Thursday, 9 February 2012

L is for Literacy - Emotional and Linguistic

For this weeks AlphabeThursday, its the letter L.  For more entries, please go to Jenny Matlock's excellent blog.

Branwen's Burglar.
This week I have done two workshops in relation to literacy.  The first was to run a bookclub at my kids school and the second was as a participant at a workshop on Emotional Literacy.

I've never organised a bookclub before and thoroughly enjoyed the experience.  We started by making collages of our favourite characters, then I went round the room and asked the kids what they wanted from a bookclub and made a list of activities we can do over the next few months.  Next month will be how to make our own books, something I have a good experience of, so we will probably do simple concertina books. 

Then on Tuesday, I attended a workshop on Emotional Literacy and Multiple Intelligences run by Elizabeth Morris, a psychotherapist, psychologist and all round incredibly knowledgable lady on children and their development.  To let our children grow up to be emotionally intelligent adults John Gottman recommends following 5 principles and these were the basis for the workshop that I attended.

What are the five elements of emotion coaching?

  1. Be aware of a child's emotions
  2. Recognize emotional expression as an opportunity for intimacy and teaching
  3. Listen empathetically and validate a child's feelings
  4. Label emotions in words a child can understand
  5. Help a child come up with an appropriate way to solve a problem or deal with an upsetting issue or situation

It was a fascinating day and I really enjoyed it.  I'm looking forward to putting some of the things I learnt into place.


  1. I do like those five points...and it gives me pause, thinking about those five factors in the lives of even the father and husband that did that horrible act (that's been in the news lately)...when I see that it just makes you think, wasn't there someone in their lives that may have noticed these 5 simple steps, first off the first one...if someone could have seen and made a difference, it's never too late when you try. Great post!

    1. Hi Karen, I have to confess to avoiding any media like the news, because I don't need to hear about those husband/fathers who do evil things. I got rid of the tv years ago and only listen to the radio and music. But yes, those 5 simple, but not easy, steps could make a difference. I'm trying to practice them along with patience!

  2. Some additions from a fellow psychologist: children may express their emotions or mental states in a different way than adults do. For example, depression often comes out as irritation or even anger.
    Never assume:)
    Till a child is about 12, they often do not know the "right" words for what they are feeling, so go at it in a more non verbal way, like drawings, and sand tray is an excellent way to see where the child is "at."
    Sand tray is a therapeutic tool where the child puts objects in the sand (one can use a big plastic container with sand), and you let the child tell the story what it is about. (small objects. When the collection of objects is still small, ask the child what "the rock" represents. Is it a person, car, etc.) Enjoy the book club!

    1. Thanks for the comment Emille, I like the use of the sand tray, I'd be using my skills in a workshop setting so a much softer approach that a therapeutic one, I was interested in making myself a more sensitive adult to the children around me. (Including my own kids) I love that drawing & creative approaches can help with verbalising something.

  3. I like the 5 points...they make good sense to me, with children and adults! thanks for posting.

  4. those are good points Thanks for sharing...

  5. The five points are very good. It is so important for children to learn how to express themselves emotionally.

    The bookclub sounds like great fun. I'm sure that the children will love it!

  6. This was such an informative post for the Letter "L"...

    Love, Love, Love it...

    Especially the 5 points which will be helpful to all of us with Little ones and Grand-Littles running around!

    Let us know how the book making goes.... Sounds Like a Lot of fun!

    Thanks for Linking.