Communication and professional relationships With children, young people and adults Essay
Unit title: Communication and professional relationships
With children, young people and adults
1.1 Explain why effective communication is important in developing positive relationships with children, young people and adults.
Communication plays a large role in developing positive relationships with others. It is important that care is taken into how we react to certain situations and how we approach others. If there is effective communication between the teacher and parents we are more likely to develop positive relationships as they will feel more comfortable coming forward with issues or concerns if they feel that the correct lines of communication will be followed.
This is also the same for relationships with children and young people as they will feel valued as a person if they feel that they can communicate with others in an appropriate way. For example the way in which we communicate in a highly stressful situation can result in a positive or negative relationship. Keeping the language calm and clear will develop more positive relationships rather than if a person was to shout, which therefore creates a negative relationship through communication.
1.2. Explain the principles of relationship building with children, young people and adults.
In a school environment relationships are being built everyday with different people without giving it a conscious thought. However, there are a few main principles which can be put into place which will encourage a positive relationship between children, young people and adults. For example effective communication as shown above can play a role in how a relationship is built. Also, showing respect for one another is a key principle in building a relationship as it is important to understand and acknowledge that there are lots of different people who come from different cultures and have different beliefs. Something as small as taking the time to learn someone’s name is respectful and is the first stepping stone to building a relationship. Being empathetic to others will help understand why people behave a certain way and may help us to be more considerate of others. For example a child or young adult may look as if they are misbehaving on the surface, however it may be that they are having a bad time at home and this is the reason for their behaviour. Therefore it is important that to build a relationship you need to be considerate of other people’s situation. In order to build a relationship, having the ability to listen to others will help to make that relationship a positive one. It is important that others know you are there in times of need or just for a casual chat. For example if a child needs advice they should feel that they have your undivided attention whenever possible. It may be easy to forget, but keeping your sense of humour is one of the main principles in building relationships as it can be a great ice breaker and can help relax both yourself and other people. All these things combined are a great recipe for building relationships with others.
1.3. Explain how different social, professional and cultural contexts may affect relationships and the way people communicate.
While communicating with people you need to bear in mind the different types of context there are and you will need to adapt the way you communicate according to whether it is social, professional or otherwise. For example social communications tend to be quite informal and you may also communicate through body language too. Such as hand gestures or proximity to each other. However it is also important to be aware that certain things which may be acceptable in one culture may not be acceptable in another. Such as eye contact or personal space boundaries. This may have a negative effect on the relationship. Professional adults may communicate in more formal ways such as board meetings etc. However, communication does not necessarily have to mean verbal commination. It can also be indirect; these indirect responses to people may play a role in the relationships in a positive or negative way. For example how we respond to an email or a message, or how attentive we are to others will all have an effect on our relationships.
2. Understand how to communicate with children, young people and adults.
2.1. Explain the skills needed to communicate with children and young people.
First of all, children need to feel that their opinion is valued. Otherwise they will not feel confident enough to communicate with you. There are a few key principles that can ensure that there is good communication between children and this also transferrable to adults.
Be approachable. This can mean anything from facial expressions to body language. The importance of being approachable is that the likelihood of a person feeling comfortable enough to voice an opinion or issue is greatly increased if they feel at ease. For example if the child is very young, it helps to get down to their level. So literally bending down and giving them a smile will encourage them to open up rather than towering over them with your arms crossed.
In order for children to learn to communicate properly it is important to ask questions and respond to maintain a conversation. Not only will this show to the child that you are interested and value what they say, it gives them a framework of how a conversation works through listening and then responding by asking questions. The child will learn to use this technique as they develop their communication skills.
Give them a chance to speak. It is quite common to talk to a child and not really give them a chance to speak. This may happen without even realising. For example if a teacher is talking to a child and not asking any questions or not leaving any gaps between sentences the child may not feel that they are allowed to speak and they simply haven’t been given the opportunity to. It is important to let them have their say. Ensure that you repeat what the child is saying in the correct way. This shows that you are listening and it also teaches them the proper way of communicating. For example if a child says “I forgots to bring my picture home” You would repeat “You forgot to take your picture home? That’s okay you can take it home today instead”.
2.2. Explain how to adapt communication with children and young people for: 1)? the age of the child or young person. 2) The context of the communication 3) Communication differences.
There will come a time when you need to adapt that way in which you communicate with children and young adults for various reasons. The age of the child has an effect on how to communicate with them as they have varying needs. For example children who are new to reception need to have more reassurance and positive communication. They also require more physical contact as they are very young and vulnerable and are not used to a school environment. However, more mature children need less physical contact and reassurance and instead need to communicate their thoughts and feelings and may need help talking through issues so a more conversational approach where there is much more listening and responding is needed for those pupils. There are a variety of different situations where you will be communicating with children such as formally through lesson time during a learning activity, and informally such as in the playground or in free time in class. Although it is important to always maintain a consistent professional teacher-pupil relationship with pupils it is also important to realise that you may need to communicate differently in certain situations.
For example in a learning activity it is important to be very clear and to be firm with any children that may be disruptive, only asking questions that relate to the task such as “ do you understand”. However during play time or lunch time it is a good opportunity to develop a positive relationship with the children and to be more open to listening to the children and to be humorous as stated previously. It is important to be sensitive in cases where there are any communication difficulties such as a stammer or speech impediment. The way in which you communicate with these children will need to be adapted in order to cater to their individual needs. For example you will need to speak much slower and give them time to respond. Do not attempt to fill in the blanks or motion for them to finish their sentence as it will only make them feel more uncomfortable. In certain cases it may be that extra measures are taken to ensure than communications do not break down such as using visual cards or sign language to help children to communicate. Extra training may be required for these circumstances.
2.3. Explain the main differences between communicating with adults and communicating with children and young people.
When communicating to any person regardless of age there are principles that are generally followed such as maintaining eye contact, treating them with respect and courtesy and always listening to what they have to say. However, when we speak to children we need to be clear and precise. There is no room for ambiguity like there is when talking to adults simply because their levels of understanding are so different. Therefore it is important to make sure that the vocabulary we use is at the right level to the child. As previously stated, communication can be more than just verbal communication; it is also how we act. In relation to this, it is important to note that the teacher-pupil relationship should stay intact and remains professional at all times. Although this can be difficult, for example when I child is upset or just wants a hug or cuddle it would be inappropriate to say no, on the other hand It is not advised that you initiate any physical contact with the pupils.
2.4. Explain how to adapt communication to meet different communication needs of adults.
When communicating with adults, you will often find that you adapt your method of communication without realising. For example if talking to a parent at school you notice that English is not their first language you will speak slower and enunciate words. In more extreme cases of this happening a translator may need to be present to help with the breakdown in communication as it is important that everyone gets the same information. Other cases of adjusting communication automatically may be when you notice that the person is hard of hearing you may find that you face them more directly and speak clearer to allow the person to read your lips. However there are cases where an adult may, for whatever reason, not be able to communicate properly such as not having access certain methods of communication e.g. emails. In these cases is it important to be sensitive and discreet in your observations and ask parents why they have not responded to the message.
2.5. Explain how to manage disagreements with children, young people and adults Disagreements in your job are to be expected from time to time. Usually these disagreements are caused by a breakdown in communications somewhere down the line. What is important is that these disagreements are resolved as quickly and as respectfully as possible so that there are no bad feelings left at the end of the day. Any disagreements with adults should be resolved as quickly as possible as the longer they are left the more difficult they will be to resolve. If possible, arranging a meeting with anyone involved in a neutral place would be a good way to try to resolve any disagreements. It is important that everyone has their say and that everyone can come to some kind of agreement.
When managing disagreements with children and young people you should make sure that everyone involved has their say. Otherwise one child may feel victimised. The rules should be lay down and it should be made clear that there will be consequences for anyone who breaks the rules. It may be that both parties are at fault. For example if two young people get into a fight and child A (Max) says child B (Daniel) hit them first, you would say that max should not have hit Daniel but Daniel should have come to a teacher instead of taking matters into his own hands. It is important that the children understand where it went wrong and what they should have done in that situation. Communication is very important in any disagreement.
3. Understand legislation, policies and procedures for confidentiality and sharing information, including data protection.
3.1. Summarise the main points of legislation and procedures covering confidentiality, data protection and the disclosure of information. Legislation is put into place to protect every child’s human rights. These change quite frequently and need to be regularly reviewed by any adult who works with children. The main points of legislation are: Every Child Matters (England 2005) based on the Children Act 2004- This piece of legislation focuses on the importance of sharing information between professionals. This came to light after the case of Victoria Climbié. Victoria Climbie’s life was short and tragic. Her murder prompted the largest review of child protection arrangements in the UK. Data Protection Act 1998-
Under the Data Protection Act 1998 any organisation
Which holds information on individuals needs to be registered with the Data Protection Commission. This is designed to ensure that confidential information cannot be passed on to others without the individual’s consent. There are eight principles of practice which Govern the use of personal information. Three examples of these are: The information must only be used for the purpose for which it was gathered. It must only be adequate, relevant and not excessive. It must be accurate and kept up to date where necessary.
3.2. Explain the importance of reassuring children, young people and adults of the confidentiality of shared information and the limits of this.
If you hold any information about a child that is confidential it is important to explain to that person that there are legal regulations put into place to make sure that only people who are allowed to access that information will be able to access it. Some adults or children may feel vulnerable having private information on show and it is understandable that they feel that way. However it is important to make sure that you communicate with them and explain that their information is only shared with those whom need to know. It is important that make sure that they are aware that it is in their best interest that their confidential information is shared to the right people. For example if they have any medical conditions it is best that teachers are aware and prepared. Parental consent will usually be required when holding any information about a child. However if there are any indications that the child may be at risk of harm or abuse there is a legal obligation placed on the school to share information.
3.3. Justify the kinds of situation when confidentiality protocols must be breached.
There may come a time when a child decides to confide in you and tell you information that they wish to be kept confidential. It is important to let that child know that there are some things that you cannot keep a secret and you will have to tell someone. For example if a child confesses that they are being abused at home, this is a situation that would require you to act.
This is a very sensitive subject and should be approached with care.