Effective communication plays vital role in developing positive relationships with children, young people and adults. Most of the people in general are more likely to communicate and share information to each other if they are in positive relationships. Building positive relationships with children, young people and adults will help them to participate better in the school life.
As teaching and learning support assistants is very important to model effective communication skills. As adults in the school we need to show positive relationships with other adults, so the children can copy this behaviour. Also to understand clearly what are our school expectations and the limits of what is acceptable.
There are key futures that underlay the relationship building with children, young people and adults. While we work with children and young people they should be given the opportunity to express their ideas in their own words and time. Also the learning support assistant must be able to demonstrate the care for the children??™s learning, development and the way that he/she relates to their problems.
Developing positive relationships with adults has similar principals to the one with children. When communicating with children and young people we use very clear, unambitious language and instructions, in order to be easy to understand what is expected from them. While we communicate with adults we must use different, appropriate language. We need to show that we are sympathetic to their needs and make a time to listen and understand their position. We can make suggestions and work confidently with the information that we communicate with them.
It is vital that as adults we show to children how we can manage positive relationships with adults. Children and young people need to see that we value and respect each other??™s point of view. Valuing the opinion of other adults carries the importance of effective communication as it leads to building of the positive learning environment. Promotes good communication, suggest better cooperation and sends the right message to the children and young people.
There are different social, professional and cultural contexts that may be affected by the way we communicate. These may lead to some difficulties that need to be resolved. For example there may be poor communication, misunderstanding or misread information. The best way to deal with this situation is to discuss, find out the cause of it and find the way forward together. There can be different expectations or having different idea in mind. In this occasion we have to clarify ourselves exactly what we are there to do and why.
As we are living in multicultural and diversity environment it is more likely to meet cultural differences where people have different cultural values, ideas and methods of dealing with situations. Some schools may require from children to do things in certain way, where parental views may be different based on their culture, traditions and religion. We have to be very sensitive and respectful to their values. The lack of confidence could affect the way people communicate; in this case we have to offer support and encouragement.
Within our work in the school we often communicate with outside professionals, that we do not know well and we can be unaware of their problems. They are more likely to be under pressure and may not communicate the way we expect, so we have to take under consideration these and work positively to manage well these differences in our communication.
The differences may certainly lead to disagreements that we have to deal with. It is very important to remember that effective communication have to build between people. Good relationships do not happen just by chance, we have to work on the way we communicate with other adults that may have different needs.
Also when we communicate with children, young people and adults we need to show them that we are interested in the person or the group that we are communicating. Use an appropriate language and method for communicating (positive body language and attitude).We need to make sure that we use clear language and facing the person that we speak to, to ensure that we make clear message to right person. It is important that we do not interrupt the person while it is speaking, to remain calm and respond appropriately. We must remember not to make assumptions and to be sympathetic to the needs of others.
As I said earlier disagreements may occur because of different reasons but for either reason, we should react and respond as mature adults and try to resolve the problem as soon as possible because leaving the problem longer can make it more difficult to resolve. If it is difficult to resolve the issue by ourselves we can seek advice from another adult, where we have to appreciate their support. When the problem cannot be resolved we may refer to the related school policies and procedures.
Legislation that covers confidentiality is Data Protection Act 1998 and it is starting point of designing Confidentiality policy. The key point of this legislation is to consider and protect the individuals right to privacy. Each school have policies and procedures relating to recordkeeping, reporting and sharing information. These policies are related to children as well as to staff personal information. This information has different levels of confidentiality. In the schools all the information that is held on children comes under data protection guidelines and can be legally shared with other professionals who need to know it. There are kind of limits on information change and those are stated in the schools policies and procedures with clear guidelines and instructions relating to records, assessments, reports and how this information exchange is to be done. For example cases like a child having some medical condition (asthma or epilepsy) this information needs to be accessible to all staff.
Unfortunately there are some cases with particular concerns where children are put at risk or a child disclose sensitive information we should not share it with anyone else and go straight to the Head Teacher. In cases of any kind child abuse (Sexual, Physical, Emotional, or Neglect) we have to follow strictly the child protection school policy. The school has a legal obligation to disclose information and this should go further. An example is Confidentiality section in Child protection policy in our school which states that “when there is an incident regarding child protection, all staff needs to be aware of the confidential nature of personal information. However, confidentiality cannot be guaranteed as information will need to be divulged to other people for example: EWO and other agencies. Staff not working directly with child, only need to know as much as is necessary to act sensitively. All child protection files and records are kept locked in SEN room.”
As teaching assistant we have access to different kind of information and records, so it is very important when we are handling with personal information to reassure those who it may concern that we will keep confidential. Also we can provide information that we have access to only to those who are authorised to have it and use it for its purpose. Normally in the school we have access to General childrens records, registers, medical records, and other SEN records on children, reports, assessments and records of other range of professionals. These are kept safe in the schools locked cupboard and should be never taken of site. We should consider all info is kept confidential and not shared with others without permission.
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