Describe how you would establish respectful, professional, relationships with children and young people.
It is important to establish respectful and professional relationships with children and young people as a role of a Teaching Assistant. A relationship in which a child trusts and respects their teaching assistant and feels comfortable in their company, will allow you to offer a supportive and caring environment in which the child can learn and develop.
Listening is arguably the most important way in which to establish a respectful and professional relationship with a child or young person. By listening to what a child has to say, without interruption, conveys to the child that you are in interested in and values what the child has to say. By not interrupting the child, it shows that their views and opinions are not only respected by you, but are also as important as the views and opinions of you themselves. You should also take an active interest in what the child has to say and an interest in the child themselves. For example, what are their hobbies, their interests, their likes and dislikes? .
Children respond to routine and rules and should be made aware of what the rules are and the consequences of breaking rules. By doing this, this will enable you to explain to the child that the punishment they have received for breaking a rule ‘is fair’. Fairness helps to establish respectful relationships. Children are very aware of the concept of fairness and the statement ‘it’s not fair’ is often heard within the classroom.
Every child should feel secure and valued no matter of their culture, abilities, sex or race and your interactions with the child or young person should demonstrate this at all times. It is important you establish these ground rules and mutual respect right from the beginning, as well as discuss the factors with the pupils that are important when working together. It is crucial that you start by talking about how you are going to work together and what each person wants to get out of it. By doing this it will help you develop a mutually respectful relationship with the pupils. You must also remember to be able to adapt your behaviour, and be able to communicate accordingly to every child. It is important that you can demonstrate effective communication skills and show that you are approachable to each individual child or young person you are working with. You need to take into consideration that each child or young person is different and can be at different development stages. It is very important when talking or listening to a child that you maintain eye contact, concentrate on what they are saying and physically lower yourself to their level.
This shows the child respect and that you consider them as an equal. Finding out about some of their interests and hobbies will also show them that you are really interested. You should make an effort to learn all children’s names, how to spell them and how to pronounce them. Professionally this is also important; being able to put a face to a name will ensure the child’s safety. Children have a great respect for fairness; ‘it’s not fair’ is a common phrase in the classroom. A way of showing fairness is allowing a child to explain their version of events; again this shows that you are willing to listen. However it is important to be consistent in situations, if two children break the same rule it would be unfair to punish one and not the other, this would result in lack of respect from the children. It would also be unfair if you were to show favouritism, like letting your ‘favourites’ get away with things that you would punish other children for. Being polite not only shows respect but as an adult being polite is a good role model for the children. Children always have stories to tell and being interested and polite shows them that you have listened to them. Children mimic the behaviour of adults, if you are polite, honest, fair and respectful to children there is more chance that they will be act the same towards you.