"The breakdown of the extended family and communities, and the higher rates of divorce and one-parent-
families, have led to a shake-up of the belief that we can leave children's emotional and social
development to parents."
Is the following the solution?
What is 'Emotional Literacy'?
Emotional literacy is the ability to understand ourselves and others and to be aware of, understand and
to use information about the emotional states of others with competence. It includes the ability to
understand, express and manage our own emotions, and respond to the emotions of others, in ways that
are helpful to ourselves and others.
From: Developing the Emotionally Literate School (Weare, 2004)
There is convincing evidence to suggest that developing the social and emotional competence of children
and young people leads to improved well-being, self-esteem, pro-social behaviour and higher
The environments that encourage emotional and social competence are:
- an enriched physical environment
- an enriched emotional environment.
We now understand that by providing these environments, together with specific training and coaching in
personal and social skills, we can enable children and young people to develop emotional maturity far
more effectively than we could before. Many schools believe that emotional intelligence can and must
be developed because it leads to so many benefits. They are therefore finding ways to explicitly place
emotional literacy at the heart of their approach to learning, teaching, achieving, behaviour change
Aspects of emotional literacy
The various aspects of emotional literacy as described by Katherine Weare in her book 'Developing the
Emotionally Literate School' are outlined here.
- having an accurate and positive view of ourselves
- having a sense of optimism about the world and ourselves
- having a coherent and continuous life story.
Understanding and managing emotions:
- experiencing the whole range of emotions
- understanding the causes of our emotions
- expressing our emotions appropriately
- managing our responses to our emotions effectively: for example, managing our anger, controlling our impulses
- knowing how to feel good more often and for longer
- using information about emotions to plan and solve problems
- resilience: processing, and bouncing back from, difficult experiences.
Understanding social situations and making relationships:
Source: Health Promoting Schools
- forming attachments to other people
- experiencing empathy for others
- communicating with others and responding effectively
- managing our relationships effectively
- being autonomous, independent and self-reliant.
If you want to deal further with above topic, get hold of below texts which are worthwhile analyzing with your students:
1. Teaching children how to be happy
2. Government tells schools to focus on emotional development as parents cannot be trusted
3. Should teachers be therapists?