Helping Students Build Resiliency

Helping Students Build Resiliency

Academic resilience embodies the journey of students who persist and thrive academically despite the odds being stacked against them, according to Teacher magazine. About one in 9 socioeconomically disadvantaged students demonstrate this kind of academic resilience worldwide, according to research.

What sets resilient students apart? And how can teachers best support them in the classroom?

A recent study delves into the crucial role teachers play in fostering academic resilience, particularly in mathematics and science classrooms. The findings revealed some intriguing patterns. While the proportion of resilient students differs across education systems and subjects, the data illuminates a universal trend: the critical role of teachers and the quality of their teaching practice. Research pinpoints 3 key teaching practices:

1) Classroom management: Creating order and stability

Higher numbers of resilient students were found in classrooms where disorderly behaviors were infrequent; classrooms with regular disruptions had notably fewer resilient students.

A predictable and orderly classroom environment is pivotal in providing students with the stability and focus needed for learning.

At the beginning of the school year, set clear rules which should be periodically revisited. Visual aids can be employed for younger students, while contracts serve as reminders for older students regarding classroom expectations. These tools reinforce discipline and make students accountable for their actions.

Teachers can proactively address potential disruptive by actively moving around the classroom, using non-verbal cues, and redirecting off-task behavior. If a student frequently interrupts a mathematics lesson, their enthusiasm can be redirected towards sharing their solution to a problem at the right moment.

2) Supportive climate: Building trust and encouraging participation

A supportive classroom climate – essential to build resilience — has students feeling valued, encourages participation, and cultivates their willingness to take academic risks. One study showed the proportion of resilient students was higher in mathematics and science classrooms taught by teachers who offer strong support.

How to cultivate a supportive climate? Provide regular constructive feedback that goes beyond simple correction. When a student provides an incorrect answer to a math problem, instead of simply indicating it as wrong, respond with encouragement. You might say, “That’s a great effort. You’ve got the first part right. Now, let’s look at this step again and see if we can find the solution together.” Now mistakes are viewed as opportunities to learn, not something to fear.

Another supportive approach demonstrates empathy by personalizing your interactions with students. Take the time to understand their strengths, interests, and challenges so you can tailor support and encouragement.

3) Clarity of instruction: Navigating academic complexities

By providing clear instructions, using relatable examples, and linking academic concepts to everyday life, teachers help students navigate abstract and complex topics. When teaching new concepts, use analogies, real-life examples, and visual representations to enhance understanding. A visual representation can enhance instructional clarity to facilitate understanding and promote academic resilience among students.


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