Emotional Literacy

Emotional literacy is important. It gives us the ability to recognise, understand, handle and appropriately express emotions. Find out more about how to develop emotional literacy in your school.

"Some emotions (such as sadness, anger) can block learning, while others (such as a sense of wellbeing, feeling safe and feeling valued) promote learning. So learning to manage the emotions can assist learning".

Greenhalgh, 1994

Promote emotional literacy

Emotional literacy involves having self-awareness and recognition of your own feelings and knowing how to manage them, such as the ability to stay calm when you feel angry or to reassure yourself when in doubt. It includes empathy, i.e. having sensitivity to the feelings of others.
Emotional literacy also includes being able to recognise and adapt to the feelings of other people, whilst at the same time, learning how to manage and express your own emotions effectively.
This is helpful in developing good communication skills and the development and enhancement of relationships.


How do you promote ‘emotional literacy’ in your school?

5 important questions to consider:

• How can you help children / young people to identify and gain a deeper understanding of the feelings they regularly experience?
• How can you help children / young people develop an emotional vocabulary?
• How can you help children / young people empathise with others and become aware of how their personal feelings and behaviours can impact upon others?
• How can you encourage children / young people to be reflective and to understand the consequences of their actions?
• How can you help children / young people to develop a range of strategies and encourage them to express emotions in appropriate ways?

   Emotional Literacy: Assessment and Intervention

'Emotional Literacy: Assessment and Intervention' identifies the status of pupils' emotional literacy and provides follow-up activities for intervention where necessary. It covers Primary, ages 7-11 years and Secondary, ages 11-16 years. The assessment covers five key areas of emotional literacy addressed in the Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning (SEAL) curriculum, including:

  • Self-awareness
  • Self-regulation
  • Motivation
  • Empathy
  • Social skills

More information and full material available here.

   Standing up to stigma in your school
  • 3 people in an average classroom will experience a mental health problem
  • 3 in 4 of those people fear the reaction of friends
  • 1 in 4 say negative reactions from friends made them want to give up on life

Stigma means the discrimination of people, in this case because of a mental health problem. When people feel stigma they can feel isolated, ashamed, blame themselves and not want to seek help and support for their problems.

The anti-stigma strategy will help to enable the emotional health and wellbeing of young people and families to improve across Derby City and Derbyshire.


Facilitating change to improve

• Attitudes around mental health and reduce stigma
• Knowledge and understanding of mental health
• Behaviour towards people who have mental health problems

Promoting an ethos and environment which allows discussion around mental health will help support and challenge stigma for children, young people and staff.

Visit Time to Change for free resources, such as posters, leaflets, resources for senior leaders, assembly ideas and lesson ideas.

   The Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning (SEAL)

The SEAL (Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning) publication was developed as a result of 500 schools taking part in the Primary National Strategy’s Behaviour and Attendance pilot. Although the resource was written way back in May 2005, there are still so many useful resources that can be built into your current PSHE programme or can be used to target particular children and families. This resource aims to develop the underpinning qualities and skills that help promote positive behaviour and effective learning. It focuses on five social and emotional aspects of learning: self-awareness, managing feelings, motivation, empathy and social skills.

Website - www.sealcommunity.org