Unit reference: J/601/1434
Unit Level: 3
Unit Credit Value: 3
Unit aim: This unit is aimed at those who work in health or social care settings or with children or young people in a wide range of settings. The unit explores the central importance of communication in such settings, and ways to meet individual needs and preferences in communication. It also considers issues of confidentiality.
• The learner will understand why effective communication is important in the work setting and the learner can: 1.1 Identify the different reasons people communicate
1.2 Explain how communication affects relationships in the work setting.
Mankind has communicated since the beginning of time, from cave drawings to express feelings, to the advent of paper, the alphabet, the written word, the printing press and the use of couriers on horseback and pigeons to relay messages to another person. Over time we have experienced more sophisticated methods of communication between individuals or to the broader audience such as television, telephones, texting, electronic mail, and webcams and so on, between different countries and even between different planets in our solar system!
3.The different reasons people communicate
People communicate for a huge variety of reasons dependent upon the circumstances:
• To give instructions or direction for work to be carried out • To give customer feedback about the service received
• To convey how we feel
• To give praise or express dissatisfaction
• To relay information or obtain information
• To teach or discipline
• For social reasons
The Oxford English Dictionary defines Communication as ‘the imparting or exchanging of information by speaking, writing or by using some other medium...a letter or message containing information or news......the successful conveying or sharing of ideas and feelings......’
John Borg attests ‘that human communication consists of 93% body language and paralinguistic cues while only 7% of communication consists of words themselves’.
Paralanguage refers to the non verbal elements of communication used to modify meaning and convey emotion. Paralanguage may be expressed consciously or unconsciously and it includes the pitch, tone and sometimes intonation of speech. Body language can include eye contact, behaviour, physical gestures or facial expressions and touch.
Thus when people refer to themselves as being ‘good communicators’ they usually mean that they get on well with people, can talk to a variety of people on their level and gain their confidence and trust and so on, assuming that it is their talking which makes this happen but it is a surprising fact then that it is sometimes the way in which a message is delivered that gets the message across rather than the content of the message itself.
It is also important to remember that there are many barriers to communication which may also need to be overcome:
• A person’s first language may not be English
• A person’s cultural differences may mean that a word or a gesture or phrase means something completely different to them and vice versa which can easily lead to misunderstandings • A person with no or little hearing who cannot lip read or understand sign language • A person has little or no understanding of the subject matter (a good example of this is Doctor/patient communication) • A person with learning difficulties or challenging behaviour
It is possible to use particular services to assist with certain barriers such as:
• Translation/interpretation service such as Language Line • Speech and language assistance
• Advocacy services
We are not taught how to be effective communicators in school or usually by our parents or peers so it is no wonder that many people go through life confused about why someone reacted badly to some...