Do you remember your favourite teacher at school? Most people have memories of a favorite teacher and for most of us that teacher got our best behaviour and response to instruction. If you examine what that teacher emulated, it was most probably empathy, compassion, effective communication, encouragement and the expectation of wholesome learning.
Thinking back to my primary school years, in London, I still remember that one teacher, who I can call my favourite. I was lucky enough to have had her as a classroom teacher, as well as to work alongside her when I was a studying to become a teacher. Her name is Mrs. Dick, she has now retired but my memories of her are vivid to this day.
Being a foreigner in a new country and having to learn an additional language was challenging. A challenge that many children face every day. Adapting was necessary, yet it was something that was not the least traumatising for me, it was an invaluable journey of growth, and that is exactly how I remember it. Within the classroom, I felt encouraged, supported and I believe it was resilience that Mrs. Dick fostered in me and all her pupils.
But, what do we actually mean by the term resilience?
Resilience is what enables children deal with challenging experiences with a positive mindset, emerging from them with a sense of achievement, feeling good about themselves and their future. Children who develop resilience are better able to deal with disappointment, learn from their mistakes, cope with difficulties and loss, and easily adapt to change. We recognise resilience in children when we observe their determination, grit, and perseverance to tackle problems and cope with the emotional challenges of both school and life. When children adapt well to new environments that may require them to learn new skills, to be patient, to cope effectively with some challenges and frustration, we can call them resilient.
Researchers have discovered that these positive coping skills are learned and mimicked. They are dependent upon the child having a strong bond with a caring adult who models, teaches and reinforces these positive skills. This may be a family member, a teacher or someone they look up to. Not every child entering school has the same degree of resilience; it is not a genetic trait. Resilience is dependent upon experience and is necessary for effective learning.
How can we build resilience in our classrooms? Very simply, by having an open mindset ourselves, as educators. By helping children to believe in themselves and by teaching them to persevere despite any obstacles they face, whether those are school related or to do with life. Just that within itself, is one of the greatest life lessons teachers can give their pupils. Once you have fostered resilience within your pupils, learning will be nothing but a piece of cake for them! ❤
This post was inspired by a thought-provoking INSET day on building resilience in learners.
Do you foster resilience in your classroom? Feel free to leave a comment!
Till next time…
Quote image downloaded from http://www.haute2trot.com