This session will summarise my recent research quest for the holy grail of resilience, and conclude that there isn’t one! We cannot make students resilient, just as we cannot guarantee them top grades. One of the most important messages from my research is to beware falling into the trap of seeing resilience as a character trait which can be measured. The best that we can do in schools is to provide students with the coping strategies to deal with life’s constant failures and setbacks. Exposing them to as many different situations, problems and experiences as we can will help, particularly since so many of the students we teach in deprived areas do not get these opportunities outside school. However, the most practical way to help students is by focusing on improving teaching and learning in the classroom. The latest evidence is showing that using time and resources to improve student academic achievement could be a better agent of psychological change than psychological interventions themselves. Hendrick and Macpherson (2017) cite evidence that the actual effect of achievement on self-perception is stronger than the other way round. Consequently, my story of resilience will end with a brief synopsis of the best teaching strategies – most beautifully encapsulated in Rosenshine’s ‘Principles of Instruction’ (2012).
As a teacher of 21 years, 15 of them as a middle leader, I have a wealth of experience, subjects and institutions from which to draw. I caught the research bug several years ago after reading ‘Bounce’ by Matthew Syed, and translating his story of the power of practice into the classroom. Since then, I have gobbled up many many educational books, articles and more. I disseminate best evidence-based practice in literacy, meta-cognition, memory and resilience through leading CPD programmes, delivering presentations and writing blogs and literature reviews. My strength is in adapting the large wealth of academic research so that it is easily accessible and quick to utilise for time-pressed teachers.