Develop Professional Relationships with Young People
Outcome 1 Due to my job role in guidance and welfare, it is not often that I am in a situation where I have a whole groups needs to think about. Much of my work is designed on a 1:1 basis, arranging time frames when I can dedicate a set amount of time to one young person to discuss their current needs and situations. However when I have been in a class situation with students, I tend to move from one young person to another throughout the lesson. I would spent 2-3 minutes working 1:1 with a pupil, working through their current task with them, ensuring they understand the work and can complete a task unaided.
I would then check that they could complete the next set of answers or understand their next task and then move onto another pupil. After three or four 1:1 tasks, I would then address a table group, to check that everyone is still on task and understands what they are doing. I would then resume 1:1, returning to pupils with a higher need throughout this process to keep them on track and ensure they were receiving the support they require. It is important to maintain regular input with the whole group, as well as addressing individual’s needs.
This means that the whole group can stay on task and be focused as well as including every pupil in that lesson in their education. Outcome 2 Effective communication is the best way to build a positive relationship with a young person. Spoken word and body language are everyday forms of communication between people, but one we most often take for granted. Body language is probably the most important way of expressing how we feel and making someone else understand what we want to tell them. It is important to use the correct body language, give clear signals and make young people feel comfortable.
I would always lower my height to that of a young person’s so that I can use direct eye contact whilst talking to them. This will help to put them at ease, as they are not being stood over by an adult. If a person is angry or upset, this also communicates that there is no threat coming from me and that I am there to listen to them, and am interested in what they need/want to say. Spoken word should be clear and positive. Use language that the young person will understand and check for acknowledgment of what you have said. When giving instruction, ask them to repeat back what you have asked them to do, this is an effective method of checking nderstanding and confirming key points. Show that you are listening, nod your head, and acknowledge emotion, “I can see that you are angry or upset”. Paraphrase information to check your understanding and show that you are listening to what they are saying. This will build confidence in the young person to communicate with you. 2:1 – There may be times when how you communicate will need to be different; you may be dealing with situations where specific needs will require you to adapt your communication skills further: * The age of the young person, * The situation you are in, The personal development of the young person, * Language or Physical Barriers to communication. When dealing with such situations, clear thought should be given to how you chose to communicate. Adapt language to suit the understanding of the young person. If required use sign language or images to explain work or communication. Show that you are listening, by using positive body language and clarifying key points, or summarizing to ensure you have heard and understood properly. Try not to make assumptions either, let the young person explain, engage with the information they are telling you.
If you are dealing with a situation where you think another side of the story may also have taken place, ask them, “what about this? ” or “I heard that …. Can you explain? ” this will give the young person the chance to explain and reflect on their choices, and also build up trust in you because you don’t jump to conclusions. If communication is planned, i. e. a meeting or mentoring session and you are aware of barriers to communication, plan before hand. For example, when dealing with a young person or adult who does not speak English as their first language, plan how you can effectively communicate.
Do you require an interpreter? Can you use a computer to interpret language between you? Case Study – I have had to use Google systems before to speak with a child who spoke no English at all, when dealing with a situation that happened during lunch. This then led to me using our Sims system to show photos of pupils so she could identify children who she did not know. A letter was then translated to send home so that parents could be informed of what had happened. Translated texts are also a common use of communication between our school and some parents when English is not their first language.
Thought should also be given to the environment in which the communication is taking place, if you are in a noisy place or a public area, it may be better to take the conversation to a quieter or more private place. If a meeting space is required, ensure the room is cool, there is adequate seating, all of which is on the same level, and that exits are clearly visible and accessible, ask if they are ok for you to close the door before you do so, or leave the door slightly ajar, it reduces the anxiety of being closed in and feeling vulnerable, it will also help to safeguard both yourself and the pupil/parent.
The most important key to all communication is positive interaction. SMILE, talk clearly and calmly and give time for young people to digest information and respond accordingly. Don’t be afraid to correct a young person if their language or reaction is not acceptable and if a situation requires, don’t be afraid to walk away, but let the young person know you will be returning to them to talk. Outcome 3 Effective communication between adult to young person and adult to adult is not actually that different. The key points still apply to any person you have a form of communication with: 1. Smile! 2. Show Positive Body Language, . Talk clearly, calmly but assertively, 4. Show active listening, 5. Show acknowledgement for emotions and 6. Confirm understanding. As adult’s we are more aware of situations and differences and how that can effect communication. I would like to think that working within the education system also gives us a good knowledge of how best to deal with this. Cultural and social differences require some understanding of what will make the communication most effective. Will there be any barriers to understanding or language? Would two members of staff (one male, one female) have a more positive effect or make communication easier?
Is there any confidentiality or child protection concerns based on the cultural or social difference of the adults involved? (Especially if discussing their child). Thought would need to be given to such barriers and ensuring you adapt communication appropriately. The situation of the communication can be the biggest variant, as meetings are not always planned or parents can arrive at the school unannounced. Conflict could be the cause of the communication taking place, which would therefore present a more challenging situation to adapt to. However for all these circumstances the basic positive interaction would still apply.
The six key points above would ensure that you stayed focus, that effective communication could take place and that adults would feel that they could trust you to communicate fairly with them. Even if you disagree on something, effective communication will still build trust between you. 3:1 – There may be situations where you don’t have all the answers required or are able to offer the support needed. It would be in these situations where you could refer an adult to either: * Another member of staff, either more appropriate to the subject (specific subject teacher) or Senior Leadership. In house support staff, (Guidance & Welfare, or SEN) * Information on another service to contact who could offer more appropriate support or advice. Doing this would ensure that you are offering all the support and guidance that you can to an adult, you are confirming that you have listened and understood the individual’s needs and you have provided them with further support. Case Study – An unannounced adult complaint, I was called to reception because a member of the public had arrived demanding to speak with the headmaster. He was very angry because of an incident which had happened on the bus that morning. I escorted the gentleman to an office which had easy access due to his disability, and apologized for the fact that some of our pupils had behaved so badly. I then asked him to explain to me exactly what had happened on the bus; Some young people wearing our uniform had been rude to him and had purposely knocked his leg whilst sitting on the bus, after he had explained to them that his leg was pinned and he was unable to bend or move it, which was why he was sitting at the back of the bus. What had enraged him more was whilst sitting in reception the same group of boys had walked past; recognized him and then ran off laughing.
I confirmed key points and wrote them down. As he did not know names, we then used the Sims system to look through photos, so that he could identify the pupils involved. I also wrote these onto the statement. I then discussed what our next actions would be and assured him that a member of the Guidance Team would be in touch at the end of the day to inform him of what had been done. His contact details were taken and I escorted him back to reception, commenting that the majority of our students are very well behaved and polite and that I was sorry he had had a poor experience of some of our pupils.
As arranged, my colleague who dealt with the pupils in question, called him back to inform him of what had been done and ask if anything else was required of the school for him. This was a conflict situation which was dealt with promptly and effectively, leaving the gentlemen in question with a positive experience of dealing with staff at our school, and knowing that behavior is addressed appropriately and effectively by staff. Outcome 4 Too often you hear adults say to a child “Do as I say, not as I do”.
I however feel this is not the most productive way to teach young people how to be responsible people. Every adult has a part to play in being a role model for the younger generation, whether you are a parent, relative or just an adult in the street. If young people see us behaving in a certain way, they will see that as being acceptable and will behave accordingly. As the adults in society it is our responsibility to teach others what being a positive role model and member of society means.
Within the school setting, I find that I have adopted the guidance role in my manor when dealing with all pupils. I do not instruct pupils to do things, I not TELL them to behave a certain way. I aim to guide them into making the right choices. I treat all pupils fairly, I do not shout or raise my voice at people, and I do not use inappropriate language or actions towards people (both staff and pupils). I aim to treat people as I would expect to be treated myself, and have high expectations in this!
If a young person is not compliant, I will offer choices and give clear instruction as to what each choice will lead to. It is then up to the pupils to choose their path and face whatever consequence comes from that choice. If a pupil is using inappropriate language or behavior I will address them by stating that is not the correct way to behave and thank you for not continuing to act that way. (this may need repeating! ) However being a good role model is not just about being the ‘perfect’ human being all the time. That is impossible!
Young people need to learn that all adults are people, we have bad days, days when we feel ill or tired or angry, just the same as them. The important thing is that we teach them how to behave when we are feeling like that or put in situations where we have to deal with others who feel like that. It is teaching them that it is ok to be angry, but there are still some things you can’t do, like physical violence or shouting/swearing at people. It is ok to make mistakes, but learn from them and apologize if you have done something wrong.
I often talk behaviours through with young people. “Is it ok to behave like that? ” they will often respond “No”. Ask them “what should you do in that situation? ” 9 times out of 10 they can actually give you a decent answer, if they struggle, again give two options and ask them to choose which would be the best. This gives them ownership over their decisions but also teaches then the understanding of consequences for actions and choosing to make the right decisions.
Being a good role model is about being a positive member of society, having manors, saying please and thank you as a matter of normality and teaching people to be responsible for their own actions, both positive and negative. If young people see the adults around behave like this all the time, they too will make the right choices and grown into positive citizens with high expectations of themselves and what they achieve. 4:1 – One would like to think that working within the education system that all the adults you work with have a like mind when it comes to working with young people and values.
Encouraging adults to have positive relationships with young people, works much the same way as encouraging young people to have positive relations with each other. Leading by example is the best way to teach people how to treat each other, but sometimes it requires more than this. Mediation can be a good way of helping to restore negative relationships between staff and pupils, it gives them a chance to explain things to each other, reflect and restore trust in their relationship.
Sometimes it can become necessary for staff to exchange helpful information with each other about how best to work with particular students. Some staff may have certain tactic that they find work well with a specific young person and can encourage other staff to use them to enhance their working relationship with the pupil in lessons. Outcome 5 All policies and procedures are clearly set out in our staff handbook, which is reviewed and republished at the beginning of each school year (September).
All staff have access to this through the intranet and paper copies are kept by our DHR. Sharing information is encouraged and necessary for effective communication within school, weekly briefing meetings are held for all staff to share information and fortnightly Inclusion meeting are held to keep staff up to date with key pupils and strategies. Confidential information is shared between key staff members: Staff information is handled by out DHR and their Line Manager, Pupil information would be dealt with by guidance and welfare staff.
Staff who have a concern about a pupil, would report this to the guidance and welfare department, this would then be dealt with accordingly between the department. If child protection concerns are highlighted, this information would be passed to the Designated C. P Officers, Mr. Cooley-Greene and Mrs. Godfrey (Myself), we would then liaise between each other and our Senior Officer Miss Greenhalgh. Staff information is kept on file by the DHR, and only she has access to this information, all staff queries are dealt with by Mrs.
Beynon and she is responsible for ensuring that data is protected and stored correctly. Pupil information is stored on the school Sims system. All staff have access to the information on this system, but only specific staff have access to edit or view certain parts of the system. All C. P Files are stored in a separate file, which is password protected and a locked file. Contact details and parents information can be seen by any staff, but only edited by reception staff, all staff are aware that no information should be given out to other parents or pupils.
The Sims system is password accessed so only staff who have been given access to the school system can view this information. Information is shared and reported in many different ways depending on the content. Informal concerns, or non-confidential information is usually reported through staff verbally or through email. Once the information has been dealt with a communication log on Sims, or an track of emails will be saved into the pupils file in the guidance drive. This information can be accessed by all staff and be shown to a parent in required.
More significant information is often still share verbally, but in confidence, a significant event sheet, will them be completed and auctioned and again saved to the pupils file. Child protection information would be disclosed verbally to a C. P Officer, and all relevant paperwork completed and auctioned, saved either electronically in password protected files or on paper, stored in a locked C. P file. Information regarding staff would be dealt with in much the same way, again dependant on content but reported to the appropriate Line Manager or DHR.