Teaching and Learning Blog – Resilience

15 April 2024
Teaching and Learning

Ms Naomi Barber - Senior School Teacher

Why do we teach resilience in schools?


Research has shown that students who demonstrate qualities of resilience are more likely to have better problem-solving skills, fewer behavioural issues, better planning skills, better social skills and cope better in social situations. Resilience can also help both prevent and recover from mental health setbacks. Therefore, explicitly teaching our children resilience is a worthwhile investment.

At Macquarie, we are working to instil the characteristics of being resilient, resourceful, relational and reflective. While these are worthwhile endeavours as individual silos, these dispositions are even more effective when considered as an integrated whole. These attributes, or dispositions, are applicable to children and adults of all ages and are not dependent on skill, prior knowledge, or a specific type of personality. In short, anyone can learn these skills!

In order to support the development of resilience at home, parents can teach students to plan realistic goals with concrete, measurable steps and celebrate the achievement of reaching these steps. By doing this, the focus is on the accomplishment rather than what has not yet been achieved, and this will encourage children to move forward in the face of challenges. Doing this enables children to build confidence in their own abilities and prepares them to face bigger challenges in the future. One of the most important skills that we can teach our students both at school and at home is the art of perseverance, which allows them to have another go when things don’t work out as we expected. Many of our students already persevere in tasks that interest them. We need to show them that success also follows when they persevere at tasks that they don’t naturally find interesting or that they don’t find easy right away.

This can also be applied to homework or assignments. When children, or adults who are supporting children with their schoolwork, find a task difficult, encourage them to sit down and plan each step with associated due dates or checkpoints. At Macquarie, our ‘drafting policy’ supports this aim, with students able to submit a draft of their work up to seven days before a task is due for preliminary feedback. We also encourage students to use their Macquarie School Diary in every lesson, where they can include both due dates of tasks and external commitments such as work, sport, or music lessons, and also plan for mini-due dates to track their progress through an assignment or homework task, no matter how big or small.

Resilience is often linked to emotional growth. To support a child developing emotional resilience at home, parents can ask how their children are feeling, summarise what they say, and avoid telling their child how they should feel. They can also acknowledge but avoid dwelling on negative incidents, avoid over-reacting to small things, and encourage and reward behaviour that shows resilience in the face of setbacks. At Macquarie, we aim to focus the conversation with our students on potential solutions, prompt problem-solving behaviour, and shift the mindset of resilience onto the student by asking questions such as what they would like to happen and what they would like us to do to assist.

As the year progresses, ask your child what they have done at school to demonstrate one of our 4 Rs: Relational, Resourceful, Resilient and Reflective. This is not only a great way to open up a conversation about what is happening at school, but a fantastic way to link the application of these skills both at school and at home.

 

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