Using Communication Skills to Enact Change

Communication is one of the most important aspects of human interactions.  It involves verbal, nonverbal, listening skills, and emotions. Some misunderstandings are a result of poor communication skills.  Effective communication enables a person to understand and resolve conflicts.  It also allows the person to “build trust and respect, and create environments where creative ideas, problem solving, affection, and caring can flourish” (Helpguide.org., n.d).  Effective communication goes beyond exchanges of words, but it also involves the emotion behind the messages.  It is important to read the emotional cues and messages as we effectively communicate with others.

There are several techniques for effective communication skills.  These are the 7 Cs of communication: clear, concise, concrete, correct, coherent, complete, and courteous (Mind Tools, n.d).  I will utilize these communication skills to embody when leading policy change.  First, I think it is important to be clear in my message as I speak or write about my policy issue.  My ideas about my child homelessness will be clear and simple for policy makers to comprehend.  Secondly, I will be concise regarding child homelessness.  I will be sure to state the main points and keep it short.  Third, I will communicate my message concrete images of homeless children living on the streets.  I think having vivid pictures will make a substantial impact.  Fourth, I will ensure that my message is correct as I communicate orally or written.  I will be sure that there are no grammatical errors, and my sentence structures are correct.  Fifth, I think it would necessary for my message to be coherent and logical as I present my policy issue.  The major points that I present on child homelessness are relevant and connected.  Sixth, as I deliver my message, I will be sure that it is complete with data and research as evidence.  The information presented to politicians will give them a wealth of information, and they will be well informed.  Lastly, I will be courteous to the policy makers regarding the issue of child homelessness.  I will be persuasive on the current issue of child homelessness, but not be passive-aggressive.  I will be open and honest with my stance on the issue, and not have any hidden agenda.

I think I possess some of the effective communication skills that I have mentioned previously.  I believe that I communicate clearly, concisely, coherently, and completely through my written and oral communication.  I feel that I can express myself clearly and concisely when I speak to colleagues and students.  I can state my main points and explain succinctly on a particular topic.  I also feel that I can communicate well through written form.  I can write coherently and completely on issues of early childhood education.  English was a second language to me and writing was not easy for me.  I can still improve in areas of grammar and sentence structures.  I think writing is a learning process, and it takes time to master this skill.  Being in the doctoral program at Walden University has improved my writing skills the last five semesters.  As I continue the coursework, I hope that my written skills will enhance to assist me to complete the dissertation for my research.

References

Helpguide.org. (n.d). Effective communication. Retrieved October 15, 2013, from http://www.helpguide.org/mental/effective_communication_skills.htm

Laureate Education (Producer). (2011). Communication anxiety (Interactive media). Retrieved from http://class.waldenu.edu

Mannetti, L., Giacomantonio, M., Higgins, E., Pierro, A., & Kruglanski, A. (2010). Tailoring visual images to fit: Value creation in persuasive messages. European Journal of Social Psychology, 40(2), 206-215. Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.

Mind Tools. (n.d). The 7 Cs of communication: A checklist for clear communication. Retrieved October 15, 2013, from http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newCS_85.htm

Pillow-Price, K. L. (2009). Influencing legislation – Advocacy basics. Dimensions of Early childhood, 37(3), 18-23. Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.

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Social Media’s Influence on Policy Issues

Social media is a new format of communication that is transforming the world.  Networks such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn are the forefront of social media (Auer, 2011).  Social media have also been influential in the political arena.  Policy makers have utilized social media to transmit information to stakeholders (Lampe, LaRose, Steinfield, & DeMaagd, 2011).  In addition, policymakers employed social media to receive “crowd source feedback about policy and social media interactions in third-party sites like online newspapers and large-scale services like Facebook can be mined for stakeholders’ opinions” (Lampe et al., 2011, p. 2).  Therefore, social media has become a useful source to promote interactions among policy makers, government administrators, and the publics (Lampe et al., 2011).

The two social media that I might use to communicate my policy issue on child homelessness are Facebook and YouTube.  I believe that I can reach many people to share my policy issue through Facebook and YouTube.  Mark Zuckerberg initially developed Facebook for Harvard University students as a social networking site (Gresham, n.d.).  He launched Facebook in 2004, and currently there are more than 750 million users, seventy percent are outside of the United States.  There is no cost to use Facebook, and it is free to users.  Facebook’s mission is “to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected” (Gresham, n.d.).  Facebook can be used for personal, marketing, or business ventures.  For personal users, individuals can connect with their friends and share thoughts, news and multimedia information.  Those who want to use Facebook as marketing; they can advertise their businesses and organizations with customers and constituents.  Companies can create and post their business contents on Facebook to advertise to customers that they hope to reach.

The second social media that I would like to utilize is YouTube.  Three former PayPal employees wanted to create a video-sharing website, and they launched YouTube on February 14, 2005.  There are about eight hundred million users on YouTube each month.  The purpose of YouTube was people can upload, share, and view videos with others.  It was estimated “YouTube was one of the fastest growing sites on the Web, uploading more than 65,000 new videos and delivering 100 million video viewers per day” (Wikipedia, n.d.).  Every minute, about 60 hours of new videos are being uploaded onto YouTube.

The audiences I would like to reach on Facebook and YouTube are the public, colleagues, friends, and families.  I believe that I can connect with many people through Facebook and YouTube.  I think that I can influence people and engage with them through Facebook and YouTube.  I can also build relationships with colleagues and friends who may be interested in my policy issue.  They can follow my posts and videos that I upload onto Facebook and YouTube.

One of the benefits of using social media is the instant access to information, opinions, and breaking news available on the website (June, Hong & Sung-Ming, 2011).  The second benefit of social media is that it can make more connection with users, and exchange information in real-time to a vast audience.  Conversely, the challenge of social media is that “users accustomed to anything goes Internet anonymity are now learning to express their opinions carefully and avoid posting content that they do not want to be held accountable for” (June et al., 2011, p. 127).  In addition, the drawbacks of social media can create antisocial behaviors called flaming and trolling (Lampe et al., 2011).  Flaming is described as exhibiting hostility behavior through the expression of profanity, offenses, obscenity with the intention to harm others.  Trolling is considered provoking others to divert from the topic and lead into disagreements.

References

Auer, M. R. (2011). The policy sciences of social media. Policy Studies Journal, 39(4), 709-736. Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.

Gresham, T. (n.d.). The purpose of facebook. Retrieved from http://www.ehow.com/info_8770738_purpose-facebook.html

Lampe, C., LaRose, R., Steinfield, C., & DeMaagd, K. (2011). Inherent barriers to the use of social media public policy informatics. Innovation Journal, 16(1), 1-17.

June, P., Hong, C., & Sung-Ming, P. (2011). Social media’s impact on policy making. SERI Quarterly, 4(4). 125-129.

Wikipedia. (n.d.). History of YouTube. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_YouTube

Course Goals

My understanding of Early Childhood Systems is to provide inclusive services for children from birth to eight years old. The comprehensive services include early care and education, early learning, and early childhood (Kagan & Kauerz, 2012). The three goals that will assist me to become more effective in my professional role are 1) developing a shared vision that is effective in early childhood systems, 2) investigating factors that affect early childhood systems to become ineffective, and 3) involving in the creation of effective policies in early childhood systems. I believe that the first goal of developing a shared vision that is effective in early childhood systems will allow me to formulate ideas with other early childhood educators in the field. I am aware that developing a shared vision is not an easy task. However, I think by collaborating with like-minded educators who have the passion for children will produce a shared vision that is effective in early childhood systems. The second goal is to investigate factors that cause early childhood systems to become ineffective. I think by understanding these factors will unlock the flaws in the infrastructure of early childhood systems. It will uncover the breakdown of ineffective systems, and reveal the central issues. Lastly, I believe that it is critical to be involved in creating new policies to ensure that they will be effective in early childhood systems. I think will be essential to collaborate with professionals, community agencies, and early childhood programs to establish effective policies that will positively impact children and their families. Effective policies will increase children and families to access affordable and high quality services in early childhood systems.

Reference

Kagan, S. L., & Kauerz, K. (Eds.). (2012). Early childhood systems: Transforming early learning. New York, NY: Teachers    College Press.

Final Thoughts

My overall experiences in this course gave me new insights and deeper understanding of how the family, culture, and society influences on the identity development of young children.  I am now aware and have greater knowledge of today’s diverse populations.  The course materials that I enjoyed learning was how biases and microaggressions significantly influenced children, families, and cultural groups.  I also thought that it was interesting to know how children are dramatically shaped by risk, stress, and trauma-related experiences.  From this course, I have gained new knowledge on ways to foster social change to protect children from child abuse and exploitation.  The experiences that I have received in this course has stretched and challenged me to be a child advocate.  I believe what I learned in this course is applicable to my work as an early childhood professional.  I think as educators, we need to be aware of ways to protect children from abuse and neglect.  Child abuse and neglect should be addressed in schools, homes, and the community.  Schools are the first line of defense to protect children since children spend the majority of their time in school.  I think it is important for teachers to be well trained in mandated reporting.  Children are vulnerable, and therefore they need to be protected from any form of harm especially abuse and neglect.  It is our duty as a society to ensure that all children have a safe and healthy childhood.  Children should have a supportive environment that would allow them to reach their full potentials.

The Interview Process

I enjoyed writing the questions for my interview. I thought the creating and formulating process was successful. However, it was challenging to contact the people that I wanted to interview. I sent out emails, but only one person responded back to me. I may need to find another person to interview if I am not able to connect with one person. I thought it was challenging to find professionals in the field who were willing to share their experiences. I found one professional who was extremely generous with her time. I felt I connected with her the most because she was open to sharing about her experiences. I learned from her that it was not easy working with abused children. It takes a big heart to work with these children in the community.

I am progressing steadily with my Course Project (Major Assessment). It was a lot of working writing three annotated bibliographies. I am working on my final annotated bibliographies at the moment. Even though it was time consuming, I enjoyed reading and writing about the different research articles. I thought the process was instrumental in assisting me to write my final Course Project (Major Assessment). I am looking forward to completing my final work on the Course Project (Major Assessment).

One idea I would like to share that was helpful for me to complete three annotated bibliographies. I believe it is important to be extremely organized when collecting the different research articles. I would find more than five possible articles, and then I would download them onto my computer. I then read through all the articles that I selected for the annotated bibliographies. I thought this process allowed me to finish write in a timely manner and submit my work on time.

EDUC 8853: Course Project (Major Assessment)

The challenge topic that I have selected for the Course Project (Major Assessment) is child abuse, and the subtopic is on the prevention of sexual abuse. I selected this challenge because I believe that child abuse is the most disrespectful form of maltreatment committed against children. Child abuse threatens children’s physical, psychological, emotional, linguistic, spiritual, and cognitive development. Maltreated children are at risk for developmental delays (Herman-Smith, 2013). These delays are visible during infancy, toddlerhood and the preschool years. I firmly believe as educators we have the responsibility as mandated reporters to report any suspect of child abuse. We also need to educate parents and the community on children’s rights. It is the law that children are protected from any form of abuse. We need to ensure that they are safe and protected from any harm.

These are some questions to consider as we work with children and families: What are some ways we can educate families on how to protect children from abuse. How can we make the community be aware of child abuse prevention? What preventative measures are implemented in the school to train teachers to report any suspect of child abuse?

Providing the Very Best Care for Young Children