1.1 – The importance of effective communication in developing positive relationships with children, young people and adults
The importance of developing good relationships with children, young people and adults alike cannot be stressed enough. It is vitally important that we demonstrate and model effective communication skills with positive interactions as children are more likely to respond favourably to this. We must know and understand the boundaries of passing on information whilst observing school policies and confidentiality. We must continually check and process our information in moments of stress or excitement so that the children understand our expectations. In a way we should ‘practice what we preach’ or children will find it hard to understand acceptable boundaries.
The element of trust must be gained, for without this it is difficult to envisage any real positivity or respect to be formed. In all cases good listening skills are equally important. Particularly with children it is not good practice to simply tell children what to do. Allowing children to talk and responding on their own language level will help them feel their views are valued and will improve their own self-esteem. If a child is perturbed or upset, it is not always easy to find an instant or easy solution, so the more we let them talk and choose our replies carefully (and this may be very little dialogue from us) the more we will gain their trust. I have personally found it good practice to physically be on their level whether teaching or dealing with any problems they may be experiencing.
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It is particularly important that older children and teenagers are allowed to be heard and express themselves. We may not entirely agree with what that have to say but our attention is vital if they are distressed in any way. Again, it may be good practice to go away and reflect on their views rather that go in ‘gung ho’ and say something we wished we hadn’t, thus damaging their trust in us. If we relate well to others the message we send out will be positive, otherwise communications can break down and it can lead to bad feeling.
Developing a good working relationship with adults within the school environment relies on adopting a professional approach. It is important to be thoughtful and choose words carefully, particularly when there are cultural differences. It’s important to listen and be empathetic to parents and guardians. This will help us understand concerns and reassure them wherever possible. A positive approachable attitude will encourage positive relationships, whilst we must always remain professional and follow school policies and procedures. We can provide information on the social welfare and any physical needs of their children. As a mediator we can pass relevant information to the class teacher or line managers. Although we may occasionally liaise formally with parents, it is more often less so.
1.2 – The Principles of relationship building with children, young people and adults
The key principles are:
• Effective Communication. The main area for developing positive relationships, this covers many different forms of communication • Showing respect. We have to listen and be respectful to other people, be courteous by remembering names and how we address them. It is important to respect and acknowledge different cultures and people with different beliefs. • Being considerate.
We need to think about why a person may be acting out of character as they may be under pressure before we respond to them. Consider their feelings and the position they may be in. • Remembering issues that are personal to them.
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It’s good to remember personal information about colleagues or parents and use them in a positive and not intrusive way. We can ask about their siblings, or other family members. Remembering birthdays and possibly asking parents how their older children are enjoying high school. • Taking time to listen to others.
If people confide in us we must take time to listen and show that we are interested, particularly if they require advice or help. We need to then respond in appropriate manner. • Being clear on key points.
We must be clear when giving information or instructions in conversations. It is good practice to ask the other person to repeat back our requirements so that they have understood us correctly. • Maintaining a sense of humour.
Throughout our important school work and life it is important to inject humour at appropriate times too. It can be a good icebreaker or way of relieving stress and relaxing a situation.
1.3 – How different social, professional and cultural contexts may affect relationships and the way people communicate
We can adapt the way we communicate in different professional and cultural situations. I would use more considered and formal language automatically. If it was a meeting or discussion I would consider both my approach and responses, use positive body language and be attentive at all times. I would dress accordingly depending on the formality of the meeting or course. I try to respond promptly to telephone and email messages. I tend to keep communication with those of a different culture as formal as possible until invited to be less so or a good rapport is attained.