Communication is simply the act of transferring information from one place to another or from one person to another. Although this is a simple definition, when we think about how we may communicate the subject becomes a lot more complex. There are various categories of communication and more than one may occur at any time. Communication is all about how people send signals to each other through, language, speech, facial expressions, gestures and body language (Tassoni 2010) and these are just when we hold a conversation with one another. There is also written and electronic method of communicating with each other. The act of communicating draws on several interpersonal and intrapersonal skills. These include speaking, listening, observing, questioning, processing, analyzing and evaluating. Recipients of a message must be able to identify the sender’s intent, take into account the message’s context, resolve any misunderstandings, accurately make out the information and decide how to act on it. Such skills are essential to learning, forming healthy relationships, creating a sense of community and achieving success in the workplace (Fleming 2012).
Effective communication is very important. People who have difficulties with their speech and communication skills may be disadvantaged when it comes to their development, whether it is in education, social skills or independence. All of these will impact on the childes future life and may shape their future. People with speech and communication difficulties development will suffer, the extent to how much is dependant on the individual and the nature of the difficulties they suffer from. People who have communication problems may suffer from a variety of issues, including frustration, anger, withdrawal, low confidence levels, lack of social skills, difficulties learning new information, behaviour problems, become isolated, being understood and understanding others along with a wide variety of other issues. Though these are very broad terms it is clear to see that there is a large variety of issues that can arise from a sufferer of speech and communication problems. It is because of these reasons it is important that we develop positive relationships with children, young adults and adults. With proper speech, language and communication support children, young adults and adults can show progress in developing these skills when they receive the proper high level of support that comes from a positive relationship.
Social skills are also developed because of improved communication. Children for instance who’s communication skills become more developed or already have a positive relationship is in place, find it easier to make friends and maintain these friendships then those who don’t. Behaviour is also seen to improve because of the development of effective communication. The ability to explain, any frustrations, problems or difficulties are less likely to act negatively on them to get attention. Positive relationships help develop effective communication and learning, amongst children, young adults and adults. How we build effective positive relationships differs depending on the age group, culture, learning difficulties or disabilities. First thing you need is to be able to communicate effectively with the age group you are trying to develop your relationship with, for example talking with a teenager you would treat them as adults so they think your being respectful of them and their views and not treating them like children. The ability to sort out any conflicts or disagreements that might arise, causing a rift to form. Consistency and fairness, so being there when you say you’ll be there to support them and not being in and out of the classroom constantly if you were working with children.
Valuing their views, individuality and personality, honouring promises, keeping confidentiality when appropriate. All these things will help the development of a positive relationship between a person and a child, young adult or adult (Tassoni 2010). There are a number of things that can affect relationships and how we communicate. One thing that can affect the development of a relationship or communication between two people is different cultural backgrounds. For instance in the Western Europe, eye contact is generally considered a positive thing and a main part of peoples body language. However in some Caribbean cultures however, whereby young people tend to be instructed not to look at someone in the eyes when being told off or disciplined, compared to Western Europe where it is generally considered important that a child looks you in the eye while they are being disciplined or told off so we can judge the childes reaction. This could obviously cause friction or give off mixed signals leading to the child become confused.
Another affect communication and the development of a positive relationship is the background it is being developed in, for instance in a professional background you would talk to the adult, young adult or child differently to social background. For instant when in a professional setting talking to adults, you will change how you talk, using appropriate language not searing for instance, and choice of topic and choice of language used –talking to them like they are adults. However in a social setting you may talk to them in a different way, using a more relaxed language, different topic choices and less professional behaviour. As part of any relationship whether it is between, children, young adults or adult’s disagreements are going to happen. How we handle these disagreements may differ from age group to age group. If it was a disagreement between two adults first we would find out the problem at hand, then we would look to see how we could solve the issue, whether we need to make some compromises, apologies or just agree to disagree.
If the disagreement between two adults is in a professional setting, it should be handled in a private place away from those it doesn’t involve. Hopefully any disagreements between adults can be solved quickly and positively without the need for a “neutral third party”. If there is a disagreement between children or young adults teaching staff or support staff should first use there judgement as to whether they should involve themselves or not unless there is a risk that the argument could escalate and one or both children could be hurt. If it is believed that children or young adults can’t reach a compromise without help a member of staff should help guide them to an answer or compromise so that in the future they can resolve it themselves. It is important that both sides of the story are heard so both feel valued and when making a decision it should be explained so that both sides understand the reason for your choice and it should be delivered in a positive manner so that neither side feels that they have missed out.
Confidentiality is about trust, as we want parents, carers, children and other professionals to share information with us with the belief that it will not be spread to anyone who does not need to know. Confidentiality is about respecting peoples rights to privacy and keeping private information we have been provided safe. As professionals we are expected to keep any confidential information to ourselves and to recognise who needs to know what and when (Tassoni 2010). The importance of confidentiality is taken so seriously that there is legislation to cover it, for example the “Data Protection Act 1998”. While parents, carers and children have the right to confidentiality, there are occasions when it must be breached; this could include when there is concerns about a childes welfare, if there is concern that a child may be being abused or abusing another child or abusing themselves and when a crime has been committed. It is important that, when confidentiality is breached you follow the proper guide line implemented by your place of work. Information should be passed quickly and directly to those responsible for dealing with this sort of thing.
If a child or parent comes to you with information of a sensitive nature it is important that you let them know that you will be forced the share the information if you feel it is necessary and who you would share it with, so that they don’t feel betrayed or hurt so they are willing to share information with you again in the future as they feel safe doing so. Communication plays a pivotal role in our every day lives, although it is easy to take the ability for granted. Being able to let someone know how you feel, to let someone know you understand what they are saying or asking you to do, to be able to give someone instructions, tell them your worries or if someone is hurting you or to warn someone that you know someone is in danger of being hurt or being abused (Tassoni 2010). All this is taken for granted when you are able to do these things and for those who can’t, it is frustrating, scary, confusing. It is up to members of staff/carers/parents to help bridge this gap and take away these issues, to build positive relationships so communication problems are decreased and removed all together and create a safe confidential atmosphere
Fleming C (2012) Communication Studies the #1 Resource for the Communication Field The Gridd “http://www.communicationstudies.com/what-is-communication”
Tassoni P, Beith K, Bulman K and Griffin S (2010) Children and Young People’s Workforce Early learning and Child care Heinemann Essex