can clarify my information. Reflective speaking
I think this skill is something I need to improve on; I do try my best to give the best feedback to the children in both types of interactions. In a one to one interaction I find it easier to communicate as I can understand the child’s message clearly and I am able to give feedback as the how the message is received, however sometimes I struggle to speak back to them if I haven’t understood what they are saying, this skill is vital and I need to improve on it every time I go to placement. In a group I interaction it’s the same with the listening as lots of children are speaking to me at the same time I need more time to process and give feedback but as they are children they get impatient waiting for me, I do have an interest in what the children are saying it’s just a matter of finding balance in my communication and interpersonal skills.
Even though I am good at speaking to them effectively but I can’t give them feedback or start a conversation if I struggle to make a conversation but I can speak to the children and make sure they understand what I am saying to them. For example I was speaking to a child about her family and what jobs her mum and dad does but I couldn’t think of what to respond back to her so she got confused even though I did try my best. Non-verbal communication skills
My non-verbal communication skills could do with some improvement, when I am communicating one to one my body movements can sometimes show to the child that I am not enjoying a conversation with them I try and show as much interest in possible but sometimes things like my posture if I am slumped while talking to a child it can communicate to them that I have a negative attitude to the conversation. In both types of interaction I struggle to make eye contact it’s something I need to improve on I often don’t look at the children, in a group interaction I can’t keep eye contact with every child but I try my best to make them realise that I am going to talk to them and to let them know when it is their turn to speak to me, in a one to one I only have one child to focus one so I find this easier to do, however I am still nervous and this is why I struggle to keep eye contact , I think with more confidence I will be able to keep eye contact with the children when I am speaking to them. My closeness towards the children is a thing that I am doing well I make sure I give the appropriate space for the children to feel relaxed and for me to also to feel relaxed to effectively communicate with them.
I thing I think I am good at in both type of interactions is my facial expression I always make sure i am smiling at the children to make it seem like I am interested in what they are saying to me so it then makes them realise that I am interested in what they have to say to me it makes sure that my communication with the children is effective. I am also good at gestures I do gestures a lot to express to the children what I am feelings, if I am speaking to them about something exciting I use my hand gestures to show them that I am interested in what they are saying to me. In my one to one to interactions I can focus more on what a child Is saying to me so my hand gestures express to them how I am feelings about what they or saying or what I am saying to them, this is the same with group interactions as I am able to use gestures to what all the children or saying as they are often talking about near enough the same things. However, I need to improve on negotiating with the children, as they often argue with each other and I find it hard to stop the argument and reach an agreement.
I need to make sure a negotiation is best for themselves, this is in a one to one interaction I do not need to negotiate but in a group I need to find common interests so they don’t argue. I need to improve on ending the conversation as I often don’t end the conversation so then the children might still have something they want to say to me, I should tell the children that I am going to go elsewhere so that they know the conversation is over or make it aware by body language or my facial expressions. One of the main things I need to improve on is my communication with the staff; I don’t communicate with the staff much. When they ask me to do something like helping the children wash their hands, I listen effectively and give appropriate feedback this is something I can do well. But I need to speak to them more if I am unsure of things, but it is the children who I communicate with every time I go, the staffs are busy doing other things and they communicate with me when it is needed. I don’t really need to improve on this but I can talk to the staff and communicate with them if I need to for the benefit of the children. Overall I have more things I need to improve on for my communication and interpersonal skills.
I find it easier to communicate in a one to one interaction as it is only one child and I can speak to them better as I am able to process my information faster and give the correct feedback to the child in order for them to understand. In a group interaction there is more than one children speaking to me and sometimes too much information is given to me at once and I can then not give feedback to the children, this is something I need to improve on and this can be done through effective turn taking so the children understand that they need to take turns in communication this will then make my skills better so I will be able to communicate more effective.
I am able to stay calm and stay focused when communicating with both the staff and the children this is my main skill that I can do well, but my main skill that I need to improve on is my non-verbal communication skills as this is where I often find myself communicating that I am bored to the children because they can go on for a while and I do get bored of what they are saying so I can fold my arms and yawn portraying bad body language , this is why I need to make sure I am listening to what they are saying, I could ask different questions to change the subject of the conversation to something that I understand better.
Good communication and interpersonal skills are vital when I am in my placement setting as I need to communicate well with service user to develop a good relationship with them so they understand what I am saying and for me to give them feedback to them. As I now know the things I need to improve on every time I go to placement I can improve my communication skills with the children and adults in order for my communication and interpersonal skills to be effective. I am going to be evaluating factors that influenced the effectiveness of both the one to one and group interaction.
(D1) Effective Factors in one to one interactions
Having good confidence– In my one to one interactions I have more confidence as I am only talking to one child, I felt like I had more control over the conversation as I only had to deliver information to and from the person. Only talking to one child made me less anxious and nervous and I was speaking clearly and calmly as my nerves weren’t making me stumble on my words so this meant that the child could understand what I was saying so she was able to give me good feedback and I was able to respond without feeling anxious that I was going to mess up. My good confidence influenced my communication to make it better because I felt like I was enjoying the conversation instead of it being all over the place this enabled the conversation to run more smoothly and fun. Only having one child to speak to doesn’t overwhelm me with information so as I said earlier I had more control over what I was saying to the child and what I would respond so it made me feel better about the communication I was saying so I could then think of more questions to ask so the conversation between me and the child would last longer.
It also helped that the child I was speaking to had good confidence she’s outgoing and she always has something to say to me so this influenced the effectiveness of the interactions because she wasn’t quiet and this helped me to speak to her so it didn’t effect my nerves as she kept asking me questions so it made the conversation more enjoyable. Knowing the child well– In my one to one interactions I speak to a child I know best, a child that I feel more comfortable speaking to because I speak to them a lot compared to the other children. It helps me because if I know the child then I have more things that I know about them e.g. favourite singers or their favourite foods, so I can then speak to them about a specific thing that they like to talk about then that child speaks to me a lot about that, so I am then able to respond better as I already know things about the child from previous conversations.
The conversation is influenced by this as my confidence is better when I speaking to them because I know them better and I know how they interact with me so this then enables me to be more engaged with that child. As I know more things about them I can ask them questions related to something they like so they feel happier speaking to me about it as it excites them to tell me more about it so I more information is given and the conversations runs more effectively. When I child knows me better it helps as they then feel more comfortable speaking me as they know who I am so when I’m having a conversation with the child like in my last one to one interactions we are happier speaking to each other so we are more likely to find common interests and make the communication more effective as we can listen better to each other and respond better. Environmental factors – good amount of space- In my one to one interactions I have more space a around me as I am only talking to one child compared to several in a group interaction.
Having more space around me made me more relaxed and comfortable to talk to the child as I don’t feel like I am consumed to one area, this makes me more less nervous when I’m speaking to a child as I know that I have more space around me to express how I’m feeling in a conversations through gestures and this can make a conversation more funnier. Having personal space around me means I can move around while I’m speaking to a child and I can do some actions to get the child more involved. Space influenced the effectiveness in my one to one interactions as when I have a good amount of personal space around me I can think my thoughts through better without getting paranoid that I don’t have enough space this enables me to deliver my information clearly and effectively so the child understand what I am saying to them.
The amount of space I have is always at a reasonable amount as there is only one child, so this means I can effectively respond to what the child’s saying to me without getting panicked and I can then think of more questions to ask so this means that the communication is effective. Also this meant that the child had space to talk to me effectively so she didn’t get panicked that she didn’t have enough space to move around like through her gestures, so we were able to speak to each other clearly and all these reasons enabled me to communicate effectively with the child. Environmental, Good noise level – When I’m having my one to one interaction with a child the room has some background noise but its fairly quiet and it makes sure I am able to concentrate on the children without getting distracted by other noises that the staff or children could be making,
I can listen to them effectively to them as the noise is at a respectable level, as I am listening to them effectively the conversation runs faster and more smoothly. Being able to hear everything the child is saying helped them to understand what I was saying to them therefore I gave them appropriate feedback. It also allowed me not to misunderstand anything the child said to me so I didn’t make mistakes in what I said back to them so this influenced the effectiveness of my communication between the child as it helped me to have full concentration on everything the child was saying, as the room was at a good noise level and the information to be delivered effectively and me and the child was able to carry on the conversation without the noise level being to loud, as it was just one child I could understand what she was saying to me as she was close to me so the noise levels were good so I was relaxed and so was the child so it made our communication effective as we were able to talk more freely. Group interactions
Questions being planned out – In my group interaction there was four children in the group and all of them were confident and they each had lots of questions to ask me and each other. On child asked a question to me and I was able to answer it effectively as the questions were straightforward and every child on the table understood them so they were able to effectively listen to the question and they all responded well, this allowed the conversation to run smoothly without any arguments happening as the children all agreed on the questions and they were interested in them so it made the conversation more enjoyable so it was effective as all children participated because they were interested in the questions being asked or explained. Having the questions being planed out before hand allowed me to have some kind of structure to what I was going to ask so I had a basic idea of how the children would respond and how I would respond to them, I looked at what children was in the group and what type of questions they would enjoy answering to help the communication be effective, this then made sure no-one was left not knowing what to say as I always had a back up question.
Once one child asked a question all the rest of the children thought of a question to ask as it related to the first question, so they all took turns and asked their questions it influenced the effectiveness of the interaction as questions were being asked so more information was being shared and the communication was effectively being listened and responded to. I had some good questions to ask the children and they were all interested in them so they listened to what I was saying and if a child got stuck on a question I aided them along. Having good and relatable question effectively helped the conversation as the more information was being responded to, as the children understood and were interested in what was being asked the listen nicely to other children’s answers, I was listening to the children and giving good feedback and the overall conversation was enjoyable and fun and all the children were interacting well with me and each other from the questions said. Me being the group leader – As I was talking to a small group I was in charge of the conversation as I was the oldest and the most responsible in the group.
Having a group leader helped me to have control of the conversation as I was able to help the children if they were struggling with the activity I was doing to I guided them through step by step so they understood what they had to do. When we had a group discussion I guided the group and made sure that everyone was having a turn so it was a fair conversation and it gave chance for other children to think of something to say. I had control over the conversation so when the children started disagreeing with each other I can stop them from arguing so this made sure that the conversation was running smoothly and calmly without arguments. I made sure that the if a child wasn’t speaking much I prompted them to speak so everything was fair and in order, and when the children went of topic I could ask a question to that was related to what we were previously speaking to, me being their made sure that the communication was effective as it could make sure that the children were listening to each other and responding to each effectively so I could make the group function better without the children getting frustrated.
For example, I was making sparkles with my group and I talked them through step by step and made sure that they were sharing out the equipment fairly without them arguing with each other so I could effectively communicate and that they could listen and respond with each other, all these reasons helped me to effectively guide the group conversation so the communication was effective, so I was effectively interacting, listening and speaking to them as a group leader and that they were effectively listening and speaking to me. As a group leader me smiling and being open armed encouraged the children to participate with me as I was the group leader so they were looking up to me. Having a good amount of time to speak – In my group interactions I have a good amount of time to listen to what the children are saying to me, having a good amount of time to listen to the children allows to think through what I am saying and what I will say to them without being rushed by other things that are happening.
I also allows the children to have enough time to listen to what I am saying so they didn’t misunderstand what I was saying to them, this influenced the effectiveness of the conversation as having time to communicate made things not rushed so I was more relaxed when speaking to the children. I could then speak to the group of children without feeling that I had to rush things with them so I was speaking clearly, as it was a group and there was more then one person having an effective time to communicate helped me to speak to all of the children and it made sure everyone had a turn so there was no arguing. I was able to clarify my information so it was correct and it helped me and the children as I wasn’t anxious about what I was saying, my body language showed that I was relaxed and I was interacting well with the children, having enough time to do the discussion/activity with the children helped me to not rush things and it influenced the communication as it was planned out well and everyone was listening and responding well to each other.
Having common interests – In my group interaction, picked a group of children that were all doing the same activity which was playing with the dinosaurs, I then went over and started to talk to the children and asked them questions like ‘what is your favourite dinosaurs’ and ‘what shall we call this dinosaur’, this influenced the communication as they were all doing the same thing so all the children were interested in what I was asking them, so this helped the conversation to flow better as more information was being delivered from each child. As I was interested in what they were playing with so I listened well to the children and then I responded well to them to keep the interested, having common interests helped the effectiveness of my group interaction as everyone was interested in the topic of the conversation so it made me and the children more relaxed.
My good confidence, knowing the child well, having a good amount of space and it not being noisy influenced the effectiveness of my one to one interactions they each helped in different ways and they allowed me to have good listening and speaking skills as well as portraying good non-verbal communication skills. They helped me to understand the child better and to give good feedback to him/her. Questions, common interests, having enough time and me being a group leader all influenced the effectiveness of my interactions with four children in different ways, having more children to speak and listen helped me in some ways compared to my one to one interactions, but all these factors helped me to communicate better with the children and for them to communicate with me.
Sheet given in class on what to do for the tasks (Accessed 08/12/14) PowerPoint on learning box – ‘Barriers to effective communication’ (Accessed 08/12/14)