Communication and professional relationships
With children, young people and adults
Effective communication is a major role throughout school life. If it be from early years or at Key stage 4, having a positive relationship with a student will develop a trust between pupil and teacher. With this relationship forming parents / carers are more likely to support teaching staff, which can only benefit the pupil. As well as developing this relationship, it important to remember model effective communication skills. With this teaching staff need to remember to meet the schools expectations, no matter the time or place. Pupils will find it a lot harder to understand boundaries, if teachers fail to set them appropriately.
The principles of relationship building with children and adults are that children will feel comfortable in the company of adults. If children are comfortable, they are more likely to communicate effectively, but if people are suspicious or do not get along they are likely to avoid each other. Positive relationships don’t always just happen and it is important to consider ways to develop them. When building relationships in a school we can use different methods to make the child trust and work more effectively.
• Effective communication
• Showing respect
• Being considerate
• Remembering issues which are personal
• Taking time to listen to others
• Being clear on key points
• Maintaining a sense of humor.
When communicating with others it is important to consider the context in which we are working. People need to adapt the way they communicate in different situations, for example in a discussion with other members of staff people will use formal language, but in a discussion with pupils simple English or local language which they understand should be used. Responding through spoken word is not the only way to communicate, so it is important to remember when responding to an e-mail for example it is important to think about who is reading it. A short response because you are in a rush maybe deemed unprofessional by recipient, but they may not have taken into account you were in a hurry. Different cultures also will have a different approach and this can extend to gestures, body language and eye contact. In some cultures it is bad mannered to look at somebody in the eyes whilst speaking to them.
To understand how to communicate with children, young people and adults a number of skills need to be demonstrated effectively. Many people do most of these without even thinking, but it is important to reflect on this as these maybe ways of improving in the future. Children learn to communicate through responses of others. If they do not feel their contribution is valued, they are less likely to communicate themselves. We need to remember the following;
Finding opportunities to speak – all pupils need to be given equal chance to speak. Some children find it difficult and get very little chance to have discussions with adults. They may lack confidence and need to be given a chance so they are relaxed and will happily speak up.
Make eye contact and actively listen – If a child is speaking to an adult and the adult is looking elsewhere or doing something whilst listening, this gives the child the message the adult is not interested. It is important that the pupil gets one hundred percent of the adult’s attention.
Use body language and facial expressions, and be approachable – When working with young children it is crucial to get to their level. Children do not respond well to adults towering over them. It is important to remember to react positively when bumping into students, if it be a simple ‘good morning’ in the corridor or a conversation where the student is concerned about a problem.
React and comment on what they are saying – When speaking with a child, adults may need to repeat or correct the language the child has used. For example ‘Sir, can I...