Podcast Whole Child Podcast

Is Resilience the Secret to Student Success?

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Resilience—the ability of each of us to "bounce back stronger, wiser, and more personally powerful" (Nan Henderson); "not only survive, but also learn to thrive" (Bonnie Benard); or even to "bungy jump through the pitfalls of life" (Andrew Fuller)—is more than a trait: it's a process that can and should be taught, learned, and required. Being resilient helps youth navigate the world around them, and schools and classrooms are becoming more attuned to providing the cognitive, emotional, and developmental supports needed for resilience to prosper and grow in each of us.

"If children are given the chance to believe they're worth something—if they truly believe that—they will insist upon it" (Maya Angelou). With that in mind, what benefits do schools, classrooms, and students gain through increased attention to resilience teaching and development? In this episode, we discuss how resilience is best developed and whether it should be taught as a curriculum, integrated across all content areas, or organically developed by each student. You'll hear from

  • Sara Truebridge, an education consultant on resilience who has collaborated on the 2009 documentary film Race to Nowhere and is the author of the forthcoming book, Resilience Begins with Beliefs.
  • Andrew Fuller, a clinical psychologist and author who has worked with many schools and communities around Australia, specializing in the well-being of young people and their families. He is a Fellow of the Department of Psychiatry and the Department of Learning and Educational Development at the University of Melbourne.

What does resilience look like in the classroom and how can it be developed across schools?

Comments (9)

Denise Martin

September 7, 2013

What does resilience look like in a classroom? ...students taking educational risks within the classroom… If we as teachers let our students see us take risks even when failure may very well be the outcome, they will feel safe to take risks themselves, knowing they can always try again if they don’t “get it right” the first time. In modeling resilience as teachers, we inadvertently create a genuinely safe environment in which students feel comfortable with the trial and error aspect of learning, and we begin to earn the trust of our students.

Elinor Ladybug

September 11, 2013

As president of Ladybug Publications, I was greatly impressed with the messages on resilience. Imperative for all parents, teachers, and community leaders to be aware of the principles that pertain to this subject. I am anxious to read the book and want to congratulate Sara Truebridge for writing on this subject.

Robin Johnson

September 11, 2013

Professionally speaking, working as a retired banker in a collection office, I understand the meaning of resilience.  It proves the far reaching meaning that resilience has, not only in the educational world, but in the business world. I look forward to reading and learning from Sara’s book.

Joan Iwuagwu

September 18, 2013

Is Resilience the secret of student success reminded me of the movie that we watched in class “healing neen” which was about the life of Toiner Cain who went through a childhood abuse and neglect and later turned her life in becoming a better person.  Resilience is what helped Tonier in achieving her goal, I now know that resilience is not only for students, but for the community in general.

Lori Comer

September 26, 2013

Sara Truebridge asks us to think of resilience as a process not a trait…that everyone in fact has the capacity to be resilient.
It’s a reminder to all of us as human beings especially those in a position of power (parents, educators, medical and mental health professionals, business leaders, politicians) to honor an individual’s potential, to stress the importance of growth and self acceptance, and to celebrate the creativity and diversity within each of us. 
Thank you Sara for continuing to strive for a more humanistic world!!!

Brian Maisel

September 26, 2013

Thank you for Sharing I really enjoyed it! Some parts I took from it included   learning about adversity how to rise above. I also enjoyed the comparison they compared resilience to a trait or a process. Through research they found out that is a process and that everyone has the capacity for it. Resilience research has been going on for over 40 years!
The process of “resilience” works more “smoothly” when there are specific factors into place. Some of these include the role of a teacher to help develop the individual’s belief capacity. Teachers who use the strength based perspective help the individual out. The individual also must have caring relationships, high standards and opportunities to grow and rise above. Individuals who are involved in multiple groups such as family, school and community groups help the individual grow and express themselves.
Thanks again! Good luck and God Bless

Katie Hyde

September 29, 2013

I was interested in framing resilience as a process instead of as a trait. This changed the way I looked at this concept as I previously had the impression that some individuals were just inherently more resilient than others. I agree that this perspective is more inclusive as it was mentioned that everyone has the capacity to be resilient. It was also noted that all students should be nurtured and given opportunities to re-define themselves, but just those who seem “at risk”. I found this crucial because people who may be struggling internally may not outwardly display any signs of their hardships.
I found it very powerful how just one person can so greatly impact that life of another. For instance, that a friendly smile from the lunch lady can help a student get through the day because it helped give them that sense of belonging.

Truman Der

September 29, 2013

Something that struck me that Dr. Sara Truebridge shared was the belief that everyone has the capacity to be resilient.  When she was defining what resilience is and how people see it, it made me rethink of what resilience is or when someone is being resilient what it really means.  I really like how Dr. Truebridge explained how most people see “resilience” as a trait rather than a process.  I found it interesting that Dr. Truebridge would call resilience as a lens or a philosophy instead of a trait.  I do agree with her that when we help others we should use the strengths-based perspective compared to the deficit based pathology perspective. 

I also really like how she referenced her mentor, Bonnie Benard, and shared part of her research concerning the 3 major protective factors:  caring relationships, higher expectations, and opportunities for participation and contributions.  This made me think about how we were discussing in class rules that we would like to follow to make the learning environment a safe place to share and discuss different issues.  Plus, if we are able to connect with one another, we will be able to work together and share our various lenses and philosophies of our own lives.

This information from this podcast might be useful to further our understanding of where different people are coming from and why students act the way they do.  I really liked how Dr. Truebridge and Mr. Fuller brought up the question of what success looks like.  I also liked how Dr. Truebridge clarified on one of identified the protective factors from Bonnie Benard’s research, high expectations.  Dr. Truebridge mentioned that in her book higher expectations is not looked at as high performance.  She looks at it as recognizing persistence and recognizing making mistake is an opportunity for growth.  I thought of my parents when Dr. Truebridge brought up recognizing making a mistake is an opportunity for growth because they taught me that making a mistake should not be looked at as a really bad thing but learning how to improve the next time.

After listening to this, it makes me want to get her book and read it!  =)

Faisal Alhaifi

December 10, 2013

I believe resilience is definitely a process. It is learned based on our experiences and the tools given to deal with them. Most learn it at a young age, I believe, by a teacher who was either a parent or instructor. Teachers can help nurture resilience in their students by being patient and providing support that students can see and feel. While we all have strengths and weaknesses in different subjects, a teacher must teach their students to identify these strengths and weaknesses and let them know it is okay to be wrong and to ask for help. This helps one learn to “step back” and search for alternatives instead of giving up on the first try. It can help a student succeed both in the classroom as well as in life as an adult.

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