Resiliency – the ability to persevere through hard times – is a critical skill every young student must learn. This essential life skill teaches students to recover quickly from setbacks and remain steadfast and determined to achieve a goal.
However, in most traditional schools, the majority of classroom hours are spent mastering concepts and material that will be on the year-end, state-wide tests – giving the teachings of life skills, like resilience, a back seat.
In late 2013, Mind Shift published an article titled Why Academic Teaching Doesn’t Help Kids Excel In Life. The article points out that our school systems need to be “places where students learn how to learn, and know how they learn best. . .furthermore, our students need to be able to problem-solve, innovate and fail over and over again.”
Tammy Russell, a writer for the Whole Child, stresses in her article, Why Resilience Is Critical in a Learning Environment, that “When students have resilience, they are open to learning because they believe that they can learn; they are receptive to assistance because it is not a criticism of their abilities; and they are comfortable not understanding concepts immediately because they see learning as a pursuit of knowledge and know that motivation and effort are just as important as knowing how to do something.”
What Students Gain by Learning Resiliency
A student’s time is primarily spent inside a classroom learning from a teacher. When educators place an emphasis on teaching life skills and incorporate lessons of resilience, students develop the capacity to endure mistakes, failures, and challenges, and grow into young adults who are self-sufficient, confident, and self-directed learners and leaders.
3 Strategies to Teach Resiliency
To develop the total young man, it’s vital that life skills are taught in tandem with core, academic curriculum. Our academic program at Grand River Academy is structured around how the male brain learns best and applies effective lessons of resiliency. To help your son or students cultivate a strong sense of resiliency, use these three strategies:
1. Discuss resiliency and evaluate examples of it in everyday life.
Invite open conversations about what resiliency is, what it means to be resilient, and how one can grow more resilient. Sometimes, the best way to explain resiliency is to talk about people – family members, friends, neighbors, political leaders, scientists, innovators, etc. – who overcame hard times and still reached their goals and achieved greatness; their potential.
2. Allow students to learn from defeat, mistakes, and failures.
Failure is painful to experience and never fun to witness in another. Middle school teacher, Jessica Lahey, wrote an insightful article for The Atlantic about why parents and educators need to let students fail. Simply put, failure is key to becoming a resilient person. To help your son or students learn from defeat, mistake, and failure:
- Cultivate an atmosphere within the home or classroom where challenges and failure is an important and necessary part of life and the learning process.
- Help students realize their potential and hold them accountable for performing to their best ability.
- Recognize students for their perseverance and hard work in their academic and personal life.
3. Promote strong friendships and establish supportive student-teacher relationships.
Encourage students to:
- Collaborate with each other
- Share goals and dreams with each other
- Discuss successes and setbacks with each other
- Communicate and support one another
As a parent or educator, let your son or students know that you:
- Value their uniqueness
- Understand their feelings, mindset, and goals
- Are there for them and they can come to you at any time, for anything
Strong, meaningful, supportive relationships enhance one’s resiliency.
Resiliency is a taught trait, and it’s vital that your son or students learn how to bounce back and grow from personal, academic, and professional adversity.
Empower your son to take charge of his education and future by learning in an educational environment that develops resilient young men ready to achieve their own form of greatness at Grand River Academy.