ReachOut Schools uses cookies to give you the best experience. Find out more about cookies and your privacy in our policy.

Here we explore resilience through a series of short activities. These can be used in your classroom to begin a unit of work about mental health and wellbeing as well as in small groups where you are exploring the concept of resilience.

This will help young people you are working with to understand that:

  • being resilient is not about keeping things inside, but expressing how you feel and moving forward
  • the resilient person knows how to control their emotions so that they are able to push forward with a plan of action.
Young man in red checked shirt at party

What is resilience?

  • Resilience is the ability to bounce back from adversity. It is a necessary skill for coping with life’s inevitable obstacles and one of the key ingredients to success. Learning to bounce back and to bounce forward.
  • Examples of challenges some young people may face where resiliency skills are essential: physical illness, change of school, transitioning from primary school to high school , change in family make up (divorce, break up), change of friendship group, conflict with peers, conflict with family.
  • Resilient people are comfortable in talking about and expressing a range of emotions.

What can teachers do?

  • create safe and supportive learning environments
  • provide consistent guidelines for behaviour
  • model appropriate responses and behaviours
  • provide opportunities for goal setting, success, failure and reflection.

Lesson activity ideas

Resources Required: Post–It notes, Pictures or magazine photos that can be interpreted differently or Picture This resource.

Activity 1: Buzz idea (15 minutes)

  • A picture tells a thousand words… A great way to introduce a topic!
  • Spread picture cards over classroom floor. Ask participants to choose a picture card they think best relates to the word resiliency (bouncing back, bouncing forward). Participants then share what their card means in relation to resiliency.

Activity 2: What is resiliency? (25 minutes)

Discuss with students what resiliency is (the ability to bounce back, bounce forward from tough times).

On a post-it note, each participant writes down their own definition and an example of when they, or someone they know has been resilient.

Group forms two large concentric circles. The participants in the inner circle share their definition. The participants in the outer circle share their example. The inner circle then rotates clockwise and the process is repeated until everyone has shared. Participants then swap from inner circle to outer circle and share their other piece of information.

Draw a Y chart on the board. As a class, brainstorm what it looks like, feels like and sounds like to be resilient.

Next steps