TDA 3.1: Communication and professional relationships with children, young people and adults
Effective communication is very important. It helps develop positive relationships that benefit the children and allow them to participate and learn within the setting. It is also important in many other ways; It prevents misunderstandings that can lead to bad-feelings and/or bad working relationships. It can help engage and involve parents/carers in their child’s learning. If we model effective communication skills the children are more likely to follow and to understand what is acceptable. It means important information will be passed on to the relevant people e.g. If a child has a medical condition such as asthma and needs an inhaler at certain times. All staff who may work with the child must be made aware of this. Positive relationships don’t just exist, they must be built. In order to communicate effectively you must think about the way you relate to others. Communication is more than just what you say. Often non-verbal communication speaks the loudest yet it is that that we are least aware of. The main forms of this are body language, facial expressions, gestures and posture. For example, you are talking to a new parent about how their child has settled in and you say “She is doing very well and has made lots of friends” but you stand with your arms folded, avoiding eye-contact and frowning. Instead of being re-assured the parent is likely to feel upset and worried. Principles of relationship building
Eﬀective communication – This is the most important point and should go hand-in-hand with all other principles. Showing respect – Listen to and respect other people’s point of view. If you show respect to others it is likely they will respect you. Being considerate – Be understanding about possible factors behind people’s behaviour and don’t be too quick to make judgements. Remembering issues which are personal to them – A good way of building positive relationships is to show an interest in things that are important to others. Be clear on key points – Nods of the head and repeating words/phrases show that you are clear on what is being said. When you are giving information ensure that the other person understands. For example, if speaking to a young child ask them to repeat what you have said. Active listening – Listening is a skill and requires a certain amount of self-control. You have to ignore your own needs and focus on the person speaking. You must pay attention to what is being said and follow it closely. Make eye-contact and keep your body open. Sometimes you need to adapt the way you communicate depending on the situation; Different cultures
Some cultures have different norms on what is offensive or polite. It is important to understand this but ensure you do not assume or stereotype. Where possible you should try to have an awareness of the culturally acceptable behaviour of the person you are communicating with and adapt your approach accordingly. For example, if it is not acceptable to them to have eye-contact do not keep trying to do this. Also be aware of language barriers. You may need to use other non-verbal forms of communication to ensure they understand. Social and professional contexts
You should make sure you use the appropriate language and behaviour dependant on the situation. For example, if you were in a meeting with a parent and other professionals you would speak a lot more formally than you would in the staffroom at dinnertime. You should also remember other factors such as your body language and the way you dress. Other forms of communication
Non-spoken forms of communication can be mis-read. Be sure to be clear and prompt when responding to e-mails or phone messages. If you are unsure of the message ask questions or para-phrase. It is often useful to make notes as you may need to pass the message on or refer back to it at a later date. Skills needed to communicate with children and...
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