TDA 3.1 Communication and professional relationships with children, young people and adults.
When working in an enviroment where children, young people or adults are in question, it is important that effective communication is modelled so that a positive and healthy relationship between the staff members/ teachers and the pupil or parent is formed.
Building a positive relationship not only requires one to approach other people in a polite and gracious way, but it also requires one to consider how they respond to them too. Parents and other adults who come into the school are more likely to give beneﬁcial support if communication is strong and eﬀective – this, in turn, beneﬁts pupils. It is necessary, that in order for the students to learn what we expect of them, the teacher should also model the same sort of behaviour. For example, if it is expected of the student to speak courteously in school, and the teacher speaks rudely and abruptly, even if it be at a time of stress, the student will find it hard to understand the boundaries and may get confused at what is being asked from them as their example is doing the opposite. Therefore it is vital that the teacher also checks that they are setting a good example for the students to follow. If effective communication is not seen through, it could lead to a lot of bad feelings, and miscommunications, making either party feel awkward or even upset in their enviroment, this will then hinder the positive progression for the pupils overall. Thus, it is essential, that all means of communications are open and clear for the enviroment to remain happy and positive. Relationship building The main factor of relationship building with children or adults is making sure that they are comfortable and at ease in our company. This will immediately then make it easy to communicate with each other contentedly and effortlessly. On the other hand, where there is a situation were people don’t get along, they will tend to try and avoid each other and feel uncomfortable in each others company, making clear and open communications difficult to uphold, which will then reflect on the progress of those in interest, students and the school. There are a couple of methods that one can bare in mind when working alongside children, young people and adults to maintain a happy working relationship, these are as follows. : - * Effective communication, which is the most important, and can be sustained by maintaining the following. * Being considerate . * Remembering particular issues that may be personal to them. * Showing respect. * Being clear on main points. * Taking time out to listen to them. * Maintaining a sense of humour. Being considerate – Always consider the position of the other person, they (child or adult) may be in a difficult situation and may need extra consideration and support, which may explain why they may be behaving unusually. Remembering particular issues that may be personal to them – To show concern to the affairs of those you are dealing with. This makes the child / adult feel like you are interested in them, and will help build a better and positive relationship. For example, if you know that a family member of theirs is unwell, enquiring about them. Showing respect – Respect is always a fundamental factor for positive relationship building. It is not only the way we speak to people, but also how we treat them. It is very important that we respect other opinions of people, and also show respect to their culture, values and beliefs. It is also deferential if we bare in mind and learn the names of people and important information regarding them, making them feel as though we are interested in them. Being clear on main points– When talking to people, it is important that we be clear with our main points. For example, in a meeting, discussions can easily get distracted and the key points of the conversation may get lost, therefore, it is always helpful at the end to just repeat the main points again so that everyone is aware of what the important information is. When speaking to children, for example like when setting home work, it is important that the children understand what is being asked from them, an effective way to make sure communications are clear is to have the children repeat back what they need to do. Taking time out to listen to them – When approached by an individual for advice, or because they need to talk to you, or to confide in you, it is important to show concern and interest in what they are saying by listening to them attentively and responding to them appropriately where fitting. Maintaining a sense of humour – Even though as a teacher it is important not to become too friendly with the pupils, and to retain a sense of authority and firmness. It can also be helpful to sometimes relax the atmosphere a little by laughing or seeing the funny side to a different situation. This could make the students feel more comfortable with the teacher, and the teacher will seem more approachable. A balanced level of authority and humour should be maintained in order for this to work. Good to use as an icebreaker. Social, professional and cultural contexts. When communicating with others around us, it important to bare in mind how we talk and respond to them. Depending on whom we are talking to and where, the context in how we talk changes. Nevertheless, as a professional, it is important that when in a working atmosphere the manner in which we talk is formal and respectable. For example; when speaking to a student, the way in which we speak should be kind yet formal. When in a meeting, again we should remain formal. But when amongst friends and well-known colleagues informal language can be used. However, the way in which we talk is not the only way we communicate, we should also be mindful of the approach we use when responding to others too. For example, quickly responding to a phone message from a concerned parent, rather than taking time and getting back to them late. This shows the parent that you are paying attention to their needs, and shows you have respect for them as a professional individual. Our behaviour also counts under good communication skills. When sitting in a meeting for example, one should maintain his/her posture and show interest to what is being said as well as being respectful of the one who is talking. To talk and sit sprawled in this instance would definitely be very rude and impolite. To be attentive to other peoples culture is also important, as other cultures may have their own norms of behaviour, which will extend to gestures, body language and eye contact. For example, in some cultures it is impolite to look at the person you are speaking to in the eye. These sorts of cultural values should be upheld as much as possible.
Area 2 Skills
Skills needed to communicate with children and young people.
When dealing with young people and children, it is extremely important to show you are interested in them and what they are saying. They will feel a lot more confident and at ease when they feel accepted. Children respond to the way we communicate with them, if they feel that they are not being valued or heard, they are most likely shy away and wait to be asked questions in order to speak up rather than speak confidently out of their own choice.
There are a couple of ways we can manage effective communication when dealing with young people and children, they are as follows. * Give plenty of opportunity to speak.
Some children feel insecure about themselves, and choose not to speak if they have a choice. By giving sufficient opportunities to talk, pupils can put their thoughts forward to adults and express themselves. Sometimes, more time needs to be given to unconfident students to allow them to warm up and feel more secure in class or with the adult.
* Give eye contact and listen attentively
When a pupil talks to us, it is important that the teacher shows full attention to the pupil in question. By looking at the student, he/she will feel that they have your undivided attention. However, if the teacher is looking away or busy doing something else while the student is talking, he/she may feel that the teacher is not interested in what they have to say and may feel unimportant in the teacher’s eye.
* Use body language and facial expressions.
Body language speaks a lot without using any words. Students can pick up how an adult is feeling about something through the posture of the adult or even their facial expression. For example, when helping a student that is sitting at a table, sitting at their level makes them feel more comfortable and secure with the teacher, making the teacher seem more approachable and caring. A smile can also reassure the student, and make them feel more at ease rather than feeling intimidated.
* React and comment n what they are saying.
Sometimes students may use informal or incorrect language, to make sure that we understand what the student is telling or asking us, it may be necessary to repeat back what they are saying. For example, if a student says ‘ I aint gonna come tomorrow miss’, the teacher can check that what has been said by the student is understood by asking ‘ your not going to come in tomorrow, why is that?’ That way, if the student meant any thing else by what he/she said, he/she can then correct the understanding of the teacher.
* To show interest in the conversation by responding and questioning to maintain it.
In order to keep a conversation flowing between the adult and young people or children, it is important to show that you are interested in the conversation by asking questions and responding to questions. Facial expressions also help to make the atmosphere less tense and more calm. This makes the discussion flow more easily rather than keeping the atmosphere tense and rigid.
Inviting this style of learning will make the students more enthusiastic towards the lesson as they will feel more involved, and will also encourage the development of positive relationships.
How to adapt communication with children and young people.
Children are of all ages, cultures and abilities. Therefore all children will have different requirements that need to be seen to, to make them feel secure and valued. Sometimes we may need to adapt our behaviour and communication accordingly. Positive communication and being involved in the welfare of the young person or child will make them feel valued and a part of the school.
The age of the child or young person.
Children act differently at different ages and require different levels of attention. Young children for example may need more attention especially when they start a new school. Some theories suggest that some young people and children may even need to have more physical contact, but bearing in mind the child protection procedures, this is highly discouraged.
As children mature, they may have more particular issues that they would like to discuss. In these occassions, the way in which we talk to them needs to be adapted and be more to their level so that the teacher can feel approachable to them.
Depending on where you are with the young people or children, it is important to be able to adapt the way we speak and are with them in different situations.
In a lesson for example, the teacher needs to be more formal and in control than she is in a social enviroment. It is important that student understands what is required from them from the teacher, and that they should not cross those limits whilst in the class.
When in a more social enviroment, such as in the dining hall or in the playground, the teacher can be a little more relaxed around the students. This will help develop a positive relationship between the adult and young people/children. But it is in the teacher’s best interest that he/she still maintains his/her professional position and doesn’t become overly friendly with the students.
Sometimes, students may question about private life. It is important to ensure that personal information is not disclosed as this breaks the boundaries of a student and teacher relationship. Instead of answering in an offensive manner to a question the student may ask, it is better to answer using humour for the student not to feel embarrassed or put down. For example when asked what we do at home in our free time, we could answer by saying ‘ I don’t think you’ll find it very interesting to be honest.’
Pupils should never be given personal contact details such as personal email addresses, mobile numbers, addresses, and should not be allowed to add a teacher onto their social networking site. This also breaks the boundaries of how a student and teacher relationship should be and comes under personal communication instead which is not acceptable as a professional under the child protection act.
All children are different from each other, and some children may need more attention when spoken to than others. Nevertheless, every child needs to be given their due attention, as this also comes under the ‘every child matters’ framework. Some children may be hesitant and shy and may need more time to speak up, care and sensitivity should be observed when dealing with these types of students, as they may be anxious or nervous at how they might be perceived. It is the teachers duty to make them feel secure and safe allowing them all the time they need. But it is also necessary to keep in mind that it may stress the student out to try and show you understand what they are trying to say by finishing off their sentences, allowing them to speak freely in their own pace is best. This also applies to children with stammer and speech impediments.
Where children with disabilities or special needs are concerned, sign language and other forms of effective communication may need to be learned through training.
Main difference between communicating with adults and with children and young people. When communicating with adults and children there are a lot of similarities that should be demonstrated with both ages of people. For example, when talking to a child eye contact should be made to show you are interested in what they are saying, this also is the same behaviour we should have towards adults too. We should treat children with courtesy and respect just the way we treat adults too.
But there are some differences that should be remembered when communicating with children and young people.
When communicating with a young person or child, it is very important to maintain a formal relationship with them, however close the child may be to you. The young individual needs to be clear of his/her boundaries with the teacher, and know that they cannot be crossed. The child will only understand this by the way the teacher portrays and communicates information. Any thing the teacher says should be said clearly and be unambiguous. This way the student will know what is expected from them and will not be confused.
Depending on the age group of the child, the way in which the communication takes place should be relevant to the child’s age. For example, for children, the teacher may need to speak slowly in order for the students to understand, and sometimes use expressions and gestures like thumbs up, or nodding the head to show the student what they mean.
For elder students on the other hand, communications should also be clear. A method in how clear communications can be made is by asking the students to repeat back what has been asked of them, or for them to explain what has been asked of them. This way if the student is unclear with what is being asked, the teacher can then explain again.
Sometimes younger children in particular may need more attention. Especially if they are upset they may want a hug or even a hand on the shoulder. It is strongly advised to avoid any forms of physical contact with the child or young person as a method of communication. The teacher needs to maintain her professional status and not become too friendly with the student/s or physical at any time.
How to adapt communication to meet different communication needs of adults.
When communicating with adults, it is important to remember to be sensitive to their needs, especially if they have communication difficulties. For example, if an adult has hearing impairment, then the teacher should bare in mind to be more aware of their needs and turn towards them when talking to them, and talk slowly so that they could lip read.
Also, if a parent does not speak English as their first language, it is important to have a translator for them to communicate what the teacher wants to say. For example, at parents evenings, or when necessary. Writing letters to parents is also an effective means of communication, however sometimes the adult may not be able to respond quickly, and therefore sensitivity should be considered.
How to manage disagreements.
Disagreements with others occurs when there is miscommunication gap and when unclear messages are passed across. This tends to create bad feelings amongst individuals and makes the atmosphere tense. People then are most likely to blame each other for the unfortunate circumstance, and this can continue to develop into a deeper and more difficult problem when not resolved immediately.
Teachers should never become involved in a conflict with young people or children. If ever this is the case, then the teacher must solve the problem in a professional way, involving the line manager or head teacher if needed.
In order to maintain a positive and happy atmosphere it is best to try and avoid any conflicts. Here are a couple of ways how this can be handled. * Communicate clearly.
To avoid miscommunications the teacher should take the time out to explain what is asked from him/her to the class, and preferably ask the students to repeat back what they have been asked to do, so the teacher is aware that the students know what they are doing.
If a message needs to be passed to an adult, then it is important to communicate this either by a letter, email or phone call. For example, if a student has misbehaved in lesson and is therefore receiving a detention after school, it is the teachers duty to notify the parent do they are aware of what is happening. The parent is more likely to be supportive towards the school when involved in the child’s education and welfare.
If a miscommunication does occur, then it is encouraged to try and resolve the matters privately rather than ignoring it or telling exteror people about it. This will only make matters worse.
* Clarify expectations
When talking to a group of people, or even just a person it is very important to make clear the matters at hand. For example in a meeting, it is important to clarify what the purpose of the assembly is, so that those with a different idea in mind can understand what the purpose of the meeting really is, and don’t leave the meeting with a different insight to what the actual aims are.
* Work alongside parents in harmony
Parents sometimes have a different view to how the school should be run. When the teacher works alongside the parent, the parent can understand and appreciate why the school has chosen to do things in a certain way, the parent feels involved in their child’s education and welfare and in turn this helps benefit the pupils. This avoids any miscommunications with parents and avoids conflicts that could occur without this communication.
One method could be holding parents and governors meetings.
* Be sensitive to individuals
Teachers need to be sensitive to those around them, especially other adults, as sometimes some people may be suffering from work pressure or pressure from home. To be understanding towards them and their situations will help to keep the peace and harmony between each other and avoid unnecessary conflict.
Sometimes other individuals will feel angered and strained due to their lack of confidence. It could also be because of their insecurities. This should be handled by the teacher by being supportive and by offering encouragement, rather than reacting to their behaviour and taking offence.
Other ways in which we could avoid conflict with other individuals is to keep a check that we are doing the following habitually. : -
- Smile, being friendly and approachable.
- Making eye contact and speaking clearly when speaking to others.
- Address others correctly by their right title or name.
- Use positive body language and gestures.
- Be understanding and sympathetic to the needs of others.
- Be appreciative and acknowledge the help and support others give us.
- By not interrupting people when speaking or making unnecessary and irrelevant rude comments.
- Use an appropriate method of communication depending on the individual.
Area 3 – Regulations
Legislation and procedures covering confidentiality, data protection and the disclosure of information.
When working with children it is vital to acknowledge and appreciate the uniqueness of each child and to respect their human right. This comes under the ‘Every child matters’ framework. Children should be treated as individuals and their needs need to be looked into. For example, if a student is suffering from abuse at home, this cannot be dismissed by the teacher when he/she is aware of it thinking that it isn’t the teachers problem. Instead the teacher needs to report it to those in charge of dealing with such cases. This does not only come under major circumstances such as abuse and neglect, but also within the classroom. Each child should be able to move forward in his/her own pace. For example, a child may be gifted and talented, and therefore may need extra work and activities to develop them further in their studies. It is wrong of the teacher to dismiss the development of this child and teach at his/her own ease, keeping the child in the same level with the rest of the class.
Each child matters is exactly that. Every child’s needs and requirements need to be seen to, that is by law.
Data Protection Act 1998
When a child starts school, there are certain documents that need to be collected to help care for the student in the most effective way possible. But only documents that are relevant to the welfare of the child in school can be asked for.
These are: - * Health or medical information. * Records from previous schools * Records for children who have special needs.
All of these documents are classified as confidential information and cannot be passed to a third party unless the parent gives consent to do so. It is best to keep evidence of their consent by having it in writing for future requests.
The documents cannot be used for any other purpose apart from the purpose it was collected in school in the first place, which should only be to understand the child’s background and for the welfare of the child.
Under the Data protection act 1998, any organization that with holds information about any individuals needs to be registered with the Data protection commission. This is so that the confidential information cannot be passed on to others without the individuals consent. There are eight principles of practice that administer the use of personal information. Information must be: - * Processed fairly and lawfully * Used for the purpose for which it was gathered. * Adequate, relevant and not excessive. * Accurate and kept up to date. * Kept for no longer than necessary. * Processed in line with the individual’s rights * Kept secure * Not transferred outside the European Union without adequate protection.
Depending on the information at hand, there are two ways to go about it. If the information isn’t very serious, for example, a student confides in a teacher regarding some friendship issues, then this should be kept strictly to her/him self. If the issue is serious however, for example, a student confides in a teacher that he/she is getting bullied in school, or even abused at home, then this immediately needs to be passed on to the senior supervisor. That could be the line manager, head teacher, and in the case of SEN children, then the SENCO.
It is important that confidential information is not passed to anyone else without being sure that it is the right thing to do, even if it were to be the student in questions parent.
If confidential information is passed to a third party that has no right to know for example, other children, other parents, visitors and other professionals then this will be abusing the position of professional status, and can be very damaging.
Pictures should also not be taken of the children for any reason, display work etc, unless the parent has given consent.
Reassuring children, young people and adults of the confidentiality of shared information.
When in a situation where you are party to gathering information, it is important that others know that you will keep the information disclosed by reassuring them of your responsibility to do so.
If any confidential information needs to be disclosed about a child to another professional for some reason, then it is essential that the child’s parents consent has been taken from before.
If the child is at risk from harm or abuse, then there is a legal obligation upon the school to disclose the information to those that can help, (e.g., social services) for the safety of the child.
If there is a child that suffers from a medical condition, for example, asthma, then it is essential that all members of staff that work with this child is aware of the condition. This is only so that the child’s welfare can be monitored and looked after. This will not be classified as a violation of confidential information.
Situations when confidentiality protocols must be breached.
If a child confides in a teacher, and tells the teacher of such an issue that put’s the child at risk of harm or danger, than it is fundamental that the teacher makes clear to the student that he/she will NOT be able to keep this information only to his/her self and will need to tell somebody that can help.
It is wrong to promise the child that their confidential information that they entrusted upon the teacher will not be broken, and then to go and break it. The child must know from before hand that this cannot be kept classified for the reason that they may be at risk and need help.
Confidentiality must be breached in the cases of suspected child abuse, or when the child is at risk, as help may be needed by senior advisers, such as the line manager, head teacher or even social services. The information should not be passed to any other people that are irrelevant to the case.