Resilience: the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.

It seems to be a term we use a lot in schools nowadays. I never remember being told that I needed to build my resilience, that I needed to learn to be more resilient. When did the word creep into standard educational parlance? How exactly do we teach resilience? We recognise when children are resilient, we certainly feel the effects of those who aren’t.

Children in school all get much of muchness in terms of how they are treated, the feedback they get, the praise, the attitudes of staff and the ethos of the school. So I can only presume that the very wide spectrum of resilience we see is down to factors outside of the school gates. Some is probably nature, how often do we hear, “Oh, he’s just like me.” Some is probably nurture, “I’ve told her that……..” How much influence do we have?

I think that we can help to show children that mistakes don’t mean that they are failures, we can encourage them to try again but some of our children seem very fragile. Some of the children, despite lots of positivity, Nurture Groups and other similar interventions, still have really low self-esteem. They cannot cope with the slightest failure, they shatter. We will continue to try and boost self-esteem and self-belief, we will continue to praise the positive, whilst not ignoring the mistakes. Not teaching children how to recognise and use those difficulties as stepping stones will not help them in the long run.

What we do well is to lead by example. Our staff are brilliant at demonstrating resilience, however badly they feel that yesterday went they turn up again today and we know that they will turn up again tomorrow. They show the children that the right thing to do is to keep trying and that sometimes a change of approach is needed to solve a problem. They also offer security to those children; what ever you do I will bounce back and will move forward. They definitely demonstrate “resilience – the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.”


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