Placement Self Assessment Assignment This essay is a reflection of my journey during placement. The essay will allow me to reflect on my learning outcomes, development and contributions l made during the placement. According to Reid (1993, p. 3), “Reflection is a process of reviewing an experience of practice in order to describe, analyze, evaluate and so inform learning about practice”. Furthermore Nash (1999) explains that deep thoughts are involved in the process of reflection, both looking back at the situation and projecting forward towards the future.
Kemmis (1985) supports the above by highlighting that, reflection is a positive active process that reviews and evaluates experiences drawn on theoretical concepts or previous learning to provide an action plan for the future experiences. Additionally, Johns (2000) defines reflection as a window through which the practitioner views and focuses on the self within the context of their own lived experience, in order to confront, understand and work towards resolving the contradiction within practice and professional development on what is desirable and the actual practice.
John (1995) adds that, reflection is a personal process that results in some change in their perspective of a situation or create new learning for the individual. Communication is made up of more than just words we use. According to Dunhill (2009, p19), communication involves “conveying, sharing, exchanging, transmitting, broadcasting and receiving information, ideas and feelings between people. ” Writers such as Trevithick 2005; Wilson et al 2008 and Lishman 1994; also consider communication as covering any sort of interaction that takes place between people.
This was evident in my placement that I had to use verbal and written communication to carry out activities and to discuss any concerns with parents and to build relation with staff and pre-school children. However, in some cases language, background, age and pronunciation was a barrier with the pre-school children. My verbal accent was different from the one the pre-school children spoke. l also observed that l spoke very fast and pronounced some of the words different from the way the pre-school children understood the words. As a result this became a barrier to my communication with the pre-school children and staff.
Robb et al (2004) concurs with the above that communication and effective relationship can be blocked by differences in individual`s background, race, gender, age, class, personality. Furthermore Romaine (1994), quotes language as having power structure built inside it. According to Robinson (1998, p79), certain ways of speaking largely related to powerful people, are associated with superiority, for example, accents and dialects, which are “versions of a language or distinctive vocabulary, grammar and pronunciations that are spoken by particular groups of people or within particular regions”. practised speaking slowly so that the pre-schools even members of staff could understand me. I practised pronouncing some of the words the way the children understood them and sometimes asked the children how to say or pronounce some of the words for me to learn. I decided to get involved in activities by taking the leading role and reading stories for children to improve my verbal communication. The feedback I got from the children and other staff members and my observations helped me work on my listening skill to improve my communication skills both verbal and written.
As highlighted by Roberts and Oates (1997) that active listening involves focusing on the student speaking to you in order to understand what he or she is saying. Attentive listening covers being able to put across to another person that one is emotionally and mentally available to them. Moreover, it is being able to understand what is being communicated verbally and non-verbally. Egan (1982) states that being a skilled helper is based on the ability to perceive both oneself and the client.
Egan (1982) means that as a practitioner, knowing how one presents themselves and how the client is coming across, both verbally and non-verbally is the remedy to effective communication. It allows the student to provide more information if necessary. As l continued with my placement l improved my communication and listening skills than the first days l started when l was shy and not sure of myself. However after working on my communication skills, I was able to interact well with the children forming relationships with many pre-school children.
Some of the children would come to me for comfort if they were not happy and l would listen to them as they tell me their stories. I would encourage them to venture into play areas and reassure them as a result my communication skills improved. I used verbal communication more and this helped to boost my confidence and built a relationship with the children that they got used to me and the pronunciation differences did not matter they started to understand me better. This is supported by Dunhill (2009) that the goal of effective communication skills should be common understanding and finding solutions that pleases both parties.
I also realised that l did not know how to be assertive with children. I did not know how to communicate with pre-schools children and discipline them. Therefore I started observing other members of staff how they communicate with children and deal with unsettled children. I observed that staff lowered their voices and knelt down to the children’s level to try and put a point across, and lowered themselves to their level. I started lowering myself to the children level and sat down with them when they were playing and act like l am of their age.
I listened to them when they speak not cut them short before they finish, and asking them what they wanted to do instead of forcing them to do things they did not want. My assertiveness skill with members of staff and parents has also improved. According to Bupa (2008) assertiveness understands how to confer if two people want different outcomes. Sadek & Egan (1995) concurs that assertion is standing up without violating basic rights of others for your own rights. I had a background of children of my own, and now working with children at a setting.
I did not know how to set boundaries with children. They would just do what they want even if l tell them not to behave that way or to stop doing what they would be doing they would not listen. So I had to become assertive and children had to know my role as a teacher and as an adult without compromising their rights. Paterson (2000), states that assertiveness increases self confidence by dropping attempts to breathe up to the doctrine of others. I also improved my assertiveness skill as l managed to approach the manager and pointed out a few things that I felt needed changing in the team.
I pointed out some hygiene needs and promoting privacy and dignity of the children that l felt needed to be addressed, as l felt staff did not see the importance of promoting children’s privacy and dignity during nappy change. However other staff members were not happy with the issues l raised, but as a team we managed to work together and reach a mutual understanding. This helped us to focus on the present situation, rather than allowing our communication to be contaminated by old resentments from the past (Paterson 2000).
Since I have developed assertiveness skills my working relations with pre-schools, member of staff and parents has changed. We now work as a team; we arrange games for children together before they come in. We help each other with preparations after pre-schools have finished, with setting tables for elderly and we help each other to clear all the nursery toys putting them in the cupboard. We now rotate duties, of washing dishes after every meal which was not like that before. But because of being assertive we had to sit down and talk to the manager so that we work as a team.
Douglas (2006), states that successful relationships demand respect, tolerance, open communication and these skills do not necessarily come readily. We also have good relationships with children as now we ask them what they want to do or play with instead of forcing them what they do not want. Pegasus (2000) adds saying to have an immense relationship at home, work or in your life is one key to victorious and contented life. Whilst at the placement l have personally developed through work experience, the way l used to see things or do through working with pre-schools children.
I was someone who did not know how to handle children running around and being untidy in my house. I was a person who wanted things to be in order all the time and my house kept tidy. I would get annoyed if my house is untidy. So when l started my placement it used to bother me so much to see the whole room with toys everywhere. I could not cope with the noise of 30 children and talking the whole day. The room would be untidy and other staff member would look not bothered about it. I would spend most of my first days at placement tidying up and not getting involved in activities.
As times goes l was getting used to the mess and getting involved in activities. I developed creativity working with children. It has also helped me that even at my house when l see things not in order it does not bother me anymore. However using my weakness of wanting to see things in order I have managed to encourage other members of staff and children to tidy up after themselves so that l would not go after them tidying up. I later realised that having a variety of toys on the floor allowed children to have a try new toys and choosing different toys anytime as playing promotes learning, as highlighted by Abbott (2007).
As l have developed through my placement and gained different skills, I have also contributed to the placement while I was there. I have taught pre-schools children and members of staff about health and safety at work. For example I have helped children identify things that can be hazardous to them when playing. For example the children identified that the clothing they put on the floor after role plays can be a hazard and I highlighted that the hangers can be very dangerous and need to be put away safely.
As a result the children are more aware of the importance of tidying up after themselves. In conclusion the Placement has helped me to build my confidence in my communication and listening skills, I have now gained the skills of verbal communication through working with pre-schools children. I have developed social skills and it has enhanced my motivation. I have also developed assertiveness skills and l was able to use it during my placement. I had good working relations with all members of staff and parents.