What is the difference between students who persevere through difficult tasks and work hard to achieve their goals, and kids who get distracted (or even refuse to try) when the material gets tough? The answer is a resilient mindset. Resilience is the capacity to cope, learn, and even thrive in the face of adversity or hardship. It means embracing the difficulty of something and using it as a learning experience. Even if you’re worried that you or your child may not possess this mindset, the good thing is, mindsets can be changed! Resilience is not some magical quality that only some people have. We can all build resilience and help our students and children build it too.
Here at STEM minds, we are very passionate about #FearlessLearning. But what does #FearlessLearning really look like? It often looks like resilience or grit. Learning fearlessly does not mean only being successful, it actually means being OK when things don’t work out. Students need to experience both success and struggle, it cant all be wins. Everyone struggles or even fails sometimes, and that’s OK! And that is what #FearlessLearning is all about. We cannot avoid challenges or mistakes, but we can try to shape the way we, and kids, react to those challenges. Because things do not always go according to plan, and building resiliency allows us to cope when this happens.
Resilience is also important to student wellbeing and academic success. Scientific studies of children facing great adversity in their lives support the importance of a resilient mindset. Resilience explains why some children overcome overwhelming obstacles, sometimes clawing and scraping their way to successful adulthood, while others become victims of these hardships. In many studies, a resilient mindset was the biggest determining factor of student success, not what private school they went to or their economic status.
Sure, sometimes we as adults look at kids and think their life is so simple and easy. But kids can face difficulties too. It could be failing a test, being made fun of, not making it on to the team, not reaching a goal, and that’s the small stuff they’re dealing with! We always say “Mistakes=learning”, but how do we actually TEACH kids to be resilient and willing to learn fearlessly? Teachers and families both have a role to play in fostering this important quality in kids.
With resilience training kids can learn how to grow from difficult situations, and this is a valuable life lesson for ANY person to have, this doesn’t just apply to kids! Effective approaches to building the resilience of children and young people include active and positive partnership between students, staff, parents, and their community. Children and young people who feel cared for by the people at their school are more easily able to build a resilient mindset. Students need to persevere when when the material is hard, you can learn almost anything if you don’t give up, and it is our job to teach them this mindset! Of course families play a huge role in building resilience, but parents are not the only caring adults in children’s lives. No one raises a child completely on their own! Teachers, coaches, other adults in the community can all have a role to play too.
We need to foster skills of self-awareness, self-management social awareness etc. in children, and this helps to build a resilient mindset. Schools have the capacity to promote the resilience of children and young people by cultivating a school environment where students are safe and successful.
Schools can help build resilience through the explicit teaching of social and emotions learning (SEL) programs. Students who took part in SEL programs show improved academic outcomes, demonstrate more positive social behaviours. SEL programs explicitly teach a range of skills , including those necessary for self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and critical and creative thinking. Students need to feel comfortable in their classrooms—and comfortable in admitting failure or seeking assistance when they need it. It is important to take a whole-school approach to promoting student wellbeing and wellness to allow kids to be resilient and learn fearlessly!
Resilience allows us to cope with difficult situations. When we have resilience, the difficult stuff does not get to us as much and we are able to keep things in perspective. What is important to remember is that resilience can even be the ability to reach out for help, and recognizing when we need support. This part is easy to forget! Resilience is not only about being strong, sometimes we need to ask for help too.
Resilience means having passion and perseverance for long-term goals, even when it can just be easier to give up. Resilience can require grit and stamina. The ability to learn is directly connected to your effort, and if we teach kids to value their failures as much as their successes, then there is no stopping them! Building resilience is the key to #FearlessLearning. Even when it gets tough, or we fail miserably at what we were trying to achieve, if we allow ourselves to learn fearlessly and be resilient then we can overcome any obstacle, thrive, and be our best selves.