Teaching assistants are able to form special relationships with the children and young people they support due to the amount of time they spend with each other. It is essential that the teacher shows they are able to work with mutual support and they should make the child or young person feel as though they are approachable. In addition to this, it is vital you try to develop a respectful relationship on both parts. Schools have a diverse range of students from a variety of different cultures and backgrounds, so it is significant that teachers understand what the child or young person believes to be important to them and this should be taken into consideration when supporting them. The child needs to feel as if they are being listened to but should not be given too much attention that they become attached or dependent. It is also key to make all children and young people feel as though they are a part of the school community and that their views and opinions matter. Also, boundaries and ground rules need to put in place to make the relationship professional. The teacher should be aware of what it is the child wishes to accomplish from school to help support them in a way that is more specific to their needs.
Foundation and Key Stage One are the earlier stages of a child’s development and during these stages are where they are building relationships and interacting with more people. When around children of the ages 4-7 it is essential that they are being spoken to with vocabulary they are familiar with as they will still be learning new words and phrases. Patience is a vital factor when communicating with the Foundation and Key Stage One years as instructions and information may need to be repeated in order for the child to understand what is being asked of them. All communication needs to be clear and properly pronounced so when the child gets familiar with the words being used they are able to use and say them properly. The best way to find out if a child is listening and can understand what is being said is to get the child to repeat the instructions or information back to the teacher. Children will respond better when the teacher seems friendly, so smiling and listening will be beneficial. Towering over the pupils can be quite intimidating so teachers will lower themselves to their level. Also, foundation and key stage one pupils will find concentrating difficult and will get easily distracted. The children should be taught how to listen to others and how to take turns when speaking.
For Key Stage Two pupils it is beneficial to give them opportunities to express themselves within the classroom and they should be encouraged to talk about their opinions. When talking about their opinions it is good to acknowledge what they are saying as they will then express them more freely. Due to the lack of maturity, they will still need to be reminded about not interrupting people and letting people have their say as this could very easily become part of their personalities. Similarly, it is important to show patience and understanding as this will help to engage the child.
Finally, Key Stage 3 and 4 children need to empowered to express their opinions freely. At this age it is important to treat the young people like adults, this means they should not be patronised or spoken down to. They are more likely to be self-conscious and lack confidence in speaking to other people about their problems and issues. In circumstances like this patience and time is essential in order to regain that confidence within group situations. Any acts of stereotypical and racial discrimination should be challenged as well as inappropriate language including swearing. Some young people may not have English as their first language which could mean their speech patterns may differentiate to others.
Disagreements between children can be particularly challenging. The younger of children will tend to be very emotional and have a tendency to cry a lot. This can also result into tantrums and strops. The key to dealing with disagreements between children is to listen to both sides of the argument as this will then let the children know that both of their views are heard and that there is no special treatment amongst them. In addition, it is found to be beneficial to make the children see things from others point of view by making them think about how they would feel if the same situation had happened to them. It also has to be made the clear what is right and wrong in each situation and apologies must be encouraged when necessary. Children often do not understand the concept of sharing (this is particularly noticeable with only children) and this is where most disagreements can stem from. The idea of ‘Circle Time’ is great to overcome this as it teaches the children to sit quietly whilst listening to others and waiting their turn.
However, with young people disagreements may be harder to overcome as at this stage they will be very opinionated and have their own understanding of what they believe is right and wrong. In addition to this, they are also more insistent and will have developed more independence.