Effective Communication and Professional Relationships with Children, Young People and Adults Sarah Haycock-Lewandowski
A key element of the role of any member of support staff in a school or other education environment, is communication, both with children and adults. Whilst it is important for children to learn cognitive skills, it is equally important that they also learn skills that will allow them to function effectively in society. A significant proportion of the latter can be attributed to effective communication, how individuals cooperate with others, and the relationships built both on a social and professional level. Support staff have a responsibility to act as role models for students, and it is therefore imperative that a clear understanding of effective communication and professional relationships is held. This study pack outlines the principles, skills and regulations that cover this topic. Principles
Effective communication is the fundamental principle in building positive relationships (relationships which benefit children and young people, and their ability to participate in and benefit from the setting). In general, both children and adults are much more likely to co-operate and share information, if they feel you communicate openly and clearly. This is not limited to what you say but also appearance, body language, facial gestures and mood. In particular it must be remembered that you are acting as a role model, and the way you communicate is likely to be reciprocated in the same way. There are seven principles involved in building relationships: 1. Effective communication - covers both formal and informal verbal, written communication, in addition to body language, facial gestures, physical contact and appearance, and the way these impact our interactions with others. 2. Respect - courtesy and respect should be demonstrated in any interaction with an individual (be it child or adult). Although you may differ in opinion, it is important to actively listen to others, and respect their view(s). The same consideration should be applied to individuals from different cultures, and their values/traditions upheld. For example in Germany professional interactions are much more formal and people are rarely referred to on first name terms, even if they are acquainted. 3. Consideration - be sensitive to others situation/position particularly when behaviour or reaction is out of character. There may well be an underlying cause you are not currently privy to . 4. Remembering Personal Issues - if you are aware of any concerns or upcoming life events, it may be worth enquiring about these, as it shows that you are interested, and is likely to benefit any relationship . You may be worries that an individual may not want to discuss any further, they can let you know if this is the case but it is probably still better to ask, than seem aloof or standoffish. 5. Listening - communication is a two way process. Therefore it is vital that you take time to actively listen to others, in order that they feel their opinions are considered. Active listening means that you hear another opinion but also demonstrate interest by responding appropriately (both verbally and with body language gestures). Listening is fundamental if others are to feel able to confide in you or ask for help/advice. 6. Clarity on Key Points - when giving information or instructions you must be clear, so that others can understand what you have said, or asked of them. Do not assume you have been clear, especially with children who may say they understand even if they don't. Always ask them to repeat back to you what they have need to do, whilst reassuring them that you are not testing them but checking that your instructions were clear. 7. Sense of Humour - Particularly in times of stress or pressure, try to see the funny side of a situation. Not only will it benefit you ( temporarily reducing...
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