Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Be strong, be resilient

Resilience has come up a couple of times recently.  One was in the lyrics of Grace Petrie's song "Inspector Morse" (1), and the other in a meeting with academic colleagues, in the context of dealing with negative feedback.  It made me look for some resources, which are here...

Communities can have resilience.  There is a definition here, in the context of dealing with emergencies.  So can people, for example, in this resource from the American Psychological Association.

Students, more specifically, need it too.   Here is the Higher Education Academy's research briefing about the benefits of emotional resilience in health and social care students.  What competencies are associated with emotional resilience (being able to cope with the emotional demands of working in that sort of profession)?

The Red Cross have some teaching materials about "building resilience", with scenarios.  Students are encouraged to think about what they would do in the situation described.   Their checklist of resilient behaviours looks very useful, and is:

  • Not necessarily doing the first thing that comes into your head.
  • Not freezing or panicking.
  • Getting a good perspective on the situation – seeing it for what it is, neither exaggerating nor minimising its impact.
  • Assessing the available resources, including non-obvious ones, for their potential to minimise harm or discomfort.
  • Being creative with those resources.
  • Asking those most affected, such as a first aid casualty, for their ideas and preferences. It sounds obvious, but it's often neglected.
  • Calling on past experience, your own or other people's, of similar situations and using that as a guide or help.
  • Reassuring others around you who may be dispirited or doom-laden while calming those who are over-reacting. 

Then there is "mathematical resilience", in this report from the Centre for Research in Education and Educational Technology at the Open University.  The report says, "Many people find it difficult to take part in mathematical learning, to the point where they exhibit anxiety or at least avoid engaging in any activity that could require mathematical reasoning. In this research we work with teachers in school to seek to develop a positive construct in learners, we call this construct mathematical resilience". (p.1)

Back to the negative feedback.  This is another blog post that mentions my older son (sorry, son).  At his school, he has been involved in gathering data from younger students, including about resilience in the face of negative feedback.  To make feedback less negative, the school uses the "WWW EBI" scheme to give feedback - "what worked well", "even better if". 

(1) the reference is at the end of the song.  I feel I ought to warn you that it is near a word that some would consider rude, and which is not a word to use in feedback!

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