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Building resilient learners

Building resilient learners

Finding learning difficult is part and parcel of learning. Indeed when learning is not challenging, it becomes a case of practising or consolidating what one can already do, as opposed to breaking new ground.

As learners, we all come across difficulties that cause us to think hard – the question is whether we are excited by the prospect of rising to the challenge, or whether we find the potential challenge daunting.

Most students, quite understandably, make great efforts to avoid making mistakes in the face of the pressure to ‘be right’. But never having a go at difficult things, or succeeding at the easy option, or avoiding the possibility of making a mistake doesn’t align well for real, deep and transferable learning. Helping learners to make the most of any challenge, to make mistakes and to put in the effort, involves thinking of mistakes in a new and positive way.

We want to grow learning power in our students to enable them to rise to the challenge and think of :

  • Learning as an interesting place to be;
  • Mistakes as a valuable opportunity for growth through reflection; and
  • The value of making a purposeful effort for continual improvement.
It’s about making challenge an adventure rather than a dispiriting chore.

Being able to enjoy and rise to a challenge isn’t something that switches on one day and stays forever. It grows and builds with practise, guidance and the right attitude. We want to equip our students to become both willing and able to deal with uncertainty and difficulty, with and without support.

Being able to enjoy and rise to a challenge isn’t something that switches on one day and stays forever. It grows and builds with practise, guidance and the right attitude. We want to equip our students to become both willing and able to deal with uncertainty and difficulty, with and without support.

We want them to:

  • Move from "I can’t. I won’t." to "Show me. Tell me." 
  • Then move onto "I’ll try" or "I'lI see why." 
  • Then move onto "I’ll make sure I do."
  • And eventually, "I can’t not do this"

Change your choice of words when talking about challenge with your children:

  • From ‘Challenge’ to ‘Interesting challenge’.
  • From ‘It’s hard’ to ‘It’s tricky’.
  • ‘Tricky learning builds my brain.’
  • From ‘I can’t do it’ to ‘I can’t do it yet’.
  • ‘I don’t know how to’ becomes ‘I’m learning how to”

Did you know?

  • Walt Disney was fired from the Kansas City Star because his editor felt he lacked imagination and had no good ideas?
  • Oprah Winfrey was abruptly removed from one of her first jobs in television after the producer declared she was "unfit for television".
  • J.K Rowling was rejected by twelve major publishers with her original Harry Potter manuscript.
  • Colonel Sanders' chicken recipe was rejected by 1,009 people before he found success with a restaurant outside of Utah.

With effort, we can train our brains to get stronger and smarter by exploring new information and trying to learn something new. Don’t give up - when something is hard, that is when you need to put in more effort.

“I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” Michael Jordan

Let’s work together to change our words and our thinking and encourage our children to rise to the challenge, see the value of working hard and making an effort to use mistakes as an opportunity to seek advice and assistance for continuous growth and improvement.

Photo by Chuttersnap on Unsplash

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