I seem to start a lot of my blog posts with “When I was…” or something similar… this one’s no different I guess…
When I was a Teaching Assistant, working with kids with extra needs, I was invited to apply for a specialist role that had opened up. The official title was ELSA, Emotional Literacy Support Assistant. I was one of three people that showed interest, and one of two that actually applied for the role. The application involved submitting a document outlining my understanding of Emotional Literacy, and how it could be applied to children within the school. My only issue was, I had no idea what Emotional Literacy was. However, both the Head Master, and Deputy Head told me they thought it would be something I was good at.
That evening, I popped home, and fired up google. Determined to read up on it as much as possible. After a few powerpoint presentations (seriously… why did most staff use powerpoint to document?) and some vague wikipedia-ing, I had an idea of what it is.
Basically its broken down into “Knowing your own feelings/emotions”, “knowing how to deal with your feelings/emotions”, “Recognising others feelings/emotions”, “knowing how to respond to/fix feelings/emotions”.
I went on a five day course, which was supposed to teach you how to impart this wisdom to children, but whilst they provided a number of strategies, I left with the feeling that I already knew most of what they were teaching, but didn’t have a name for it.
I took some time to put together three workshops, based on three differently sized groups. (individual, 3 person, and 10 person) with an aim to delivering this training to those needed, and then worked with a number of children on it.
Most of the children I worked with understood basic emotions (happiness, sadness,) and I worked on things like anger, jealousy, loneliness. Some of the kids struggled to recognise this in others, or understand why. What I really could have done with, was some way to give these emotions some kind of personification.
Yesterday we went to watch “Inside Out”.
They’ve nailed it.
Damnit, where was this 5 years ago?
It was an incredibly moving (pun possibly intended) story of a young girl, who’s family moved a long distance from her childhood home, and she goes from a happy whacky little girl, to a girl who struggles with anger, fear and disgust.
Its a lovely film. My three kids loved it (and they range from neuro typical, to severely Autistic).
It gets the Bitey seal of approval. If only because I now get to ask my kids questions like “Is anger driving now?”
I think they’re gonna punch me.