Independent Thinking on Emotional Literacy

A passport to increased confidence, engagement and learning

By: Richard Evans


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Products specifications
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Size: 198 x 126mm
Pages : 192
ISBN : 9781781353738
Format: Paperback
Published: October 2020

Written by Richard Evans, Independent Thinking on Emotional Literacy: A passport to increased confidence, engagement and learning shares an approach that will help educators boost their pupils' emotional literacy, with the broader aim of nurturing a more grounded, engaged and intrinsically motivated child.

Foreword by Ian Gilbert.

Do teachers truly understand their pupils? And do the pupils themselves really understand their own needs?

In Independent Thinking on Emotional Literacy, Richard Evans reminds every school educator that behind every child is a set of circumstances so entwined – and within them a set of emotions so involved – that to ignore them is to be complicit in any educational failings experienced by that child.

Richard equips educators with a collaborative 'passport' template designed to improve pupils' emotional literacy and promote discussion of the often-unspoken issues that prevent children from making progress at school. It enables staff to steer young people to greater emotional understanding of themselves, so that they can better manage their route through the school system.

Furthermore, Richard provides a detailed tutorial as he walks you through the subtleties and wide-ranging possibilities of its use. Colour copies of the passport are also made available for free download as a complimentary feature of the book.

If the passport is aimed at anyone, adult or child, it's those not altogether happy with the system; those not convinced it provides as much breadth and meaning as it could; and who sense that education is as much about the acquisition of self-knowledge as it is about that of knowledge per se.

Ultimately, the result of the enterprise is deeper understanding – whether it's of the girl who falls asleep at the back, the boy who needs constant support, or those pupils who need extra careful attention at parents' evening.

Suitable for all educators in both primary and secondary settings.

Picture for author Richard Evans

Richard Evans

Richard Evans is a secondary school teacher with a particular interest in, and passion for, helping pupils who struggle with literacy. A former journalist, he has spent the last decade learning from pupils in lower sets and in nurture and tuition groups. One of the fruits of their joint labour is the passport' ' a tool designed to assist teachers in helping pupils develop their emotional literacy.


  1. Being able to recognise and precisely articulate emotions can sometimes feel like a sign of vulnerability of which many are not comfortable with. Showing any sign of weakness can be difficult, especially when faced with social stigma, digital reactions or deemed failure. Such feelings are true in many family, social or professional situations, and can effect young people and adult alike.

    Emotional Literacy, by Richard Evans, builds on a better understanding within many societies that talking about feelings, and honestly expressing oneself is a key component in supporting positive mental health, academic achievement and motivation. Following conversations with his colleagues, Richard developed a series of passports supporting: Literacy; reading; RE; parents' evening, and; detention that focus on a series of self-analysis questions and reflections that can support young people to understand their emotions. The book explores the reasoning behind the questions, offering advice and guidance to educators supporting confidence & resilience; organisation & presentation; attitudes to learning; setting, and; outcomes.

    The idea of the questions and resources is not a prescriptive method of how emotional literacy issues should be addressed in your school, but a guide and suggestion on how educators could develop their own strategy to support students. The areas addressed in this book may not be a priority for your school, but developing your own sets of questions based around different subjects or behaviours may inspire after engaging with the book.

    Rather than being a book specifically about the science and theories behind emotional literacy, the reader is given an ethnographical secondary-school exploration on how building a strategy or resource for a school setting could be undertaken. References and further reading resources are offered for anyone wanting to explore deeper into the subject and the seminal book by Daniel Goleman is referenced early on. Yet, this book needs to be applauded for its attention to addressing the emotional development of our students, rather than just the cognitive for technical, and how this can impact on classroom attainment.
  2. A key problem facing schools and colleges is the increasing number of pupils becoming disengaged or isolated from learning in mainstream education. In Independent Thinking on Emotional Literacy, Richard Evans has produced an extremely interesting and engaging discussion around reducing the -˜emotional gap' in order to promote self-belief and drive towards improving engagement and performance levels. 

    The author expresses concern that, from his experience, teachers tend to overlook the need for children to understand themselves. To address what he labels as a gap in practice, Richard has developed a range of passports and 50 key questions to promote individual learners' positivity towards themselves and their learning. The passports are based on key areas such as confidence and resilience, organisation and presentation, and attitude to learning. 

    The book contains a wide range of insightful tips based on personal case reviews, with the emphasis always on engagement, self-reflection and ownership of actions. From personal experience I have to question the feasibility of expectation on teachers or support teams to find the extra time to conduct the one-to-one sessions to fully utilise the passport system to bridge the gap and bring the learners on board. Within his non-teaching environment, the author acknowledges the possible resource implications within schools. However, details of various learners' responses to the process appear to justify the time expended in the
    practical application of the passport system. 

    Richard has shared his ideas on asking the right questions and developing a system that encourages and shows pupils how to manage themselves and their emotions with increased awareness and confidence. I am sure the ideas in the book will enable teachers to gain additional skills and confidence with which to support learners in developing more effective emotional intelligence to cope in the current changing educational and social environment. The book will be a great resource for many schools and colleges.

  3. Independent Thinking on Emotional Literacy is essential reading for all staff who want to support young people to become happy, confident adults, and not just knowledgeable ones. The generosity, empathy and patience that we need to show in order for this to happen can seem daunting, but Richard Evans offers practical and effective advice on what questions to ask, how to ask them and - most importantly - how to listen to the answers. It is becoming increasingly clear that young people need ever more support in reaching a level of emotional understanding that will allow them to succeed both in school and beyond - and, in an engaging way that will speak to all teachers, Richard shows us how we can help.
  4. Independent Thinking on Emotional Literacy is an excellent read which is honest, accessible and captures you from the start. It offers both new and experienced colleagues something rather unique, and builds upon the fundamental need for our children to understand themselves - illustrating that if we get this right, the rest will follow. 

    The passport is a potential game changer for pupils and teachers alike, offering teachers the means with which to increase their pupils' confidence, engagement, resilience and learning. It provides us with a -˜how to' and encourages educators to find their own way with it - to use it, adapt it and grow it. Furthermore, it breaks resilience down into measurable behaviours and allows students to identify their own needs and to be reflective in their progress. This highlights an asset-focused approach to all things well-being - to focus on what we can bring into our lives and the changes we can make.  

    The book is startlingly accurate in its description of transition and the whirlwind start to the academic year for pupils and teachers alike, reminding us of the power of listening and the importance of making time in our work with pupils and in education. It also made me laugh out loud in parts and deeply reflect in others.  

    Independent Thinking on Emotional Literacy has significantly added key insights to my 20 years' experience of teaching, pastoral leadership and work with young people. Thank you, Richard, for reminding me to keep thinking and reading to improve my own practice! 
  5. Independent Thinking on Emotional Literacy offers a vivid and realistic account of the lives of many students and gets to the heart of why some students are simply not in a place to learn when they arrive at school. It is written in a very honest and down-to-earth manner, and provides a range of helpful examples of some of the key challenges students often face when they struggle with their emotional literacy. Furthermore, the introduction of the passport is a helpful and relatively simple tool for practitioners to use as a focus for the not-so-simple process of supporting pupils to successfully and independently develop their emotional literacy skills.-¯ 
  6. Richard Evans' Independent Thinking on Emotional Literacy is exactly what we have been waiting for in schools. Everyone is acutely aware, now more than ever, that teaching emotional literacy is one of the most important things we can do to help a child's sense of well-being and future success - and it is also well known that emotionally literate children perform better in school. But how do we teach it? Cue Richard to the rescue, as his vast experience of tutoring nurture groups and his sense of humour make reading the book feel like you are chatting with a good friend. He pulls together a range of theoretical perspectives and offers plenty of suggestions on how to develop students' independent thinking in order to help them find solutions for each scenario around the passport, which can also be adapted to suit your own setting.  

    Essential reading for anyone passionate about helping children and young people become more emotionally literate.
  7. In this book Richard Evans gives us a breakdown of what emotional literacy actually looks like in the nitty-gritty of everyday life.-¯Moreover, he presents it from the pupil's perspective and demystifies the subject in a succinct, lively and very readable way.-¯ 

    The book provides a clear, structured and practical outlook on what the conversation between a school and its pupils should be like, and how this conversation can be refined and made more effective for the benefit of all.-¯ 

    Independent Thinking on Emotional Literacy is a must-read for anyone who works with young people; any school that follows Richard's advice will be confident that they possess a clear grasp of the voice of their pupils, and will be making major steps to reduce any disaffection or disengagement.-¯ 
  8. I would recommend Independent Thinking on Emotional Literacy to anyone wanting practical ways to address what is often a difficult area in an already crowded curriculum - that of pupils' emotional literacy. 

    Writing in a highly engaging manner, Richard offers himself as a guide, provides a licence to travel on the journey (presented in the form of the passport) and encourages educators to explore how they can better navigate the territory that is the inner emotional world of their pupils. The passport itself is a powerful tool to assist in engaging pupils in meaningful discussions that will help develop their self-efficacy, motivation and specific skills for successfully engaging in the world of school. 

    All in all, Independent Thinking on Emotional Literacy is an invaluable resource for any teacher or mentor working in a wide variety of educational settings. 

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