Flourishing Under Fire: Tips for promoting student resilience

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LIGHTNING TALK

Author(s) Sharon Harvey

Abstract

Resilience can be defined as recovering quickly from situations that the individual may perceive as difficult (Walker, Gleaves &Grey, 2006). But more than this, it is the ability to “endure ongoing hardship” (Walker, Gleaves & Grey, 2006 p.251) and “flourish under fire” (Ryff & Singer, 2003, p15). Student success and achievement in higher education are generally founded upon increasing cognitive complexity, challenging preconceptions, opening their eyes and their minds to alternative ways of thinking, knowing and being; it is no wonder that student resilience is an important concept. Resilience, or a lack of, has been linked to increasing attrition rates (Cotton, Nash & Kneale, 2017), negative psychological wellbeing (Sagone & De Caroli, 2014), and poor academic performance (Beavais, Stewart, DeNisco, Beauvais, 2014). As educators, we need to enable students to develop resilience. This session will outline specific actions that lecturers can take to promote student resilience. These recommendations are conceptually grounded in risk and resilience theory and in the recognition that environment as well as individuals hold risk and protective possibilities. It will focus upon autonomy, sense of purpose, social competence, problem-solving and achievement motivation within the higher education context.

Outline

The aim of this session is to outline specific actions that lecturers can take to promote student resilience. It will focus upon autonomy, sense of purpose, social competence, problem-solving and achievement motivation within the higher education context.

Session Intentions are to:

1. Define student resilience and propose the link to student achievement in higher education

2. Raise awareness of how lecturers can create an environment that promotes student resilience

3. Present 10 key actions a lecturer can take to promote student resilience.

This session links with the overall conference theme of “Reaching for Teaching Excellence” in a number of ways. Firstly motivation is critical to academic success, however gains students make can be lost if they are not resilient to setback, pressure and stress. It is therefore essential that students are resilient to academic pressures. Secondly if students are not motivated they are less likely to engage in teaching even if it is excellent. Lastly lecturers have their own needs for relatedness, competence and autonomy. When these are met, it provides opportunities for more constructive engagement with students and the development of teaching excellence. This lightening talk will be presented in a Pecha Kucha style. Pecha Kucha is a concise, visual, exciting way of conveying information. Participants will not only be engaged with the content but also the challenge of presenting in this way.

Key Words

Resilience, Student, Academic Gain, Motivation, Engagement

Key Messages

There are ways of promoting student resilience in the classroom. Promoting resilience will improve student motivation and engagement with teaching.

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