1. Explain why effective communication is important in developing positive relationships with children, young people and adults.
Effective communication is fundamental in building positive relationships with children, young people and adults alike. Children witness how adults interact and communicate with each other and this influences how they communicate and behave. If a child hears an adult making negative comments they will see this as acceptable. Adults should act as positive role models to the children that are in their care. As a teaching assistant it is vital to develop good, appropriate relationships with pupils, staff, parents and any other adults involved in the child??™s care and learning.
As children??™s language skills improve (from about the age of three) children begin to chat and express themselves and they begin to expect adults to listen and provide answers to questions they may ask. It is by questioning that children learn and the more you talk to children the more likely they are to approach you. Children will soon be aware of adults who will spend time listening and talking to them and this will make them feel valued and part of the school community. By modelling the norm of conversation children will learn to work in groups, pairs, as a class and listen to each other.
As children grow and develop they become less spontaneous and will often need time to think and reflect before communicating. It is important that time is given for this and as adults we take time to listen and allow children to seek reassurance or it can result in a loss of trust and confidence. During the ages of 7 ??“ 11 years children are beginning to form their own opinions and it is important that we respect those opinions and communicate that to them, so that they become confident and self assured and are capable of making their own choices and decisions.
Once children progress towards their teenage years they begin to go through many significant changes both mentally and physically. During this time young people may feel the need to talk to an adult. It is important that as an adult you remain open minded and discuss issues that you may not agree with and also empathise with the young person. If a young person is put off from talking they may stop talking about issues altogether and this can affect self-esteem, confidence and concentration on other tasks.
The children and young people that we work with also have other adults working with and caring for them. It is equally important to communicate effectively will those other adults by showing mutual respect and accepting that everyone involved in that child??™s care wants to achieve the same result ??“ that being the welfare and education of the child. Good communication will prevent misunderstandings and unnecessary worry. For example, if a child is having problems at home and this is not communicated to staff then it may affect that child??™s behaviour or attitude to school. By being open to other adults you can prevent this and be immediately aware of any issues and therefore assist that child in coping. If communication is effective the more likely parents and other professionals will offer support to the school.
Whilst communicating with anybody, regardless of age, it is important to always remain calm, polite, smile and use a pleasant voice tone. It is important that your body language and facial expressions show that you are interested and you are listening to what the other person is saying. People must be given the opportunity to talk and by being welcoming and friendly you will encourage the other person to mirror your behaviour and build a positive relationship with them.