Resilience

Resilience

Resilience is defined as the ability to bounce back from adversity. It is a necessary skill for coping with the ups and downs of life and one of the key ingredients of success. A number of things impact on a person’s resilience, including their previous experiences, their sense of self, the coping strategies they have developed over time and their mindset.

Students need to be taught that failure can be a precursor to success and is a necessary component of learning. The only way to succeed with tasks, assignments and exams, in physical activities such as sport, and in life in general is through perseverance and persistence, and by embracing and learning from failure. This is a growth mindset and a key aspect of developing resilience.

A mindset is the sum of the various beliefs people hold about themselves. These self-perceptions determine their behaviour, outlook and mental attitude. For example, people may believe that they are either ‘intelligent’ or ‘unintelligent’. Developing a growth mindset is essential in building students’ personal and social capabilities, including self-awareness and self-management.

Resilience is directly related to wellbeing; it is about having the ability to cope with and adapt to new situations. Being resilient and positive, with a sense of wellbeing, enables a person to approach other people and situations with confidence and optimism. This mindset is especially important for students given the enormous changes and challenges they face throughout adolescence.

By helping students to develop the skills to build resilience and a growth mindset, we can minimise the effects of negative, stressful situations. These skills allow students to face challenges, learn from them, and develop ways to live a happy and healthy life.

This resource includes classroom activities for developing resilience. The activities have been designed to help students explore and develop a growth mindset and to understand how they can bounce back from adversity. It includes Wellbeing Fives and links to articles that can be shared with the whole school community.

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Classroom resources

Designed to be engaging and relevant to your students

Understanding fixed and growth mindsets

Students reflect on their understanding of ‘failure’, and on the importance of mindset in learning and progressing in life. They develop an understanding that we can have both a fixed and a growth mindset in different contexts.

7-10

60 minutes

That part does WHAT?

Students develop an understanding of the parts and functions of the brain, and recognise that it forms new connections through learning and practising challenging tasks and activities.

7-10

60 minutes

Observing and building mindsets

Students work collaboratively on a difficult exercise and reflect on their learning process.

7-10

60 minutes

Emotional awareness and self-regulation

Resilient people are able to identify their emotional experiences and control their emotional responses to external events. They are comfortable with their feelings and express a broad array of emotions.

7-10

60 minutes

Connectedness and reaching out

‘Reaching out’ means placing importance on help-seeking behaviours through connections with other people. A resilient person has a range of friendship circles that reflect their different areas of social need.

7-10

60 minutes

Setting goals: ‘Mastery’ and ‘not yet’ tracking

This lesson is aimed at continuing to develop a growth mindset by encouraging students to think of their learning and achievement in terms of ‘mastery’ and ‘not yet’.

7-10

60 minutes

Flexible thinking

To be resilient requires flexible thinking and the ability to see different perspectives. Flexible thinking allows for multiple solutions to a problem. Being able to develop an alternative plan (‘Plan B’) is a vital aspect of resilience.

7-10

60 minutes

Impulse control

We all have impulses to do and say things, but these impulses aren’t always in our best interest or helpful to others. Being resilient doesn’t mean ignoring these impulses, but it does require you to stop acting on every impulse that doesn’t serve you well.

7-10

60 minutes

Empathy

Empathy is the ability to recognise another person’s feelings, and to respond accordingly and respectfully. It’s understanding another’s emotions in relation to your own.

7-10

60 minutes

Self-efficacy

Self-efficacy is using success in an area of your life as a personal reference point for ability, and then working on that to create further success, leading to a sense of personal achievement and belief in yourself.

7-10

60 minutes

Optimism

Optimism involves learning to think positively about the future, even when things go wrong. Optimistic people are happier and more engaged, succeed more often, and are better problem solvers.

7-10

60 minutes

Training minds to stretch and grow

Students learn that the brain continually creates new neural pathways and alters existing ones in order to adapt to new experiences, learn new information and create new memories.

7-10

60 minutes

Wellbeing Fives

Energise, refocus and develop wellbeing in your students in 5 minutes

Self-care hand

When students learn to look after themselves, it builds their self-confidence and helps them focus more on the positive things in their life. There are some steps students can take to encourage the habit of self-care.

7-10

5 minutes

Acceptance

A helpful way to cope with things that are out of our control is to practise acceptance. Instead of seeing ourselves as victims or our situation as negative, acceptance makes us feel empowered about the things we can do.

7-10

5 minutes

'My flatmate ate my leftover pizza' meditation

This guided meditation is designed to help students who are feeling frustrated about something to relax before they react.

7-12

5 minutes

‘I woke up early on the weekend’ meditation

This meditation uses the focused meditation technique to develop kindness and acceptance in a frustrating situation.

7-12

5 minutes

What's in a name?

Feeling part of a group and knowing the names of others in the group can enhance connectedness. This activity is fun and requires students to listen carefully to each other, helping them to feel part of the group.

7-10

5 minutes

My wifi is a piece of crap meditation

This fun meditation can help your students manage frustrations related to everyday problems.

7-12

5 minutes

Stop. Think!

Being able to control impulses and reactions to different situations is an important skill. This activity asks students to stop and think before they react.

7-10

5 minutes

‘Ways to chill for cheap’ exercise

Self-care doesn’t have to be expensive. This activity provides students with an opportunity to discuss different low-cost ways to chill out.

7-12

5 minutes

Positive vibes

Resilient individuals are more likely to experience more positive emotional responses, including such things as happiness, serenity, optimism and joy, than negative emotional responses such as anger.

7-10

5 minutes

Rephrasing for a growth mindset

Students learn to rephrase negative statements into positive thoughts to encourage a growth mindset.

7-10

5 minutes

Growth mindsets: Learning to walk

As a class, record and reflect on skills and activities that students have mastered, but that had taken time, effort and patience to achieve.

7-10

5 minutes

Using rewards to stay motivated

Students identify one goal they wish to achieve and look at ways to keep motivated to achieve it.

7-10

5 minutes

'FAIL' acronym

The word ‘fail’ has negative connotations for most people. Students will ‘rebrand’ the term by creating an acronym in order to create a more positive connection with the notion of ‘failing’.

7-10

5 minutes

Resources for parents and carers

Share with parents and carers to support a whole school approach to student wellbeing. 

Coping skills resilience and teenagers

Positive coping skills will help your teenager be resilient and have good mental wellbeing.

How to have a great conversation

Use these tips to start positive and constructive conversations with your teenager.

Teach your teenager coping skills for wellbeing

You can do some simple things to help your teenager put coping skills into action.

Teach your teenager to be resilient

Resilient teenagers recover from setbacks, adapt to change, and keep going in the face of adversity.