The Efficacy of Film as a Tool for Social-Emotional Learning




Alley, Ellen

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The purpose of this study is to test the efficacy of using film and television clips as a tool for teaching emotion in conjunction with standard written materials. Developing and assessing the effectiveness of an educational tool for social-emotional learning is critical to address the gap in the literature regarding ways to improve emotional recognition, understanding, and labeling skills in adults. The specific goals of this study are threefold:

  1. Develop an enhanced tool for social-emotional learning (as outlined in the ability model of emotional intelligence) that utilizes film and television clips to enhance learning.
  2. Assess the efficacy of the enhanced learning approach by comparing measures on emotional granularity and recognition to the standard group.
  3. Assess the retention of the acquired skills over time by additional comparisons between the enhanced learning and standard groups.

For the purpose of testing the efficacy of this tool, four emotions have been selected to be tested: shame, guilt, humiliation, and embarrassment. These emotions were selected because existing research demonstrates a positive relationship between emotional recognition of these affects and adaptive mental health outcomes. Additionally, the literature shows increased emotional regulation benefits for distinguishing negative emotions compared to positive emotions. Last, these emotions are commonly used, conflated, and confused words.

The study, which includes a pretest, standard and enhanced learning, posttest, and two-week follow-up posttest, will collect quantitative data from a sample of 118 participants.

This thesis will first examine the relevant literature regarding emotional intelligence, storytelling and emotion, and teaching tools. Second, it will describe the creation of the current tool, including the selection of emotions and film clips. Next, it will describe how emotional granularity, understanding, and recognition will be tested. Finally, it will examine the results of the study and the larger implications for the findings.

This study attempts to explore address the gap in the literature regarding strategies for teaching emotion recognition, labeling, and understanding.


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