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Supporting children's understanding around emotions through creative, dance-based movement: A pilot study

Twiner, A., Lucassen, M. ORCID: 0000-0001-6958-3468 & Tatlow-Golden, M. (2022). Supporting children's understanding around emotions through creative, dance-based movement: A pilot study. Learning, Culture and Social Interaction, 37, article number 100659. doi: 10.1016/j.lcsi.2022.100659


Developing Understandings of Emotions through Movement (DUEM) is an interdisciplinary programme supporting young children (5–6 years) to develop contextualised understandings around emotions. DUEM responds to the recognised need to support Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) in schools, acknowledgement that many SEL programmes do not offer equitable access to the development of social and emotional competence, and paucity of offerings supporting learning where verbal or written language are a barrier. Harnessing embodied literacy with alphabetical literacy, it frames movement as interpretive and improvisational, a tool for embodied meaning making. Children build emotional vocabulary through interaction with each other, images, picturebooks, music and embodied representation. Talk is still critical in building understanding, but movement provides another ‘way in’. This paper reports a pilot study with two school classes in England (29 children; two teachers), and online workshops with 18 practitioners. Data comprises video-recorded lessons, audio-recorded post-lesson discussions and interviews with the collaborating mental health specialist and dance specialist, and audio-recorded workshops. Reflexive thematic analysis was used to explore the data. We identify how movement can be used to bridge embodied and emotional learning, in ways that are acceptable for children and teachers, as a potentially more equitable addition to the SEL toolkit.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons CC-BY license, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Publisher Keywords: Dance/movement, Emotions, Education, Arts-based, Children
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1501 Primary Education
N Fine Arts > NX Arts in general
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences
School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Nursing
SWORD Depositor:
[thumbnail of Twiner, Lucassen _ Tatlow-Golden (2022)_DUEM Pilot Study.pdf]
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Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

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