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Posts Tagged ‘resilience

What would you say if a vendor claimed to be able to make your 6-year-old child resilient in just two days?

This claim, along with other traits and skills, was listed on an advertising board I drove by recently. It was from an enrichment centre proclaiming the benefits of sending kids to their two-day camp.

The year-end school vacation is upon us and parents might be desperate to keep their kids occupied with this vain hope. Vendors know that parents here will throw money at quick-rich schemes.

The vendors get rich quickly while we are collectively poorer for allowing such schemes to continue or thinking that they work.

The video embedded in the tweet below went viral recently.

Video source

Educators would readily repeat the message of grit or persistence or resilience.

I was about to add to the chant by pointing out that the life lesson was not foreseen, planned, or scaffolded. This does not help teachers who operate by standards, curriculum, or otherwise being told what to do.

As I hesitated on clicking the publish button in WordPress, this Atlantic news article provided insights on why the mother bear and her cub made such a desperate dash. They were startled by an aerial drone that sought to capture footage.

The lesson about struggling and failing to learn about grit and persistence is important, but it is the obvious and low-hanging fruit. The bears would have been put in that danger had the documentarians operated more ethically. Therein lies an equally important but less obvious lesson.

This TED talk goes beyond this juicy question.

The speaker, Carol Dweck, described a school where students were not given a fail grade if they did not not exhibit mastery. Instead, they were graded “not yet”.

This could lead to a deprogramming of wanting results, products, or grades now, and lead to a focus on resilience, effort, and self-motivation.

Dweck recommended a few strategies for promoting “yet” and dissuading “now”:

  • Praise processes, not products or innate traits
  • Reward effort, strategy, and progress
  • Show paths for learner progress
  • Talk to learners about growth mindsets

Video source

This video of orchestral members consuming chilli peppers mid-way through a performance will probably elicit a range of responses.

Amusement. Agony. Admiration. An assortment.

The video reminded me of the #asiaED slow chat this week about building resilience. The effort of every member of the orchestra personified this trait: Going on in the face of personal troubles for a shared process and product.

Can such a trait be taught? For sure and about as much as creativity, leadership, courage, honesty, and a host of other desirable but rarely evaluated outcomes of schooling.

If these outcomes not measured traditionally, why even try to teach them traditionally?

Basic instructional design informs us that there must be alignment between objectives and assessment. The instruction that typically happens in between must also be aligned to the other two components.

That said, a traditional lesson with content delivery, examples, practice, and assessment does not necessarily work for the behaviours, skills, and values that manifest in something like resilience.

Teachers and mentors must model such behaviours, skills, and values instead. Learners and apprentices learn by observing, following, and practising in context. These desirable outcomes are not taught, they are caught.


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