School A 4/5

What did the researchers say?
Participant 2: You can show how much of ( that emotion) you feel by how much of the colour you put on.

Participant 2: That colour expresses they are ok. This one expresses they are energised.

Participant 5: The focus group is a switch from havoc of classroom to calm quiet of the reflection sessions.

Participant 5: I think the worst emotion I ever felt in every session was confusion.

Participant 5: You draw a facial expression inside each quarter….multiple facial expressions and then a facial expression at the end for how you generally felt ‘overall’. And it’s like a portable jotter.

Participant 6: I drew some animals because animals calm me down.

Participant 6: They could have a 2 min break. I think they could go to the book corner or where the bean bags are and they could think about what they were going to divide up

What did the researchers make?

Pic 1: Children started to associate emotions with animals, personifying feelings and giving them life.

Pic 4 and 5: One researcher developed a straight timeline of the session and made the timeline more erratic; the researcher acknowledged the ‘messiness’ of emotions and the way that emotions could change erratically and then change back. This time, instead of emojis, the researcher divided circles up into quarters suggesting 4 emotions could be felt at the same time.


Reflection: Key observations and findings
 1. Researchers acknowledged the complexity of emotions; they suggested that many emotions can be felt simultaneously and that these emotions could change several times. The complexity of communicating mixed emotions is echoed in the research of Harris (1994, 2000) who recommended  the development of non-verbal strategies to communicate and understand children’s mixed emotions, and also Burkitt and Shepperd and who recommended that “future research could explore additional graphic strategies that children use to convey a range of mixed emotions that are either simultaneous or parallel experiences in nature” (Burkitt and Shepperd, 2014 p.248).

2. Researchers started to use animals to represent emotions, although we discussed how this is very personal; one student was scared of dogs and they made her feel anxious, whereas another student was fond of dogs and they made her feel happy.

3. Students discussed the importance of having a tool they could move around with – a ‘portable jotter- and were keen to be able to find their own space so they could reflect. Researchers acknowledged the importance of  reflecting on their reflections if they wanted to explore their emotional responses fully and not just in a tokenistic way, demonstrating the childrens’ understanding of the importance of “time and space to reflect” (Leigh, 2020 p.138).