Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Returning to school and resilience (2015 Term 3 Week 1)

I suspect that the countdown to the return to school has a different tone in different households. For some it is a matter of great excitement and anticipation; for others, it is less so. 

A friend commented recently that her daughter's response to returning to (another) school after the holidays was 'I can't even remember who I do and don't get on with anymore'! Other students may not relish the demands and challenges of learning, compared with a few weeks of unstructured leisure and relaxation. Our Year 12 students are conscious that they are entering into their final term of secondary school, which engenders mixed emotions in and of itself.

Overall, it appears that most of our students enjoy being at school. In the recent parent satisfaction survey that we conducted, 87% of participating families agreed with the statement "My child likes going to school" and 85% agreed with the statement "My child speaks favourably of his/her experiences at school". These responses align with the various student surveys that we have conducted in recent years. 

I am also pleased that our staff enjoy being here too! In our 2014 annual staff engagement survey, 94% of staff agreed with the statement "I am proud to tell people that I work for Inaburra" and 96% agreed with the statement "I like the kind of work that I do". For all that we all love and look forward to the non-term time breaks when they come, the Inaburra staff are also glad to see the students return.

Notwithstanding the generally positive outlook that most of us have towards the term ahead, the reality is that the term will be mixed. There will be good days and bad days, positive relationships and negative ones, triumphs and disasters. Life in this broken world has this mixed character, which is one of the reasons why resilience is such a vital capability.

Resilience is the capacity to cope with adversity, frustration and disappointment. It is the ability to encounter difficulty and to keep going. 

At Inaburra we are explicit in aiming to shape young people who are resilient and responsible risk-takers. Risk takers are mentally and emotionally prepared to take a chance which may result in failure. Responsibility helps them to work out which chances are worth taking. Resilience helps them to cope when they fail. Since failure is an essential element in the learning process, our children must be prepared to face it and overcome it.

Resilience is learned through multiple factors. One of the crucial ones is the way that we model and demonstrate the framing of failure and disappointment. The chart below outlines some of the ways that our speaking with our children can help them to develop their resilience. I commend the linked website to you.
As we make our way through this term, with its inevitable ebbs and flows, can I encourage you to have in mind the goal of developing resilience in your children? The world of the 21st century world is one of increasing volatility, unpredictability, complexity and ambiguity; resilience will be invaluable for them.

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