Early Childhood Studies – a Global Perspective

Exploring the concepts on early childhood studies through the lens of people across the globe

Learning the ropes of communication

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In my work environment, there are different groups of people that I relate with – children, colleagues with diverse nationalities and age-range, families from different countries in the South Asian region, and co-workers with different educational backgrounds.

When I engage in conversations with the different members of my working community, I take into consideration the context of the roles of the people, as well as their personalities connections-990699_1280and gender. When I speak to my colleagues from the host country, I talk to them about their country – my new experiences. I also try to use the opportunity to get to know them as well as their country. It is a different dimension when I speak with the overseas teachers. Usually, we talk about countries where we have worked and the countries they will visit in the next holiday. However, with the more mature and senior members in the community, I am more guarded with the way I say things making sure that I am respectful towards them. The context of our conversations is usually about school operations. The staff that I hardly know is a usual greeting and a smile. When talking with parents, I wear another hat making sure that I represent the school well. Being with the children is my most favorite interaction. The conversations are free flowing, with the children asking me questions or the other way around.

My communication approach with every group can be similar, but still varied, as I tend to have more lengthy conversations with women than men. There are parents whom I seem speech-938585_1280to be more comfortable conversing with than the others. In my general communication, I try my best not to talk about religion or country politics, as I am not sure if I am representing views that may be opposed to others. I am careful not to slight anybody knowing the diverse religious affiliations of the community members – from Muslim to Hindu and Christian.

Given all these considerations, I sometimes still fail in my communication. When I am too absorbed about my personal affairs, I forget the context of the person I am know-1082654_1280communicating with. I could be too direct that I could make another person uncomfortable or talk about things that they cannot connect with. Learning more about communication made me realize that there are still many things that could make my interaction with others better. To apply the platinum rule – do unto others as you would have others do unto you is a primary approach to establishing a positive communication with people from all walks of life. This approach encompasses understanding the contexts of others and making sure that we keep an open-mind to the different perspectives they present. Corollary to this approach is developing an intercultural communication where I take into consideration one’s perception, culture, identity, personality and communication style. Having the background knowledge about these components would be helpful to compassion-651448_1280.jpgunderstand their habits, emotions, and intentions (Beebe, et. Al., 2011). A third approach that complements the first two is the ability to appreciate cultural differences (Gonzalez-Mena, 2010). It is being able to see the lens of others as I recognise mine to be able to come up with the third culture if necessary. Thus, the success of communication is not only about awareness of my culture and those of others and intending to establish a positive intent to communicate, but also the willingness to accept differences so that I could build the mindset of tolerance and inclusivity.

References:

Gonzalez-Mena, J. (2010). 50 strategies for communicating and working with diverse families. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc.

Beebe, S. A., Beebe, S. J., & Redmond, M. V. (2011). Interpersonal communication: Relating to others (6th ed.). Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon.

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Author: pamcee70

My name is Pam Castillo. I have been in the field of education for 24 years now. Although I have taught some levels in grade school, I have spent most of my years teaching children aged two to six years old. I am always amazed by the interactions I have every day with children. In an environment where children feel safe, they are confident to explore and make discoveries. These experiences prepare them for the bigger challenges in the future. I feel privileged to be a part of the learning journey of these young children especially if they still come to see me and reminisce the years we worked together.

3 thoughts on “Learning the ropes of communication

  1. Yes even age makes us communicate differently. I like how you talk about talking to elders in a different more respectful way. Enjoyed reading your post this week.

    To answer your question you wrote on my post…..Yes i do think that the platinum rule can look differently depending on the group your communicating with. If just think about myself, I expect to be treated a certain way by my work colleagues compared to my friends. I think it is a very individual experience.

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  2. Pamela, I like your post this is very interesting. I noticed what you stated about talking about religion and politics. Those two are always the most difficult to talk about and can most times cause problems. I wish there was a way we can have those kinds of conversations without interrogating others about these topics.

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  3. Pamela, what an interesting blog post! I agree that even when we have the best of intentions, we sometimes may fail at communication. I know that this is true in my personal and professional life. It only makes us that much more human! When we learn from our mistakes, we grow. Thank you for such an inspiring post!

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