Social Enterprise Development Award from Santander funds Research Intern for Emotion Works

We are delighted to welcome Kathryn Mackay to Emotion Works thanks to intern funding from Santander.

Kathryn will be responsible for compiling evidence of how Emotion Works is being used in practice by visiting schools and settings, meeting staff and learners, taking photographs, observing lessons, making notes and generally capturing what happens following Emotion Works training. The plan is to summarise the information gathered and share lots of the ideas and inspiration online.

Kathryn first had contact with Emotion Works when she was a Psychology Undergraduate at the University of Edinburgh thanks to Senior Lecturer Dr Morag Donaldson making the introduction. Morag is an expert on children’s language development and is particularly interested in researching children’s abilities to explain and understand physical and social/emotional events – an area Claire also worked on with Morag some years ago. Kathryn and fellow student Fiona Clements had signed up to Morag’s research supervision expressing an interest in a project with an emotional theme. Morag arranged for Kathryn and Fiona to attend an Emotion Works training event to find out how the approach works. Afterwards, they collaborated with Claire and Morag to plan their research project and dissertation.

The project investigated the impact of Emotion Works training on classroom conversations about emotion. Specifically, Kathryn and Fiona observed, recorded, transcribed and analysed a series of story time discussions at Haddington Infant school, East Lothian between teachers and pupils about a selection of ‘Mr Men’ stories that were identified as having lots of emotional content. The transcripts of the story time sessions provided detailed examples of the rich emotional discourse that can be generated from using the Emotion Works cogs to scaffold teacher-pupil interactions.

The Emotion Works intern role is perfect for Kathryn. We are particularly excited about using her observation and discourse analysis skills to highlight the learning potential in Emotion Works discussions.


“I loved my first day attending the SCIS Support for Learning Conference with Claire. I had the chance to meet and chat with teachers about what Emotion Works is, explain what the training involves and show off the lovely resources. It was very obvious how much interest and enthusiasm there is for using Emotion Works to support curriculum work generally but particularly to support learners with Additional Support Needs. I can’t wait to get out there with my camera to witness and capture it all happening in real life!”