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Title: Can Emotional Literacy Support Assistant (ELSA) interventions support positive change in the wider school?
Authors: Robertson, Helen Elizabeth
Issue Date: 2021
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: Emotional literacy (EL) is defined within this research as a process of people interacting with each other in a way that supports a shared understanding of our own and other’s emotions, which can then be used to build relationships, support decision making and support wellbeing. UK government legislation and policy are increasingly emphasising the need to support the social and emotional development of children and young people in schools. Research suggests that developing EL can support the social and emotional development of children and young people including aspects of: Wellbeing (Roffey, 2008); mental health (Weare, 2004); a positive self-view (Tew, 2007); academic outcomes (Sharp, 2003) and learning capacity (Elias et al., 1997). Chapter 1 This chapter reports a systematic literature review (SLR) exploring how effective EL interventions are for supporting the development of children and young people. Government guidance has prompted a renewed focus on how education can support the wellbeing of children and young people. One aspect to supporting wellbeing may include the development of EL, as this can enhance the development of relationships and communication to support emotional expression and connection with others. Six quantitative studies met the inclusion and exclusion criteria and therefore a meta-analysis was chosen. Three studies obtained significant results with small to medium effect sizes. All studies cited a range of other factors which appeared to impact upon results positively and negatively and influenced the effectiveness of interventions. These factors became the focus of discussion within this review, as this appeared to offer greater insight into effectiveness. An exploration of how the conceptualisation of EL impacts upon how it is measured was discussed. It was concluded that quantitative approaches are less likely to provide the rich detail required to understand EL and capture the role of relationships, school environment and conceptualisations of EL to understand change effectively. Chapter 3 This chapter details the empirical research which explores how the implementation of ELSA can support change within the wider school. ELSA (Burton, 1999) is an intervention delivered by EPs and is prominent across the UK. Gaining an understanding of how ELSA supports wider change is likely to support further steps to enhance training planning and delivery, supervision and when sharing ELSA information with schools. Two focus groups of 11 ELSAs were conducted with thematic analysis completed. Findings suggest that ELSA interventions support the EL of schools. The ELSAs shared that school readiness, the community of ELSA and the development of relationships were key supportive factors to this change. It was discussed that ELSA training groups could be a community of practice, whereby they learn and develop together with the support of supervision and the wider ELSA community. The key changes and supportive factors shared by the ELSAs may demonstrate the development of a community of EL practice which facilitates learning, reflection and change within organisations. It is proposed that communities of EL practice could be harnessed further by EPs to support this change effectively using the models proposed by Wenger, McDermott and Snyder (2002).
Description: PhD Thesis
Appears in Collections:School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences

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