Research

The website co-ordinator is contacted by an increasing number of educational psychologists conducting research, often at doctoral level, into the impact of ELSA training, supervision and intervention. Anyone who is conducting or has completed research into aspects of ELSA is invited to contact the website co-ordinator with information about the focus of their research. Contact details should also be included. In this way the ELSA Network can facilitate contact between researchers and help to stimulate further research ideas.

Some local evaluation reports are to be found in the the ELSA Around the UK section of the website.

A qualitative study of ELSAs’ and children’s experiences of the ELSA programme. Researcher: Sharon McEwen Contact: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

This study explored the experiences of Emotional Literacy Support Assistants (ELSAs) (n=8) and the young people they worked with (n-7) using a semi structure interview.  A thematic analysis revealed that ‘relationships’ was an important aspect of both ELSAs and children’s experiences of the ELSA programme and pivotal to the change process.  The child-ELSA relationship was viewed by children as a coping mechanism in itself that children draw on to a varying degree after formal sessions have ended.  Factors influencing the formation of this relationship were also identified.  For ELSAs these included ELSA qualities, self-confidence and implementation factors (e.g. leadership, resources). For children these included the qualities of the ELSA, confidentiality and sessions being perceived as fun and enjoyable.  The results and implications of these findings are discussed with reference to relevant research.

An Evaluation of the Emotional Literacy Support Assitant (ELSA) Project: What is the impact of an ELSA Project on support assistants' and children's self-efficacy beliefs? Researcher: Dr Laura Grahamslaw Contact: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

This doctoral research was completed in Northumberland, details of which can be found in the Northumberland section of ELSA Around the UK. The ELSA project was found to have a positive impact on both support assistants' and children's self-efficacy beliefs.

Ascertaining the impact of training and supervision on ELSAs' skills in supporting emotional literacy development in children. Researcher: Mary Leighton Contact: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

This research seeks to learn from Emotional Literacy Support Assistants (ELSAs) how they perceived the Emotional Literacy Support Assistant (ELSA) training had affected their engagement with their school community and the pupils they were working with. The thesis places the role of ELSAs within the context of the rise in interest in emotionality in education and psychology over recent years. The research was conducted with trainee ELSAs who took part in a semi-structured interview whilst most also kept a reflective journal. The ELSAs reported they considered the training had provided them with a greater understanding of their pupils’ emotions and that they felt more competent in supporting their pupils with their emotionality. In addition, the ELSAs considered they were more confident discussing the pupil’s emotionality with colleagues and the pupil’s parents. However, many reported obstacles which prevented them in engaging in their role from their senior management team (SMT) and colleagues. The ELSAs perceived this was due to a lack of understanding emotional literacy (EL). In addition, ELSAs faced the challenge of working with parents who held a mismatch with the school’s expectations regarding pupil behaviour. Mary makes recommendations as to how ELSAs could be supported in their schools. In addition, she explores implications for Educational Psychologists (EPs), schools and local authorities (LAs) with regards to the position of emotionality set against the backdrop of the recent reforms in working with individuals with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). Mary's thesis is available at http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/12444/

How does the ELSA-Child relationship supportchildren's emotional wellbeing and academic progress? Researcher: Lucy Ball Contact: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

This is on going doctoral research. The ELSAs have been taking pre- and post-intervention measures of children's emotional wellbeing and academic attainment. Their progress is being compared with that of children on a waiting list to receive ELSA intervention. ELSAs are also completing a measure to explore the relationship they were able to establish with the children they supported. Lucy is conducting interviews with the ELSAs to explore these relationships in greater depth. She is aiming to explore the impact of the ELSA-Child relationship on children's progress.

An evaluation of the Emotional Literacy Support Assistant Intervention from the Perspectives of Primary School Children Researcher: Becky Hills Contact: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

This is on going research which will be conducted in two stages. A questionnaire will be given to 100 primary school children who have received ELSA support in the previous 6 months to gain their perspectives on the programme. Becky will then carry out semi-structured interviews with 8 of these children to gather their views in more detail.

Parental engagement with ELSA Researcher: Rebecca Stewart Contact: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

We will be looking at parent engagement in the ELSA programme and whether this is influenced by the amount of information about ELSA that parents have received. One group of parents will receive a pack of information and have a discussion with their school ELSA prior to intervention and will be asked to come in after the last session to review progress. The other group of parents will not meet the ELSA but will receive a standardized note pre and post intervention. We will then interview parents from each group post intervention to examine how engaged they were in their child's ELSA programme.

An exploration of the ELSA programme from the perspectives of pupils and parents Researcher: Hannah Barker Contact: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

I am using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis as a methodology to explore pupils and parents’ thoughts, feelings and experiences of the ELSA programme. I am using semi-structured interviews with primary school pupils who have completed the ELSA intervention within the last 12 months. I am also holding interviews with their parents. The over-arching themes to be explored within the interviews are the pupils’ and parents’ personal experiences of the process and impact of the intervention and their ideas about the role of ELSAs.

 

Ideas for future research

Impact of ELSA intervention on:

  • attainment
  • school attendance
  • social competence
  • self esteem
  • pupil attitudes to school