Skip to main content
article icon

Emotional literacy course proves 'worthless'

News | Published in TES Newspaper on 10 October, 2008 | By: Jonathan Milne

An emotional literacy qualification that hundreds of teachers and school staff have studied for is being rejected by British universities because its only accreditation is from a website based on a small South Pacific island.

At least 35 teachers have grouped together to complain about the course, offered in Britain by the School of Emotional Literacy, saying that it is “not worth the paper it is printed on”.

Local authorities have spent more than £300,000 on the school’s courses, reflecting the increase in interest in emotional literacy, which teaches staff to communicate feelings better and understand those of their pupils.

The school’s principal Elizabeth Morris said she was surprised to learn of the problems from The TES and has since dropped the title of “Dr”, which she had been awarded by the same internet university, the University of Action Learning.

Ms Morris said: “I can absolutely assure you that if I’d have had any idea about this, I wouldn’t have said the things I’ve said or been calling myself a doctor.”

Carole Davies, the headteacher of Lydden Primary in Kent, is among those who had been led to believe their qualification would be accredited. “It was just not valuable at all. Thousands and thousands of words for no practical use and no educational status,” Ms Davies said.

However, some students said that they had found the course useful and had not expected to use it towards other qualifications such as masters degrees.

Subscribe to the magazine

5 average rating

Comment (7)

  • I am a bit confused whilst Elizabeth Morris has advised she dropped the title "Dr" why does she still address herself as Principal and refer to her Ltd company as The School of Emotional Literacy this to me is just as confusing / misleading. From my understanding Ms Morris has never worked in a school , has no teaching qualification and yet chooses a title that most certainly implies some background or connection to a formal educational enviroment

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

    Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    10 October, 2008


  • I have worked with Elizabeth Morris and found her training in emotional literacy first rate. I have acquired a great deal of knowledge and understanding under her tuition. I work in educational consultancy and have often drawn on what I have learned from Liz Morris. I would be perfectly happy to include the SEL certificate on my cv because it is I who would have done the work and the learning. I don't need a certificate to be accredited, that would not be the point in carrying out the study! I'd be pretty lightweight if I thought this would be a short-cut to a tougher academic qualification!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

    18 August, 2009


  • I am surprised at the criticism of teachers, but then again not surprised, as teachers would be reluctant to carry out the action research tasks which are contained in the School of Emotional Literacy training. Teachers tend, in my view to want a certificate for promotion puropses but not the experience to go with it in context of teaching. I studied for a diploma in 2004 specialising in Asperger's Syndrome, and felt completely satisfied that I had more than enough knowledge and case study experience to apply the principles of Emotional Literacy Development through the Expressive Arts in a school in Devon. The outline of the course was excellently power point presented, and we as adult students were given plenty of action research targets to meet, which is where the main value of this diploma lies with me. It is more valuable than any accreditation, as I can speak with authority and from experience. This course was focused on empowering professionals in doing their own case studies in context of their work, in contrast to some higher education training that relies in my opinion on too much bookwork and reliance on paper accreditation as representing someone's professional 'worth'. The Practices recommended by the school - Circle Time, Philosophy for Children, are well tried and tested techniques, and many schools are benefitting through practicing them with or without the need of University accreditation, just because they work. It is time for teaching to come out of the academic closet and demonstrate good practice, and action research is just about the best context based skill development you can get. In my view, having gone through the PhD process, academia is full of false prophets, promising job advancement but not a lot more. One of the few trainings that are context-based and peer group organised with on going self assessment expected of professionals, was that of the School of Emotional Literacy.
    Charlotte Yonge, PhD

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

    20 August, 2009


  • I was absolutely horrified to see that Ms Morris has reinvented herself yet again and given herself a whole new persona. She is no longer the disgraced 'guru' of the emotional literacy world but instead has given herself a new name - Anne Henshall and new professional history and identity with not a mention of emotional literacy or of all the high powered professional strategy groups and central government departments she once professed to have been part of. No mention either of any qualifications now.either! Anyone who knows Ms Morris has only to click on the audio link arrow on the website page to hear her distinctive voice selling her products in a very unconvincing manner.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

    Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    23 November, 2009


  • Dancing Daisy has not provided a valid web address, nor given accurate directions for a supposed audio link, or how she identified Ms Morris from the audio clip, or any other proof of identification.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

    4 March, 2010


  • I attended the same course as the previous writer and found that the content and validity of the course and course materials to be one of the most useful bits of learning that I have completed. I have successfully used the certifcate achieved as accredited prior learning at two UK universities. and have found that this course was one of the hardest to achieve.
    By attending some courses you gain a certificate. by attending this course you were expected to work towards the certificate by doing the hardest thing possible, analysing your own interactions and practice. Most people do not like this because accepting yourself and finding the things that upset you is a dark place to go. The support and learning through this process by my peers and Ms Morris has ultimately improved the lives of the adolescents that I have worked with. I feel that this alone is worth more than yet another certificate in a plastic envelope.

    I guess you have to make a choice: do you wish to gain a certifcate for CPD or whatever other reason, or do you want to learn and make a difference to your practice. Through this course I have achieved both of these and would continue to study with Ms Morris.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

    5 September, 2010


  • The trouble is with Ms Morris's many website is that they are up and then they are down - try this one CHYonge - and simply press the start button icon on the video square

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

    Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    16 November, 2010


Add your comment

Subscribe to TES magazine
Join TES for free now

Join TES for free now

Four great reasons to join today...

1. Be part of the largest network of teachers in the world – over 2m members
2. Download over 600,000 free teaching resources
3. Get a personalized email of the most relevant resources for you delivered to your inbox.
4. Find out first about the latest jobs in education