Title: Introducing Emotional Literacy and Empathy
Duration: 60 minutes
Commissioned by: Woodside High School
deep:black have designed this concise creative workshop as a way to engage students in school, teaching staff and parents & carers to deepen emotion literacy and to introduce a tool to support children.
Delivered during Mental Health Awareness week, deep:black worked with the whole school community, engaging parents, teaching staff and children. With about 60 participants the workshop was well attended and there a buzz in the room as people chatted busily engaging with image exercises. People listened intently and with curiosity as friends, family and colleagues shared their experiences of what was challenging for them – and there seemed to be both surprise and relief to hear that everyone struggles sometimes. Toddlers got involved running between people, cheerfully sharing images around the group and the atmosphere were friendly and open.
The model of the onion, which deep:black uses as a way to reflect on behaviours, feelings and needs gave parents the opportunity to listen carefully as their children led the way in explaining what comes up for them during tests and exams. There was a moment of quiet reflection as parents considered how they support their children and if there might be more successful strategies they might be able to use. One parent shared a family pattern with his teenage daughter (who was sat in the workshop with him) of how he often gave advice that was ignored. Another child was able to describe how getting advice from his parent often left him annoyed – and together the group explored empathy and looked at how this might be more useful in building understanding.
The workshop ending with a group exercise, to share one thing I do that helps me when I’m struggling to find balance. We created a list that was distributed as a reminder of the different coping strategies that people find helpful.