Communication and professional relationships with children, young people and adults Essay
TDA 3.1: 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. Effective communication is important in developing positive relationships with children, young people and adults. As a teaching assistant, to be able to communicate effectively it takes a lot of skills and techniques. Eye contact, body language and facial expressions are a big part of communication. These are key signs of engaging in a conversation, it shows that attention is being paid.
Good and effective communication creates structure and stability. This may be through time keeping or teaching assistants and/or teachers sticking to time tables or lesson plan. This helps pupils build trust in teaching assistants. If a teaching assistant is friendly and approachable, then a pupil is more likely to want to confide in them if they are having any problems either at home or in school. Punishment and praise is important when positively communicating with children or young adults.
They have to learn boundaries and be taught to respect others.
Also, giving praise is essential. Recognising when a pupil has achieved something and acknowledging it will encourage them to continue achieving. This can be done by the tone of voice used. If a teaching assistant is cross then their voice is likely to be more assertive and when they are giving praise it is more likely to be soft and encouraging. Language used by a teaching assistant has to be age appropriate. They would not talk to a pupil the same way they may talk to a teacher. They have to use words that are appropriate for the ages or ability of the pupils they are working with so they fully understand what they are being told. They also have to remember that as a pupil grows up they should change their language to fit the pupils as it is important to be clear at all times when giving instructions. Asking open ended questions encourages pupils to respond by themselves and develop their communication skills. It is important to develop positive relationships with adults because as a teaching assistant it is invaluable to have a good relationship with other teaching assistants, teachers, other staff, outside professionals and parents. Sharing resources, evaluating each other and giving feedback may be useful to make improvements and give each other encouragement on good points. Respect and professionalism should be shown to all colleagues and outside professionals even if sometimes you may not always agree. Positive communication with parents is essential.
A pupil’s parent should know how they are doing in school. There are many ways a school can communicate with a parent. This can be face to face, phone calls, letters or notes home. This can be to inform the parents off progress or behaviour, good or bad. Outside professionals will also communicate with teaching assistants. For example, a speech therapist will work with a pupil and set goals and give feedback to a teaching assistant. The teaching assistant may then work with this pupil and feedback to the speech therapist. When communicating with anybody, a teaching assistant should be respectful of others feelings and try showing empathy of others situations. They should also try to think before they speak, not taking any preconceptions or prejudices into consideration. 1.2 Explain the principles of relationship building with children, young people and adults. There are also many principles of relationship building with children, young people and adults. One principle is as simple as making time for somebody. Letting somebody know you have time to talk to them will make them feel like they can come to you with personal issues. Body language should be open and not so defensive and people should be allowed their personal space. If body language is open, then a teaching assistant will appear more approachable.
Eye contact is also important, it may make somebody feel more comfortable within a conversation if they feel that the teaching is assistant is listening by keeping eye contact. When working with pupils that have additional need such as autism, an understanding as to how they as an individual communicates is very important to have. Many autistic pupils may not be able to make eye contact so this should not be pushed on them. They may need a bit more personal space and more specific instructions. Another principle is using age appropriate language. It makes it easier to build a relationship if a teaching assistant uses language to suit the person they are talking to. There isn’t any use in talking to a 5 year old as you would a grown adult because they may struggle to understand what you are saying. The tone of your voice is also an important principle. If you are condescending to a pupil or adult then they are not likely to want to build a relationship with you. If you are friendly when you communicate then pupils and adults are more likely to listen and respond. Being clear and unambiguous is essential when communicating and building relationships.
When building relationships, one important principle to keep in mind is somebodies cultural background. This could range from religious to language differences. With so many different cultures in a school it is important to respect them all. When communicating with people from different cultural backgrounds, things that are considered normal to a teaching assistant from their cultural background may be unacceptable to another from their cultural background. Showing consideration for others and remembering issues that are personal to them is important in building positive relationships. This can be the case for both adults and pupils, such as, remembering a colleague or pupil’s home situations and being sensitive of them when communicating.
1.3 Explain how different social, professional and cultural contexts may affect relationships and the way people communicate. Different social, professional and cultural contexts may affect relationships and the way people communicate. When communicating with senior member of staff you may be more formal than when you are communicating with other teaching assistants or teachers that you work closely with. When working in a multi-cultural school, lack of knowledge of other cultures is the main reason relationships and communication suffers. Some cultures are perceived differently by people but it is important to understand that each culture has its own norm and values. Some have different ideas of body language, eye contact and certain gestures. Sensitivity has to be shown and a teaching assistant has to adapt to the different cultures. Even if there is a lack of understanding, respect for each culture has to be shown. There are many different barriers when working with children and young adults. Pupils with special education needs will require more patience and a teaching assistant may need to break things down clearer for them in a variety of ways.
They may need more help integrating with other pupil’s and may look to a teaching assistant to give them more confidence and assist them in building relationships with others. Language barriers may cause a problem. As there are so many different cultures in schools, it may be difficult to communicate with some pupils. It may be the case that a teaching assistant that speaks different languages are employed to help these students as they are entitled to equal opportunities. Makaton is widely used in schools. It is a form of sign language for those who have hearing impairments. It is signs and symbols used to communicate non-verbally. It ensures that people who find it hard to communicate verbally can communicate in a different way that is just as effective. Working with pupils that have family problem requires a certain level of empathy. They may need more emotional support and may be required to keep in regular contact with their family, outside professionals or local authorities. This may require a teaching assistant to be more formal and keep matters confidential.
2.1 Explain the skills needed to communicate with children and young people. There are many skills needed to communicate with children and young people. Making opportunities and time to speak to pupils is important. If a teaching assistant gives a pupil time then they are more likely to approach them. Let them speak and show that you are actively listening, make eye contact and ask questions so they elaborate and give reassurance that you are listening, for example nodding. Make body language open so you appear approachable and use facial expressions. Smiling will let a pupil know that you are interested in what they are saying or if you show you are disinterested they will not want to work with you. Support the activities that pupils are doing rather than taking over. Let them be in control and show them support and encouragement to complete tasks. At the end, let them reflect on the task. See if there is anything they enjoyed, learnt or would like to improve on. Differentiating between pupils is an important skill as some may need extra support or visuals to help them communicate if they have difficulties. Patience is required to work with pupils. If they have additional needs they may take longer to complete tasks and extra encouragement. A teaching assistant has to be able to change their language dependant on the age or ability of the pupil. There is no point in using complex vocabulary when communicating with a 5 year old as they may not understand. It is important to be clear and unambiguous at all times. 2.2 Explain how to adapt communication with children and young people for: The age of the child or young person
It is important to adapt communication with children and young people dependant on their age. The younger they are, the more reassurance they may need completing tasks. Sometimes this is more so when children enter high school. They may be feeling overwhelmed and need extra support and encouragement whilst settling into a new environment and adapting to a new way of working independently. Adapting your vocabulary and come down to their level to suit the age of the pupil you are working with. This will make them feel comfortable and encourage them to communicate with you and develop their skills to be able to communicate with others. Also, ask them open ended questions to encourage them to elaborate on their reply rather than answering yes or no. Adapt to their emotions, some pupils may be experiencing problems.
These problems may either be at home or in school. They may look to you for emotional support, especially if they are not getting any at home. Keep body language open so you are approachable. Children and young people won’t want to come near you if you are sat in the corner with your arms folded. Show enthusiasm and approach them if they look like they may need help or support. Children need lots of praise and reassurance. They need to know that what they are doing is right to encourage them to carry on. Repetition is also important. If a pupil is unsure what to do and does not want to ask, keep repeating instructions clearly to them so they understand. The context of the communication
Depending on the situation, it is important to adapt verbal communication. Formality in the classroom is important because it is a professional relationship between a teacher and pupil which should reflect in the language used. Keeping your private life separate is a must. Spending so much time with a pupil, you may develop a close relationship but it is essential to remain professional. With such empathises on social media these days, pupils may try and be friends on Facebook or Twitter. It is important not to be friends with any pupils and keep the content private and appropriate. When working on a task in a learning environment then it is important to remain focused and concentrated, whereas when socialising in the playground, it is important to mix and communicate with lots of different people. These situations set examples for the pupils watching you. Make extra efforts for pupils with additional needs to integrate them into social groups. It is important that they are given equal opportunities and the additional support they may need to help them feel comfortable and happy in their settings. Communication differences
If pupils have communication differences then it is important to give them a bit more of your time and have extra patience. Don’t push them too much, some may not respond well to pressure and it may make them shut down. Just offer encouragement and have patience, let them respond in their own time. Do not second guess what pupils are trying to say. Give them time to communicate and the opportunity to build their skills. Ask open ended questions to encourage them to use their conversational skills. Cultural differences may require a teaching assistant to adapt their communication skills. This could range from vocabulary use to making eye contact. What is acceptable and normal to some if offensive and wrong to others. Pupils who don’t speak English as their first language may need extra support from a translator. It is important to still include them in as much as possible so they do not feel isolated or alienated. Adapting the form of communication may help, for example, using pictures or diagrams. Pupils with learning difficulties may need you to slow down what you are saying, explain in different ways or maybe use pictures. Differentiating to adapt to the needs of the pupil to help them communicate as effectively as they can is essential, even if it requires addition aides.