TALKING WITH CHILDREN
One of the most important things about offering security to children is the way in which teachers speak “with” them. Often it’s a case of teachers talking “at” or “to” those they are teaching.
When dealing with each other in staffrooms or collaborative sessions or during professional development sessions, teachers speak conversationally. They each feel comfortable with the other and conversations reflect this attitude.
When dealing with children however, teachers often lose the conversational element replacing it with what might be termed “command language”. The niceness of speech often dissipates and delivery takes on a quite harsh quality.
Metaphorically speaking teachers when dealing with each other, are somewhat like motorcars which come along quietly from point a to point b. However, when relating to children those same teachers trade the cars for four wheel drive vehicles, lock them into 4×4 and then grate their way through conversation with children in a manner that can be far from pleasant. Language can be embracing or off putting. In order to draw children close in terms of comfort, qualities of conversation and vocalisation are important. There is no way the teachers will draw children in and toward them if their language is the push off in terms of its invitation.