The success of support systems for young people in school, often comes down to how well we work as teams, or our approach to working in partnership.
And by this we mean, how well the support staff work together and work alongside parents or other care givers – all focused on the same outcome, using strategies that complement each other, and working to keep lines of communication open and positive.
So how do we build positive communication and good support teams? Try some of the ideas below:
There is a difference between listening to respond and listening to understand – make sure when you’re working in partnerships that your listening is the ‘understanding’ variety. Part of this is also being open minded to the idea that things may be different to what you imagine and to what you have experienced in the past.
Following on from listening is the idea of acknowledging how things might be impacting on the person being supported. Too often, it’s easy for us to shift the focus of what might be the cause of a problem, or of not wanting to admit that the environment is having a less than positive influence on a situation, or that strategies are no longer working effectively and may need to be adjusted. When we acknowledge these things, we open up to making positive changes and taking positive action.
It also helps to remember that acknowledging the impact of something does not mean that we have failed or that we are no good at what we do. It simply opens us up to learn and to do things better.
When we ask questions of each other, we learn and we find ways to do things better. Remember that no-one knows it all. Also, when we’re ‘asking’, remember that parents are the experts on their child – they see things in the raw and they’ll often be able to offer insights that professionals may never have the opportunity to discover otherwise.
Use Positive Language
Positive language goes a very long way in contributing to successful teams. Sometimes it’s simply a matter of thinking before we speak. We all make mistakes in how we say things at times, we all get tired and overwhelmed, and we all have moments where the words don’t come out how we wanted them to. But by taking a step back and reframing our language in a way that builds respect, trust and honesty, we all benefit.
So as you move into the new school year, take a moment to check in on your support teams, and maybe take a moment to reflect on how you can make them the best yet!
Written by Elissa Plumridge