Breakdown in communication can lead to misunderstandings and disagreements. It is highly probable that in an educational setting, disagreements with others occur. In most of cases, disagreement is down to a lack of communication or a miscommunication. However, in any case these disagreements must be handled very carefully so that the negatively feelings cease quickly. Whether the misunderstanding is between teaching assistant and children or between teaching staff and parents, certain interpersonal and social skills are useful in resolving the communication conflict. Adults sometimes can misinterpret, misjudge or perceive information wrongly and they might think someone has communicated something that is completely the opposite of what they actually were trying to communicate. When this happens, blame is often put on others for saying things unclearly, ambiguously or for having a different view. Being sensitive to different points of view and having a good perception of the clashing interests, can help us to see both sides of the matter without specifically agreeing with each. People disagree about a lot of things: what happens around them, what to do, matters of taste, world views, values, policies, theories, philosophies, etc. Conflicts between adults often arise because of different expectations. The English word “disagreement” itself seems to apply to a wider variety of things: two (or more) people might disagree because they are engaged in a dispute where one deny and criticise the views of the other, and this might happen even if both have compatible beliefs about the subject matter of their dispute, or two people might also disagree without engaging in any kind of dispute, without ever exchanging words or reasons, but their beliefs or statements are in some sense incompatible and therefore in disagreement (Cohnitz and Marques, 2013). When helping to resolve the disagreement, we have to try and find a common ground for both parties, where we can start and create ideas to bring our expectations closer to each other. In fact, where there are areas of conflict between adults, the situation should be dealt with sensitivity and we must try to resolve it as soon as possible. The longer a problem persists, the more difficult it becomes to overcome it.
One of the main reasons for disagreements occurring is due to poor communication. This can happen due to lack of time or lack of the right vocabulary to avoid ambiguity. The best way to repair areas of poor communication is for them to be discussed to help establish a cause and then to find the next step to take forward. It is important not to ignore the problem or to talk to others about the situation without confronting the actual individuals involved.
Another reason for disagreements occurring at work is due to a personality clash in teaching philosophies, communication or working styles. Colleagues may disagree or misunderstand one another’s working style. For example, one teacher may encourage creative thinking in his/her pupils, whereas another may prefer to apply a more structured curriculum. For this reason, it is important to understand what motivates people at work. Try to identify what is at the root of the problem and the real reason behind the conflict, may help to resolve the disagreement.
Also, adults can sometimes act in an aggressive way, especially when they are unsure of what they are doing or when they lack self-confidence and may come across in a personal way to others. It is vital to remember that this has to do with how they perceive their own self and their own abilities, therefore encouragement and support should be always offered. During this process we must remain calm and polite and listen carefully to the other adult’s point of view. Making personal comments will not help the situation because we need to remember that most of the times the problem is not with the individual but only with something they have said or done. If we need to have a discussion, we should do so in a private space, and in case the disagreement cannot be resolved, we need to seek another adult to mediate. Also, we should make sure that supervisors are informed about the issue, even if the conflict is resolved by the two parties.
Parents and school’s staff may sometimes have different methods of dealing with situations and this can cause tense relationships. The school might request that the children complete things or tasks in a different way to what parents might want. It is important for the school to clarify the meanings behind their requests. Similarly, adults might not have the same ideas about the purpose of an activity or a meeting, and they might come with a different concept in their own mind. Therefore, it is crucial to clarify the aim of everyone’s purpose and why and it can also help to get the parents involved in any major issues to ensure that we are on the same page. However, knowing the official school’s policy and procedures for dealing with disagreements between parents and school’s practitioners, would help us understand what steps to follow should the need arise.
When a disagreement with a child occurs, it is important to not be drawn into the argument and instead, manage the situation carefully and seek out advice when is necessary.
Dealing with young people and teenagers can be “adventurous” as at this age they believe that they “know everything” and they are “grown up”, so have no need to listen to others’ points of view. However, young people need our help just as much, or even more than children. It is important to keep our own feelings in check and not to get frustrated or upset because that could be the exact reaction the young person is trying to get from us. If we feel we are losing temper and patience, then it may be time to take a break from the situation. We must remember that by modeling how to deal with being upset and disappointed in the appropriate way, we are teaching the young adult that everyone may experience those feelings and they still must deal with them in an acceptable way.
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