Using Communication to Engage Change

communication

 

 

Communication is a two way process and the key to serving in any professional capacity in today’s society.  Effective communication requires both speaking and listening skills.  As a early childhood educator, communication is used to interact with my students, parents, co-workers, administration and advocates.  Social media is an effective tool in providing quality communication to many people in a very short time with little time and effort on the part of the communicator.  With more and more parents engaging in social media during the day during their work hours, teachers can provide a unique look into the daily activities of their child’s classroom.

In thinking about my own communication skills, I often am required to speak to large groups for educational purposes.  I am typically comfortable speaking to large groups and I enjoy interacting with parents, but very little listening is involved in these communication opportunities.  I also meet with parents on a more one-on-one basis and in these types of conferences, I engage in both listening and speaking equally.  Non-verbal communication is also a vital skill necessary to my profession.  Maintaining eye contact with people when speaking and keeping an open body position will allow people to feel that I am open and interested in what they are saying to me.  By presenting an open expression and neutral facial expression, others will feel that I am validating what they are saying and will be more receptive to listening when I am speaking.  The art of conversation is lost art with the advances in the technology associated with cell phones, laptops, tablets, iPads, iPods, and social media.  Continuing to practice communication skills is important to being able to effectively engage people in an effort to advocate for children and early childhood education (Robinson, Segal, Segal, Last, 2014).

My course project is to change the policies of the after school program for my Pre-K children called Kid’s Club and create a more developmentally appropriate curriculum and enrichment activities.  In creating a change in policy change for the Union City Elementary School’s Kid’s Club program, social media can be an effective way to engage and inform parents.  Facebook is an important social media tool that will enable me to provide information, pictures, videos, and posts to parents that request to be part of the UCES Kid’s Club group.  Facebook will also provide opportunities for parents can ask questions and share thoughts about the program,  While social media is a great communication tool, I will also need to provide opportunities for parents to meet together to discuss strengths and challenges of our program.  It will be important to provide a forum where both speaking, listening, and non-verbal communication skills are used to give all interested parties a voice in the creation of this new after school Pre-K program.

 

Robinson, L., Ph.D., J. S., Segal, M., & Las, M. (2014, May 1). Effective Communication. : Improving Communication Skills in Business and Relationships. Retrieved June 5, 2014, from http://www.helpguide.org/mental/effective_communication_skills.htm

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4 thoughts on “Using Communication to Engage Change

  1. Kimberly,
    Your discussion about non-verbal communication is important to remember. Our words and body language must convey the same message or the audience will perceive the discrepancy. Active listening is an important skill for educators to learn. Using eye contact, asking relevant questions, and listening with your whole body shows respect and concern for the speaker. Many people do not have anyone to listen to them when they have a need. Helping parents feel comfortable and welcome at school works toward better parental involvement. We know that involved parents nurture their children to learn and participate more readily. Communication allows educators to connect with families and build better school climates.
    Cynthia Thralls

    • Non-verbal communication is something that I work on constantly. I work hard to remember that I must share a professional attitude in both voice and mannerisms. Active listening is also very important to me, but I must work on. Making sure that I listen to what my parents are saying is important to our relationship.

  2. Kimberly,

    You mentioned non-verbal communication in your post and Cynthia also referred to it in her reply to you. Another aspect of non-verbal communication is how it comes across to other cultures. I had a family in my preschool from a culture where a woman does not look a man in the eye when she speaks to him. Good eye contact is something that comes naturally to me so I struggled when I spoke with him. It was not my intent to offend him, but I am sure I did on occasion because I would forget until I noticed that he was uncomfortable. In communicating your policy issue you may not come across diverse cultures, but knowing your audience and their customs or practices is something to be aware of in our daily communication.

    Darla

  3. That is an issue that I have never had to deal with in my career. When working with parents from other cultures, we learned in our last class that it is essential that you find out as much about the unknown traditions and values. I, too would find it difficult to remember not to make eye contact with males because I grew up believing that it is a sign of respect to look others in the eye when you speak to them. I would hope by asking about their values and traditions and explaining mine, we could find a way to communicate without offended each other.

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