Michael Harpham is an ex-headteacher, author and education consultant. Having worked in some of the most challenging circumstances with students, he shares his thoughts about resilience here.
From a teacher’s perspective, there is an old Chinese proverb which summarises developing pupil resilience clearly and simply: “Give someone a fish, and you feed them for a day. Teach someone to fish, and you feed them for a lifetime.”
This blog is therefore not about how teachers can manage the challenges presented by their pupils (and pupils can be challenging!) but about teaching pupils how to manage and overcome those challenges themselves, and as a result, work more successfully for longer.
So, while we all await being quarantined and for the Coronavirus to blow over, our pupils have some important assessments looming on the horizon. Between now and the summer, it will be important for them not only to develop their subject-specific skills and absorb the knowledge they need to be successful in those assessments, but to successfully demonstrate that oft-forgot skill of resilience and successfully cope with the added pressures they are going to face.
To be clear, resilience is about the pupil’s ability to face and overcome the problems and challenges they face, and as a result, continue to make progress in their work; in other words, work more effectively and for longer. To put it succinctly: