Wednesday, March 16, 2011

What a child taught me about human behaviour.

Today I came in for an early shift, and had to work with children in the morning Montessori classroom.

I was asked to work with a child who was working with Long Rods. The first time I asked the child, JM to show me the 'longest' rod, he refused.

In fact he just sat down there and did not look at me when I asked. This kept on for almost 10 minutes.

Then the children broke off for church service for about twenty minutes.

After that I was assigned back to him to work on the Long Rods. Getting a bit frustrated, I decided to use a different approach with JM.

I decided to play a game with JM, whereby I took the shortest rod and asked if it was the 'longest rod'. JM just laughed and said 'no, it's not'.

Then I pointed at another rod a bit longer than the shortest rod, and asked if it was that one. JM said it wasn't one, then finally pointed to the longest rod. He took the rod and arranged it on the other mat.

There was also a bit of hesitation in completing the rest of the activity but I told him, 'oh, if you don't help me, I can't do other work', and after a bit of more persuading, he completed the rest of the activity without situation.

After that, I thought about the episode.

Why did my first attempt fail, but my second attempt successful?

Was it a power struggle?

I brought this up with my Coordinator when I met her for discussion today.

In the first attempt, it was possible that the child may not want to do what I want where there may have been some 'power struggle' involved as he didn't want to do what I want.

It was his will against mine.

In the second attempt, I really went down to his level. Playing a game, and allowing him to be the 'clever one' gave him, or allowed him to assume the position of 'knowledge' or 'power'.

Which may have appealed to him, as he was 'teaching' the older one, or someone in position.

The same may apply for managing staff in a centre. Hence unqualified staff may be younger, and a qualified new supervisor may want to delegate some tasks.

However I would say this episode shows us that adults are not that much different from the child I worked with.

Supervisors have to 'speak on the same level' as the staff to communicate with them, and get them to do what she wants to delegate.

If the staff have a strong will, they may do like what the child, JM did. Which is doing the opposite of what is wanted.

So yes, learning to 'communicate' on the same level is an important skill that supervisors need. Or for anyone in an important position to succeed.

Sent from my Nokia phone.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

You need to be strict with your staff.

Today I had a discussion with the Coordinator in regard to my duty follow up. As part of my current duties, I have to do spotchecks on the childcare settings.

Its not just when its time for Accreditation renewal, but apparently its continuous accreditation principles in place.

Last week, during my spotcheck in the Nursery, one of the staff had not signed off her duties.

The staff in the Nursery tried to give me the run around in protecting the girl, but after reasoning it out, I realised it was not my responsibility to get that particular staff to have her duties signed off, so I wrote that it was not done.

Doing so would allow the staff to know that I take my duties seriously, and nothing less.

On reflection, this actually applies not only with staff, but with family members as well. Many times, parents are lenient with the children, especially when tears are involved.

Hence, as a result, children end up 'controlling' the parents instead. Take the case of children who do not want to have their meals, or eat certain foods. And parents give in.

When parents are not firm with their children, it ends up that they have difficulty managing their children, and all is not for the better of it. Children end up being overly spoilt and pampered, and all parties involved suffer.

Sent from my Nokia phone.

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