ELSA (Emotional Literacy Support Assistant)
Why is emotional literacy important?
Emotional Literacy is the ability of people to recognise, understand, handle and appropriately express their own emotions and to recognise, understand and respond appropriately to the expressed emotions of others.
The understanding and management of emotions are increasingly being seen as central to the whole process of growth and development into adulthood. Emotional Literacy is about keeping control and maintaining high levels of performance when our own emotions are threatening to take over, and also about managing stress or conflict in the face of other people’s emotions.
Feeling, thinking and behaviour each interact with each other, and emotions have a core role to play in how we function as human beings. How we think about ourselves clearly influences how we get on with other people; research and experience both testify that the quality of relationships has a real impact on overall happiness and fulfillment.
Who delivers emotional literacy interventions?
ELSAs are members of staff that have completed additional external training in order to deliver these sessions. Rea & Emma may work with individual students or small groups once or twice a week for 6 to 12 weeks, to improve overall Emotional Literacy or focus on specific aspects, such as anger management or social skills.
What happens during an ELSA session?
- Discussions of situations, feelings/progress.
- Focused activities such as drawing tasks to explore emotions/ situations/ strategies being covered.
- Games with a focus on particular aspects Emotional Literacy
- Direct teaching and modelling of new skills/ strategies
- Role play of situations to practice/explore new strategies and responses.
- Use of ‘therapeutic metaphors’ (stories) to teach different, attitudes or ways of perceiving things.
For the individual pupils, Emotional Literacy appears to be central to both interpersonal and academic functioning and at the heart of feelings of self-worth and dignity.