• The age of the child or young person
All children or young people have different levels of communication, a child’s communication and understanding will be different to a young person, because they are learning and understanding, where as a young person has experienced more in communication and understanding. You need to adapt your communication to all children and young people of all ages to their level of communication and understanding of English. For a child you need to adapt communication using simple words and making sure they have understood what you have said to them and when you listen to them, make sure you respond back to how they will understand. You may also find that children want someone to be beside them to help with their work where in a young person they are more independent and require less help.
• The context of the communication
Communication is different in many settings (environments) and where ever we are and how we communicate we need to make sure we are communicating appropriately. When it comes to communicating to a child or a young person and whether it’s in a group, our context of the communication needs to be inline of the school policy and we need to communicate appropriately, mannerly and respectfully. When we communicate it needs to be professionally in a school setting and this shows the child or the young person how to communicate correctly and appropriately and not forgetting to correct their language if used incorrectly.
• Communication differences
(must include language, sensory impairment, speech language or communication impairment, cognitive abilities, emotional state and cultural differences)
Communication can be different in many ways and can conflict if we do not understand and if we have not experienced it or had training.
The different types of communication include:
Language, where English is not their first language, they will not be fluent, this can be hard for them to express what they are trying to say and they may use incorrect words and this can make us misunderstand. Give them time, don’t rush them and don’t put words into their mouth otherwise if you do then how do we know if this is what they wanted to tell us. Use simple words and be careful how to respond back and make sure they have understood.
Sensory impairment, where there is a hearing and/or sight loss, are they wearing glasses? and are they wearing hearing aids? If there is a sight problem, how much can they see? we may need to write text how they can see the text clearly. If they cannot see, we need to introduce ourselves so they know whom they are talking to, greet them with a handshake and talk clearly using simple words and making sure they have understood. When you are moving away from them, tell them you are going, again touch them to say you are going otherwise they will think you are still there. Where there is a loss of hearing, how much can they hear? Use sign language, make sure you are talking clearing and slowly where they can lip read too using body language and maybe picture communication too.
Cognitive abilities, how much do the children/young people understand? Every child and young person is assessed on their cognitive abilities so that we (the school) need to adapt work, put things in place to get the best out of all the children and young people on executing their work.
Emotional state, you will find all children in different emotional states, we need to tread carefully with a gentle approach and asking if they are ok and if they need any help, reassure the child or young person that you are there if they need a talk or help with their work, pressuring them will increase their emotional state which could lead to other consequences.
Cultural differences, all children and young people come from different cultural backgrounds and we need to respect them and how they become because of their cultural background. Some of us may know how to communicate with them naturally and we may know their language and interpret for them or we can look into ways of adapting communication with them. Where there is a barrier to communication, we can use symbols or pictures, keeping it very simple that they will understand and not misunderstand. It may be a good idea to get these children together and have a separate lesson to progress on their communication and means of getting an external agency to help us.