Engaging Education: Developing Emotional Literacy, Equity and Co-Education

Engaging Education: Developing Emotional Literacy, Equity and Co-Education

Engaging Education: Developing Emotional Literacy, Equity and Co-Education

Engaging Education: Developing Emotional Literacy, Equity and Co-Education


Brian Matthews brings intellectual rigour as well as passionate commitment to the important tasks of appreciating the role that emotional literacy can play in a refreshing education. It is a powerful combination. It is because he understands so well the need to attend to the purpose of education that he is so illuminating on the strategies that will give all young people the best possible chance to learn and to grow.
James Park, Director, Antidote

"This book will be read by individuals who have an interest in bringing about change in the presentcurriculum.
School Science Review

This book reveals the huge potential of engaging pupils with their emotions in the classroom, and presents evidence that when pupils work in this way they become more co-operative and help each other to learn. The book explores how schools can move beyond a focus on cognitive attainment through an emphasis on affective engagement, to help pupils develop better relationships of all kinds and prepare them for adulthood in a fast-changing world. For teachers, the book tackles the important questions of:

  • What is emotional literacy and emotional intelligence?
  • How can teachers incorporate pupils' emotional development into their lessons while nourishing and enhancing achievement?
  • How is it possible to have a calm atmosphere in the classroom with pupils enjoying learning together?
Engaging Education is the first book to link the issues of emotional literacy, equity and social justice, and the education of the whole child, thus providing the social and political context for emotional literacy. In connecting emotional literacy and equity with the structure of schooling, it establishes that co-educational schools can contribute to enabling boys and girls to relate to and understand each other.

Based firmly on research, this innovative book gives teachers invaluable guidelines on what to concentrate on and what to avoid. It is key reading for teachers and trainee teachers as well as policymakers and all those concerned with education.


Some books come to people in a flash, but not this one! The views I express in this book evolved over a number of years and grew out of my teaching experiences. I taught for 19 years in co-educational and single-sex secondary comprehensive schools. During this time I was interested in trying to make lessons more engaging. However, as I taught I became increasingly interested in how to enable pupils to get on well with each other. It seemed to me that the subjects taught in schools focused too much on cognitive ability. Certainly, the subject I taught, science, did not allow enough time for teachers and pupils to be able to pursue interesting topics, and develop their critical and creative faculties. Additionally, I wanted to have space to enable pupils to learn the social and emotional skills needed to appreciate each other. I used collaborative group work and introduced problem-solving exercises to aid pupils' emotional development, and to make the subject more interesting. I found ways of getting all pupils to work together, and although at the time I did not know the terminology, I was developing their emotional literacy through dialogue. Education, I believe, should include a celebration of the child, and help adolescents become adults with a strong social and emotional connectedness.

Also as a science teacher I was interested in equality – or equity – and trying to get more girls to take up science as a subject. These three themes – dialogue, emotional literacy and equity – are the themes of this book. The integration of emotional literacy and equity is novel and has not been explored before as it is in this book. I recognize that at present the pressures on schools are to focus almost exclusively on getting pupils through examinations. Change is difficult with a governmental or state control of education that results in a loss of freedom for teachers in what they can teach. This makes it even more important that teachers and other educators try and effect change. In society there is a recognition of the importance of emotional literacy and this is resulting in an increasing pressure on schools to develop . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.