"School psychologists must have the positive interpersonal skills necessary to facilitate communication and collaboration with students and among teams of school personnel, community professionals, agencies, and families/schools." - NASP, 1997.

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Interpersonal communication, collaboration, and consultation are all separate but inextricably intertwined facets of the work of a School Psychologist. It is important for School Psychologists to not only communicate, collaborate, and consult with their clients and their families, but also with teams of school personnel, community professionals, agencies, and school boards and policy makers. From this, a rich body of knowledge, experience, and expertise can be used to make decisions and solve problems. A School Psychologist does not need to be an expert on everything, but rather, must be an effective communicator and work to establish practices of positive collaboration and consultation.

Level of Competence in Interpersonal Communication, Collaboration, and Consultation = novice

Evidence
I have completed coursework in consultation and collaboration that has helped me realize that it is not just an important practice in School Psychology, it is a vital one. I have also included two of my assignments as they directly relate to my development of competence in the area of consultation and collaboration, as well as reflect effective interpersonal communication. I have also read textbooks and articles related to interpersonal communication, collaboration, and consultation and have included a reference for a book I found particularly useful in describing the process of consultation and collaboration as it relates to School Psychology. I have also included a performance appraisal from my role as a learning assistance teacher, which highlights some of my abilities in effective interpersonal communication, collaboration, and consultation with students, parents, and school personnel. Finally, a reflection statement written by myself further demonstrates my level of competence in this area and draws on experiences from my professional and student life in recent years.

Course Descriptions

APSY 513 - Consultation and Collaboration
This course is primarily concerned with the development of skills, knowledge and practices that are applicable to all people involved with inclusive and special education. The overall aim is to develop professionals who can function effectively as advocates, change agents, and facilitators in schools, providing culturally appropriate problem-solving processes within consultative and collaborative teams.

Assignments

The following documents are two assignments that summarize and provide examples of my competence in interpersonal communication, collaboration, and consultation as a School Psychologist. The first is a collaborative adaptations paper that highlights the collaboration and consultation that would need to take place to effectively provide an individually tailored education program for a student with special needs. The second assignment is a situational analysis of the collaboration barriers between classroom teachers and special educators. Suggestions for overcoming these barriers are offered.

Influential Reading

Dettmer, P., Thurston, L.P., Knackendoffel, A. & Dyck, N.J. (2009). Collaboration,
consultation, and teamwork for students with special needs (6th ed.). New Jersey: Pearson Education.

This text provides a comprehensive, practical foundation and guide for preparing school personnel and families to work together in the education of students with special needs. The book addresses the roles and responsibilities of all educators at school, while working with families and in their communities, to allow them to provide services that will help students with special needs achieve and develop their potential.

Performance Appraisal

The following is a performance appraisal of my teaching abilities, conducted by my school principal. My skills and abilities in effective interpersonal communication, collaboration, and consultation are highlighted throughout the document. Of particular relevance to this domain, however, is the section entitled "Human relations and Personal traits" where evidence of this work's contribution to my level of competence in this domain is really highlighted.

Reflection Statement

Interpersonal communication has always been a relative strength of mine. I am naturally a very outgoing and approachable person and I generally get along well with others. However, professional collaboration and consultation involve much more than simply being friendly. They involve effective communication skills both verbally and in written form and they involve the skills of being able to learn from but also impart knowledge onto other people. Moreover, in a role as a School Psychologist, the act of interpersonal communication, collaboration, and consultation can often involve sensitive issues and issues that other people involved take very personally. It is important then in this process for the School Psychologist to remain objective about the information she wishes to receive or impart, but also remain cognisant of the feelings, perceptions, and reactions of others.

As a member of a teaching staff for the past 4 years, I have participated in a number of staff meetings, worked on numerous staff committees to effect school-wide change, and presented on topics discussed in professional learning teams. I also worked at the district level as part of a team to develop and effect change on district-wide learning goals in the area of Numeracy.

Overall I feel that I have well developed sills in interpersonal communication, collaboration, and consultation and that I have shown tremendous growth not only as a result of my education in the Master`s program, but also as a result of my diverse teaching roles over the past 4 years. While I feel that my level of competence in this area is very well developed for a teacher, I still feel that I need the experience of the internship to progress to an intermediate level of competence as a School Psychologist. I look forward to working with a variety of professionals in the coming year to help make positive changes for students, their families, and the school system. I am confident that I bring an adequate level of skill in this domain to begin my internship and will continue to progress throughout the course of that experience.