Sharp focus on emotion
See What I Mean? deals with the ways in which meaning is conveyed through facial expression and body language. It features more than 30 emotions and attitudes portrayed by professional actors and has been produced to help teachers and therapists improve the communication skills of people with speech and language difficulties.
The video was produced at the John Horniman School for children with speech and language problems, where it has proved equally suitable for use with individual pupils and in mixed-ability group work.
The lack of soundtrack draws one's attention to the facial expressions, body language, and sometimes props. Each short scene is clearly-constructed to focus on a specific emotion.
A range of situations is explored, for example, receiving flowers, losing one's keys and watching a frightening television programme. The settings are simple so as not to detract from the faces of the actors whose expressions are mostly well-controlled and easily identifiable.
Tthis video could be used in many ways and notes suggesting some approaches would have been helpful. Each scene can stimulate study, discussion and interpretation and as the scenes become more complex with more than one expression featured, the video can be used to explain cause and effect or to explore different interpretations.
It could also be used as a stimulus for people to create their own expressions of emotion through drama and role play. And it could help pupils in mainstream schools develop speaking and listening skills and explore role play.
Teachers and therapists in mainstream or special schools, day centres or hospitals, will find their own ways of moving activities on from simple identification of emotion or attitude to more participatory work. This is a flexible and stimulating resource with a broad range of uses for anyone involved in the development of communication skills.