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In the case study, the teacher Jasmyn Richards knows that Amana needs someone to help her settle in class since she has just arrived and is not accustomed to the school setting. Jasmyn approaches Chloe, a confident and capable child and asks her to help Amana settle in the class and the whole school. Jasmyn selects Chloe among all the other children to help Amana since she thinks that Chloe would be the best in ensuring that Amana settles in comfortably. Jasmyn also recognizes the fact that Amana may experience challenges from the other children thereby encouraging her to share her life stories in Kenya with her classmates. Chloe complains about being chosen to help Amana to settle saying that classmates should be given the responsibility instead. However, the teacher disregards the complaint by Chloe. Jasmyn also notes that Amana secludes herself from the rest of the classroom and does not follow the teachers directions. She, however, assumes that Amana is taking her time to adapt to the new surroundings. Jasmyn is particularly shocked when she receives a letter from Chloe's mother demanding to meet her on the issue of assigning Amana to Chloe. Additionally, Chloe refuses to come close to Amana and warns the other students telling them how wicked Amana and her people are.
In the case study, Jasmyn is at the center of the communication process. Amana, Chloe, Amana's Parents, and Chloes parents are also stakeholders in the case study. Additionally, all the other classmates are part of the study. The role of the teacher is to facilitate communication between all the stakeholders creating a favorable interaction between the learners and ultimately, the learning process.
A myriad of communication challenges exists in the case study. Jasmyn is not a good cultural communicator. In a class of predominantly white children, she fails to address the cultural differences that exist between Amana and her classmates. She does not communicate the expectations of the learners towards Amana thereby leaving an opportunity for the Amana to be sidelined by her classmates. Jasmyn also fails to notice the cold treatment meted on Amana by her classmates. Amana seclusion should have been taken as a non-verbal communication that all was not well with her and her classmates. Chloes refusal to guide Amana in settling at school also establishes a communication challenge since Jasmyn does not inquire the reasons for such behavior. Additionally, lack of communication to both Chloes and Amanas parents on the issue culminate into the letter by Chloes mother to have her daughter as far as possible from Amana. The information that Chloe's mother communicates to her daughter about Amana is a communication challenge since it is filled with misconceptions about Amana, her family, and the entire colored people. Therefore, spreading of the information by Chloe to her classmates is a communication challenge since the information is false and will affect how the classmates treat Amana.
Part II: Consideration of Culture and Communication theory on selection of strategies
In the selection of the appropriate strategy for solving the challenges, different aspects of the communication will be considered. According to Kossen (2013), communication takes place when people send and receive messages. Communication can be sent by either verbal or non-verbal cues. Communication is, therefore, a continuous process with the communicators being in a relationship with each other. The relationship between two communicators requires an intercultural understanding that puts the two in the same communication context. Jasmyn fails in establishing an intercultural communications between Amana and herself. She also fails to propagate a cultural understanding between the rest of the learners and Amana. Cultural communication among the learners would have taught the children of the importance of different cultures thereby fostering an understanding between the learners and Amana. Additionally Jasmyn does not take the initiative to learn the culture of Amana, which would have changed the way she perceived Amana. For instance, understanding Amanas culture would elicit empathy on Jasmyn's part, which would subsequently be transferred to Amanas classmate and result to good interactions.
There is no balance in the classroom. According to Richmond (Queensland, 2007), a balance model is required for effective teacher students communication. The balance model is important in communicating teachers expectations to the students and the appropriate responses. The balance model includes the strategies that the teacher uses to teach the students. After employing the strategies, the teacher then acknowledges the students if they are successful in conducting appropriate behavior. When the teacher acknowledges those that are right, he or she then corrects those people who do not perform to the expectation (Queensland, 2007). In the case, Jasmyn is not successful in communicating the expectations of the learners towards Amana. Jasmyn does not communicate the expectations to Chloe and her classmates on how to treat Amana and, therefore, cannot be able to achieve the required balance in the classroom. Additionally, Jasmyn also fails to inform the parents of the children to help their children in achieving the expectation to treat Amana in a friendly and fair manner.
Jasmyn has an assertive relating style, which she uses when dealing with Chloe. According to Kossen (2013), the assertive relating style denies an individual expression of rights and opinions, which is fundamental in communication. She assumes that since Chloe is comfortable and smart, she can be able to handle her expectations even when the other classmates are apprehensive of any dealing with Amana. Jasmyns assertive relating style extends to Chloes mother. She is astonished when she sees the written letter of Chloes mother and when Chloe tells her that she does not want anything to do with the Amana. Additionally, Jasmyn expects all the other learners to accept Amana and her culture without understanding it first. However, if she had stopped her assertive relating style, then she would have understood the plight of Chloe and the other students.
Finally, Jasmyn is not effective in her communication with the parents. Upon the transfer of the Amana into the school and as a teacher, she should have been aware of the parental concerns and worked towards addressing the concerns. A communication challenge exists by the simple fact that the teacher does not seem to have a good communicative relationship with the teachers. A good communication relationship involves listening to the parents and making them feel that one is available for them and speaking with them appropriately. The teacher should also raise the issues with the parents through the right procedure and dealing with the concerns that parents raise (RCN, 2014).
Part III: Proposal and Justification of strategies for responding to the case study
Jasmyn needs to understand the verbal and non-verbal cues of her students to respond to the case study. The behavior of the students points to apprehension among the students for Amana and her culture. Jasmyn needs to develop a proper communicative relationship with the students that will enable her to communicate effectively with the students (Kossen, 2013). A proper relationship with the learners will encourage feedback that will enable Jasmyn understand the perceptions of the students towards Amana and her culture.
Jasmyn also needs to develop an intercultural competence that will enable her design a strategy for affecting the outcomes with how learners treat Amana. Lack of intercultural competence has led to the misconception of Jasmyn and the other students, which further fuel the alienation of Amana from the class. Additionally, intercultural competency will lead to the development of a balance model where the students' expectation when dealing with Amana will be formally communicated. Jasmyn controls the entire communication process, and if she does not communicate the expectations to the children, then she will have failed in her responsibility. Before communicating the expectations, the teacher needs to indulge Amana in a cultural awareness activity where Amana and the native students compare and contrasts between the class cultures reaching an understanding on the importance of each culture. The activity should also incorporate the parents of each student to change their perception of Amana and any other child from a marginalized culture.
Elimination of the assertive relating style should also be a major strategy in altering the outcome of the case study. By being asserting in her relation, Jasmyn denies the parents and the students the right to choose what to do as well as gives them their basic rights and wants. A non-assertive relating style would have led the teacher to inquire why Chloe did not want to orient Amana, which would have established the cause of Amana's alienation. By being non-assertive, Jasmyn would then be able to foster her expectations and subsequent correction and acknowledgment of good behavior. Additionally, Jasmyn should have a good communicative relationship with the parents to enable quality and informed communication. The parents should know that they can approach the teacher for various issues, they would be listened to and that their concerns will be addressed appropriately.
Kossen, C. (2013). Interpersonal and Professional Communication. In Communicating For Success (pp. 284310). Australia: Titles Imported By Pearson Education Australia.
Kossen, C. (2013). Communication in theory. In Communicating For Success (pp. 110129). Australia: Titles Imported By Pearson Education Australia
Queensland Government,. (2007). Essential Skills for Classroom Management. Brisbane: Queensland Government.
Raising Children Network (RCN). (2014, May 23). Professionals communicating with parents | Raising Children Network. Retrieved from http://raisingchildren.net.au/articles/communicating_with_parents_the_basics.html
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