Primary school children’s processes of emotional expression and negotiation of power in an expressive arts curricular project
Higgins, Hillarie Jean
Therapeutic education initiatives embodying a whole child approach can be seen to address the intellectual, emotional, bodily and spiritual as being part of a child’s educational self. Through designing and implementing the concept of “aesthetic life narratives” in a primary school classroom, my research produces a curricular example of how therapeutic notions such as those found in psychological thought can be integrated into contemporary Scottish education through narrative and aesthetic means, exemplifying how individual children can make sense of expressive processes and roles introduced to them in an educational context. The specific characteristics of the research space and the particular interactive quality of research participation also illustrate how different children are able to participate in a short-term emotional education intervention specifically designed to be empowering. At the same time, my experience shows that the complex dynamic between the subjective life of a researcher and the historical nature of a child’s experience with caregivers in their home life can shape educational/research experience, as well as its adult and child participants, in ways unanticipated. What transpired in the process of applying philosophical ideas to the real lives of children in my research produced ethical implications regarding critical reflexivity and the socio-cultural regard of the child that are of wider relevance to educators, researchers, counsellors and policy makers who interact with children in their own work.