General Information

RESILIENCE is the capacity that helps us thrive even when faced with adversity. Resilient students are more likely to weather difficulties, resolve problems, and see their education through to completion.

RESILIENCE is bolstered by internal factors, such as the way our brains work, and by environmental ones, such as positive social relationships and experiences of well-earned success. RESILIENCE development may be hampered when students lack a sense of belonging and accomplishment, when they have few external supports, and when they are not taught the skills they need to manage impulsiveness or communicate effectively.

What might this look like in the classroom?

Low RESILIENCE may be a factor when students:

  • seem easily discouraged.
  • have few social ties and supports (both in and out of the school environment).
  • have a hard time building positive relationships with others.
  • lack a sense of belonging.
  • do not perceive themselves as having any areas of strength.
  • are not well supported in mastering their particular challenges (e.g., attention deficit disorder [ADHD]).

All students will experience hardship at some point during their school careers and in their lives. RESILIENCE helps students overcome these hardships. When vulnerable students experience school life as RESILIENCE-promoting, they are more likely to stay engaged and be able to capitalize on the important benefits of school completion. They feel they belong and can succeed in spite of difficulties and, when obstacles mount, these students are able to overcome them.

Resilience Promotion

RESILIENCE promotion can be targeted in various ways to draw students into an engaged and effective school life:

  • Connect at-risk youth with effective and engaging mentors and role models.
  • Help develop student self-efficacy.
  • Promote a community-minded, inclusive culture.
  • Minimize the impact of economic hardship on a child’s experience of school life.
  • Cultivate peer relationships through structured activities.
  • Support relationships with positive role models.
  • Cultivate leadership skills in students.
  • Encourage children to express their feelings and emotions in a positive manner.
  • Encourage children to engage in a variety of activities and experiences that increase awareness and acceptance of differences.
  • Encourage and support children in pursuing their dreams.
  • Maintain high expectations and focus on the “how” of helping a vulnerable student succeed.
  • Connect at-risk youth with external supports/mentors.
  • Make the right “fit” between opportunity and student—teachers can recognize and use their students’ strengths appreciatively, while avoiding what may seem a negative response to their difficulties.
  • Manage peer/social networking during class activities to help outsiders become insiders.
  • Pair vulnerable students in a coaching relationship with students who show leadership.
  • Create behind-the-scenes channels to subsidize and support low-income students so that they can participate in school and extracurricular activities.
  • Build mentorship programs into the school, and directly cultivate mentoring relationships when students are at risk.
  • Cultivate the appreciation of difference and differing strengths. Reward achievements equally, not just the “high status” ones.
  • Help children see things through. Don’t rescue them from situations that they fear may be hard for them to handle.
  • Maintain a confident and positive approach to what school life can offer and reinforce RESILIENCE.
  • Create opportunities for children to experience success in arenas outside school and help them transfer their achievements into their school life.
  • Offer positive programs in schools by fostering sustained, skill-building opportunities for all participants.
  • Keep schools informed about the opportunities and resources, including mentorship opportunities, that community partners can provide to help engage at-risk youth.
  • Use RESILIENCE indicators in assessment and treatment planning with school partners.