Product reviews for Resilience Volume 1

Claire Thomas, Educational and Child Psychologist, Reading ECPS. The British Psychological Society
I offered to review these books as I have an interest in the area of emotional literacy and am also involved in a project using the SEALs (Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning) materials (DIES, 2005) in several primary schools. I was surprised to find no references to the SEALs materials or to National Healthy Schools Standard programmes, as there are clear overlaps between the topics covered. However, I found it useful that each volume has a glossary and a table cross-referencing the activities in the book to National Curriculum PSHE and citizenship outcomes and there are clear links made with emotional intelligence and emotional literacy.

The author is a Training and Development Consultant (previously a teacher), and this is reflected in the references to the workplace and employers. I would not normally have expected this in books aimed at teachers, but felt that this may broaden thinking about children as future citizens and employees and the types of skills that they would need to be successful.

The books are aimed for use with Key Stage 2 pupils, but it is stated that some activities could be used with older students in Key Stages 3 and 4. 1 felt the units on time and money management (-˜My Time' in Vol. I and -˜Money Matters' in Vol. 2) would be particularly useful for older pupils. The books also state that they are not -˜a remedial tool for fixing problem or at-risk children' but that suggested activities could -˜assist atrisk children'.

The books have a clear format, each beginning with a brief introduction and then divided into six units. In my opinion, it would have been useful to have a contents page listing each unit and its activities at the beginning of each volume, rather than -˜mini' contents pages at the beginning of each unit. This would have made the books easier to dip into and to locate relevant activities. A glossary and a bibliography are also included at the end of the books.

Vol. I focuses on -˜personal skills for learning' and includes units such as -˜Marvellous Me', -˜Emotions' and -˜Free to be Me'. Vol. 2 is focused on -˜Social skills for learning' and includes units on -˜Empathy', -˜Conflict' and -˜Moving On'. Each unit includes a list of overall objectives and six to 14 activities with photocopiable resource sheets, each with a brief teachers' guide. I felt some of these objectives were less attainable than others, and that some concepts would be less relevant for younger children and harder for them to assimilate (e.g. budget management). However, there is a- wide range of activities in each volume so the most appropriate can be chosen for the pupils involved.

The book deals with some sensitive issues such as bullying and violence. These are flagged up as needing to be carefully managed by the teacher. 1 found the information on bullying and bullies a little over-simplistic in its handling of a complex issue (e.g. -˜bullies are actually big babies', Vol. 1, p.67).

Overall, 1 felt these easy-to-read books contain a range of useful and practical activities that could be used with children and young people. 1 also envisage using some of the activities when training adults to emphasise the feelings that some more sensitive activities may elicit.

Recommended for those interested in emotional literacy and resilience or working with children on the above areas (primarily in Key Stage 2, but some activities are suitable for older pupils) and PSHE co-ordinators.
Guest | 16/06/2008 01:00
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