Why Effective Communication Is Important

Why effective communication is important

Effective communication helps to build positive relationships. We build relationships by communicating positively, being approachable and understanding the issues that are important to children and young people. This results in them feeling valued and secure in the school environment. The Government prospectus Common Core of Skills and Knowledge describes communication as ‘not just about the words you use but also the manner of speaking, body language and above all, the effectiveness with which you listen.’

Communicating positively involves actively listening, maintaining eye contact and being aware of our body language. A calm, clear tone of voice will help children and young people to feel at ease in our company and not threatened. Actively listening is essential if we are to establish respectful and professional relationships. Using verbal and non-verbal feedback shows a child and young person that we understand what they are thinking or feeling and value what they say. A child that feels valued is more likely to respond better to support that a teaching assistant may offer. Taking time to listen to children and young people builds their trust. Trust is important as children may need to confide in an adult or ask for help.

So that children and young people know what to expect when working with them it is important to establish ground rules. These rules should set out how you are going to work together, expectations, what you both want to achieve and the consequences of breaking the rules. If rules are broken then children must be treated equally as showing favouritism does not help to establish respectful relationships. All children are equal and stereotypes such as race, ability and religion are to be avoided.

Building relationships with adults is similar to building relationships with children and young people where communicating positively is the key. Burnham (2010) states “The principles of relationship...