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Emoticons In Pictorial Questionnaire Can Help Kids Express Feelings About School

Update Date: Feb 07, 2017 08:10 AM EST

A simple pictorial questionnaire based on facial expressions can help gauge the level of happiness among children. The emoticons can also help them express their feelings about school.

The pictorial questionnaire, developed by experts at the University of Exeter Medical School in United Kingdom, is titled "How I Feel About My School." It uses emoticon-style faces with options of happy, okay or sad as answers.

The children are asked to rate how they feel in different situations like going to school, being inside the classroom and in the playground. The answers will help teachers and other school personnel communicate with young children about complex emotions.

Professor Tamsin Ford, who led the design team, said that research in schools is hard to assess without meaningfully assessing the children's feelings. Previously, they could not find a way to get children's real feelings about things happening in the school.

The team sought the help of the children to find a format that they easily relate to and engage with. The questionnaire, which is now a subject of a paper in the journal of Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry, has an easy scoring system. An average score is around 11 or 12 out of 14. Children who have difficulties at school usually score lower. However, parents and teachers often score children's happiness level higher that the kid's own score.

Ford said that more than 2,000 children in Devon have already completed the pictorial questionnaire. The emoticons had proven to be a simple way for children of all ages to tell their feelings in different areas of schooling.

Ford added that it is a very useful tool and he hopes that schools will take advantage of this free resource. It is important the children be given a voice to express their feelings especially in areas that may later affect them in life.

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