Questions on Unit One
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1. Good, solid relationships are essential in aiding a child or young person's ability to learn throughout their school career. The relationship between a teacher or teaching assistant and a pupil is different to one formed out of the school environment, because it is one of professionalism and authority.
In order to build a relationship with a child or young person it is important to remember that each one is an individual; different ages, with different abilities, interests and needs. You must engage that individual - remember their name, get down to their level if necessary (have open, welcoming body language) and show an interest in what they do within school and outside, as this will all help to start a conversation which is essentially the backbone of any relationship. Once that initial dialogue has taken place it becomes easier for both parties to approach one another in order to further build and maintain the relationship. It is important to keep that approachability throughout your time at school.
Effective communication is also very important. This means; using suitable language, and adjusting your language, for the age and ability of the child or young person you are talking to; listening to what the child or young person has to say, even if it is not entirely relevant. For them, knowing that you are interested in and value what they have to say is very important; allowing each individual to speak; giving clear concise instructions, allowing the pupil to complete a task with confidence.
Understanding the individual too can help in maintaining relationships. Do not have preconceived ideas about the child or young person; this is particularly important when dealing with children with special educational needs or behavioural issues. The ability to diffuse a situation through understanding the child(ren) involved will go a long way to keep the classroom a calm, relaxed space. Being consistent, for example with how situations are dealt with (remaining calm, listening to all parties involved and being impartial) will show the children and young people what you expect from them in terms of behaviour and that within the relationship you have built up, they are all treated equally.
Trust and respect are also important factors when building and maintaining relationships, especially with young people. Of course this is an important factor in all relationships whether personal or professional, but young people in particular go through some difficult periods during their school years, so knowing that there is an adult there that they can trust and who respects and understands them allows them to focus on their school career without additional worries.
Most of the points above also apply when forming relationships with adults too. Whether they are colleagues, parents or guardians of the pupils, a relationship built on mutual respect and trust will stand the test of time. People respond positively when you are courteous, friendly and use positive body language including eye contact. Approachability is also an important factor, particularly when building and maintaining relationships with parents and guardians. They need to be able to feel as though they can come to you if they have any concerns, so being open and welcoming and having a presence in and around the school environment is essential.
2. As mentioned before, relationships are essential in aiding a child or young person's learning. The ability to form that relationship however, can be hindered by a number of factors; both internal and external.
Internal factors can be described as some sort of disorder that affects the normal function of the body and thus the person's ability to build a relationship. Internal factors include;
Down's Syndrome: This is a genetic disorder that causes physical growth delays and