Communication Skills for Early Childhood Educators

Introduction

Being an early childhood educator is not an easy task. In their early childhood years, children are most susceptible to the influence of their environment and, therefore, need a teacher that can address their needs and shape their communication skills so that the students could learn to communicate their ideas clearly, logically structure their arguments and express their opinions clearly and convincingly. Therefore, an early childhood educator is bound to teach his/her students the basics of the art of argument. An early childhood educator must also teach the students the fundamentals of science, social science and arts, i.e., reading, writing, etc. (May 2002). Hence, the necessity for an early childhood educator to have outstanding communication skills has been questioned several times.

On the one hand, the issue is out of the question; children need to acquire new knowledge and train new skills quickly and efficiently, which is only attainable as long as the educator has excellent communication skills (Maloney, & Barblett, 2003). However, when considering the issue further, one will most likely find out that in early education, the communication skills of children also leave much to be desired, which will inevitably lead to the following question: is it more reasonable for early childhood educators to talk to children in the language of the latter so that the students could understand their teachers better?

Indeed, teaching children both a specific subject and the art of excellent communication will take considerable efforts. Thus, the quality of the teaching process of the basic subject might drop (Elliott, 2006). On the other hand, when teaching the students a specific subject without attempting to raise their communication level might lead to the students’ inability to formulate problems and seek their solutions. That being said, it is necessary to take a closer look at the role of the teacher’s communicational skills in the students’ learning process.

Thesis statement

Even though effective communication skills might seem redundant for the early childhood educators and demand that the students should also learn the communication skills in addition to the information on the subject to follow their educator, good communication skills are crucial for early childhood teachers, since these skills shape the students’ perception of communication and, therefore, help the students acquire the corresponding communication skills, thus, not only learning to express their ideas more clearly and forming an opinion but also helping the students socialize with their peers and integrate into the society more successfully than they would otherwise.

The Task of an Early Childhood Educator

To understand whether an early childhood educator (ECE) needs to have outstanding communication skills or resort to using mediocre ones, it is necessary to consider the responsibilities of an early childhood educator, as well as the roles that (s)he has to play and the tasks that (s)he has to complete. Speaking of the roles that an ECE typically plays in class, one must mention the following ones:

Researcher

Since the basic skill that the students are going to acquire at school is the skill of research, the teacher should explain to the students how academic research should be conducted.

Coach

An ECE must also help the students in their learning process, i.e., being their coach (Trudgett, & Grace, 2011).

Storyteller

A teacher must also be able to thrill his/her students into paying attention and being enthusiastic about discussing the lesson topic.

Model

One of the most important roles played by the teacher apart from the one of an educator, the function of a role model should also be given a proper mentioning. Being a person whom children spend a considerable part of their lives with, a teacher should introduce the students to the basic rules of proper behaviour, morals and the art of communication.

Facilitator

Instead of taking complete control of the students’ learning process, a teacher must also give the students some air and allow for their researches and academic progress (Mawson, 2011). Therefore, in some sense, the teacher must be a facilitator of knowledge for the student.

Observer

Leaving the students to their tasks is also an important part of the lesson. Meanwhile, the teacher should observe the process, making sure that the students handle the tasks efficiently.

Communicator

Last but not least, the role of a communicator is also included in the list of a typical ECE. Ironically enough, this is also one of the least often remembered and the least often played roles of an ECE. As a rule, teachers rarely go beyond what they are obliged to do according to the school rules; as a result, students often suffer from the lack a communication with the teacher and the inability to communicate their needs. However, a good early childhood educator offers his/her students such an opportunity.

Judging by the above-mentioned description of an ECE’s basic tasks, responsibilities and roles, an ECE must be skilful enough to show the students how they can develop and research on their own instead of being constantly led by the tutor. The given task requires considerable flexibility and the ability to get the key messages of studying across. Therefore, excellent communication skills are crucial for an ECE.

What Communication Skills an Early Childhood Educator Must Have

It has been proven that good communication skills are crucial for an ECE. However, it is still worth bearing in mind that there are a plethora of communication skills, which picks a question concerning what communication skills exactly an ECE must-have. For teaching younger children, the following skills are required:

  • Skills of getting the necessary information across;Skills of turning the children interested in the problem;
  • Skills for communicating with the children’s parents;
  • Coping skills that help address unique life issues;
  • Skills of addres
  • sing the students with special needs

The list offered above is far from being complete; while the skills mentioned in it are the most essential for an ECE, there are still several other communication skills that an early childhood educator must possess.

When Communication Skills Leave Much to Be Desired

Supposing for a moment, communication skills are not the major requirement for an ECE. When a teacher with mediocre communicational skills teaches students who are in their early childhood, the following outcomes can be expected:

Numerous misunderstandings

Since most children have difficulties with expressing their ideas clearly due to the lack of communicational experience, the teacher will have problems with understanding them (Thomas, n. d.). In his/her turn, the teacher will not be able to get his/her message across to the students either, having little communication skills to paraphrase the idea.

Numerous conflicts

Not all children are polite. Moreover, not all children would listen to what the teacher says or study diligently. As a result, conflicts between a teacher and a student or among students are unavoidable. Without communication skills, a teacher will not be able to solve these conflicts, which will lead to students getting out of hand (Mansford-Scott & Church, 2011).

Lack of trust

Students are unlikely to have much trust in a person who cannot get his/her message across (Bor, McGee, & Renae, 2004). Therefore, it can be assumed that, without proper communication skills, an ECE will most likely lose control over his/her students and the situation in class.

Conclusion

It turns out that students need to be able to convey their ideas, prove their point efficiently and use various communication techniques as much as they need to know the essentials of science, social science and humanities. As has been shown above, students tend to acquire their communication skills from the people that they see daily, i.e., their family members, their fellow students and their teachers. As a result, it appears that a teacher specializing in early education must possess outstanding communicational skills to help his/her students acquire the ones on their own.

Despite the common belief that early education should a relatively simple process, at the given age, students have to learn a ton of crucial information concerning both school subjects and social life. While the skills of the latter are mostly learned sand trained in the process of communication with peers and family, the role of the teacher as one of the people who set an example for a child must not be underrated either. With that being said, excellent communication skills are a must for an early childhood educator.

Reference List

Bor, W., McGee, T. R. & Renae, A. F. (2004). Early risk factors for adolescent antisocial behaviour: An Australian longitudinal study. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 38(5), 365–372.

Elliott, A. (2006). Early childhood education: Pathways to quality and equity for all children. Camberwell, Victoria: Australian Council for Educational Research.

Maloney, C. & Barblett, L. (2003). Describing standards for early childhood teachers: Moving the debate forward to the national level. Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 28(2), 1–11.

Mansford-Scott, A. & Church, A. (2011). Promoting children’s agency in early childhood education. Novitas-ROYAL (Research on Youth and Language), 5(1), 15-38

Mawson, B. (2011).Technological funds of knowledge in children’s play: Implications for early childhood educators. Australasian Journal of Early Childhood, 36(1), 30–35.

May, H. (2002). Early childhood care and education in Aotearoa–New Zealand: An overview of history, policy and curriculum. McGill Journal of Education (A New Zealand Edition), 37(1), 19–36.

Thomas, P. (n. d.). Stress in early childhood: Helping children and their carers. Watson, ACT: Early Childhood Australia.

Trudgett, M. & Grace, R. (2011). Engaging with early childhood education and care services: The perspectives of indigenous Australian mothers and their young children. Kulumun. Indigenous Online Journal, 1(2), 15-36.