Troubled Hearts, Troubled Minds: Making Sense of the Emotional Dimension of Learning


Author: P.Nelmes
Publisher: Crown House Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-78583410-3
Price: £16.99

Nelmes has worked with children with challenging lives and behaviour for over 25 years, in specialist provision and in mainstream schools. He refers to them as ‘troubled children’, whose behaviour needs to be understood and addressed, whether or not that behaviour is disruptive and detrimental  to the people around the child. He believes that these children have a greater than average need to communicate , combined with a smaller than average ability to do so. This mismatch leads to them feeling lost and lonely and failing to create shared meanings with others. 

This book is divided into two parts, with the first focusing on lessons from practice, and the second on the development of the theories that underpin this work. 

Nelmes uses simple case studies to illustrate the process he goes through in building  these ‘shared meanings’, and how these are dependent on the teacher needing to review and revise their intentions according to their assessment of the level of the learner’s understanding. He also draws on his own extensive experience in sharing his philosophy and  the strategies he has developed for coping with challenging behaviour on a daily basis. 

The author recognises that there have been significant changes in child safe-guarding and the understanding of the causes of challenging behaviour and he reflects on the ‘impossibly unregulated and wild’ circumstances that he has taught in historically. He proposes that every good classroom, these days, should present an ethos of care and containment, where the teacher ensures, through skilled teaching, that shared meanings are created in a setting that is safe. An interesting and reflective text.

Mary Mountstephen
Author: Mary Mountstephen

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