Communication happens everywhere, in every organisation - between family members, at corporation board meetings, through media and even billboards. Fisher (1978, cited by Sperka, 1996) describes communication as a channel through which information, a message, is conveyed. It is not just the actual message but also the manner in which it is conveyed, the interpretation and perception of the participants to that message, and their reactive responses which gives the process meaning (Kaye, 1994, p. 8). For example, the constructivism theory of communication proposed by Delia, O’Keefe and O’Keefe (1992) suggests that communication is ‘the reciprocal construction of meaning’, and ‘individually constructed meanings constitute the basis of one’s actions towards and interactions with others’ (Kaye, 1994, p. 14). That means that the message itself is only part of the process. The way the communication participants understand and respond is directly affected by their personal impression of the other participants, and the type of media and tone used filtered through their own life experience, knowledge and communication skills. Good communication then is dependent on numerous factors some of which are out of the control of the individual message participants, but the skills in communication can improve the flow and efficiency of the process immensely and are especially important to the professional social and human service worker who relies on communication as a major component of their occupation.
In the context of an organisational relationship between a parent and kindergarten teacher, good communication is essential for the formation and maintenance of a good working relationship, based on trust, respect and understanding. In this situation the parent is essentially entrusting their child’s education, wellbeing, and socialisation into the hands of a person who is most often unknown to them. It takes time for each to form a good communication relationship with the other and it is unlikely for there not to be problems along the way.
Initially the relationship would begin with phatic communication, the getting to know one another conversations that one has in passing. “Did you have a good day?” “Yes, I went for coffee”. These seeming unimportant conversations give a sense of who a person is and how they communicate. The participants then can use this newly found information to build the relationship (Barber, 2010), putting aside any preconceived attitudes and expectations and work towards what is best for the child.
In a positive relationship, with persistence and skill, the teacher can overcome initial hesitation, fear and preconceptions the parent might have through the following ways: by behaving professionally, demonstrating competency in their role as the teacher, that is the child is happy, engaged in learning, improving in skills and confidence, and through communication competence. In response the parent would be expected to behave...