Unit 3: Communication and Professional Relationships with Children, Young People & Adults

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Helping in Schools24/02/2012


1) Describe the role of a volunteer working in school in supporting children and young people. You should describe how to establish professional relationships with children. Explain how your approach to supporting might vary according to the age of the children / young people you are involved in supporting for example, preschool, primary, secondary or Post 16.

The role of a Volunteer is to support the overall learning in school, this can be done a variety of ways such as:

A volunteer can meet the above roles through establishing professional relationships with children, each person has a unique method of communicating and what works for some people may not work for others. Some of the important areas /characteristics are outlined below:

• Use of appropriate language – depending on the age, level and understanding of a child, appropriate language should be used. Regardless of the age of a child profanity should not be used in any circumstance. If I was talking to a Early years child I would use smaller words and talk slower and sometimes repeat words depending on the child’s body language or questions from a child. The tone is also important and a calm tone should be used at all times. Also looking for interaction from the child is key to enable me to assess their understanding that way I am talking to them rather than at them. Likewise as children get older my vocabulary would change and I would talk using longer words and sentences.

• Developing mutual respect – by talking to a child at there level and understanding, for example looking at children at eye level whilst talking to them increases mutual respect. Keeping calm and talking in a “normal” friendly tone also increases mutual respect. Listening to children and addressing their needs is also an important aspect to this.

• Appropriate Behaviour – The behaviour of a volunteer is also very important and depending on the age group the behaviour should be altered. For example with younger children you may need to get more involved and be more “hands on” to encourage children to participate.. With slightly older children it may be better to give them, instructions on a particular task and only go “hands on” when you feel it is a necessity. Another aspect of appropriate behaviour is being a positive role model and always showing professionalism which I have detailed in the next point.

• Being a positive role model – a volunteer should always be a good role model and even if the volunteer has bad habits such as smoking, then when smoking the volunteer should ensure they are in a area where no children are able to see them. Another example would be If a volunteer disagreed with a teacher or something a teacher has done then the volunteer should not challenge the teacher in front of the class and wait for opportunity when they can talk to the teacher alone. Portraying a good role model is vital as children are very quick at learning from adults.

• Confidentiality – A volunteer should be honest and open and if any information provided to them by a child / young person, It is there responsibility to share this information with the class teacher. A volunteer may be unknowingly advised of vital information which may help safeguard a child hence why a teacher should always be informed.

• Knowing your boundaries – A volunteer should know their boundaries and be clear about their role. This should be discussed with the class teacher beforehand to ensure that during contact with children this boundary is not breached. For example it may be the case that only teachers are allowed to award “Gold Stars” and hence a volunteer should not advise a child that they may get a “Gold star” as this would be at the teachers discretion and a...
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