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Team-Teach National Conference Key note speech Dr Tina Rae

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1 Team-Teach National Conference 21.3.13. Key note speech Dr Tina Rae
Building Resilience – The Tigger effect! Teaching happiness and well being using solution focused tools of Positive Psychology Team-Teach National Conference Key note speech Dr Tina Rae

2 We all have things to overcome in life

3 Life throws things at us….quite often!

4 Life throws things at us..
An F for a test Illnesses Accidents Falling out with others Setbacks Challenges

5 Where do you come from and where do you fit? The ‘caravan girl’.

6 Resilience Why is it that…

7 Resilience: some people bounce back

8 while other people crumble?

9 Does resilience reveal why some people thrive while others do not?

10 What IS it? The term resilience comes from the Latin word ‘resilio’ – to jump back…hence the tigger image! Cyrulnik (2009) ‘resilience is about abandoning the imprint of the past’. Resilience is a dynamic process that occurs in a context and is the result of the person in interaction with his or her environment (Rutter 1991)

11 Further…….. Contexts such as home, community, schools and classrooms have been shown to provide protection to children and young people at risk and to direct their development towards positive and healthy pathways (Schoon 2006).

12 Resilience research…tons!!!!!
Studies since 1970’s – considered resilience in terms of individual invulnerability and focused on individual characteristics such as temperament, intelligence, problem solving skills, stress resistance which would ‘harden’ children and enable them to achieve success. These studies suggested that there was something remarkable about children who overcame great adversity.

13 Is this true????? Later studies this notion of ‘invulnerability’ gave way to that of resilience and the earlier focus on individual characteristics changed to the identification of PROTECTIVE factors that reduce the impact of risk factors. Researchers have found that protective factors have a stronger impact on children’s development than risk factors.

14 It looks as if it is becoming harder for young people to bounce back after setbacks

15 The Loss of Sadness For the last 2,500 years human beings could distinguish between normal sadness or suffering and clinical depression. Since the development of the classification system for mental illness the boundary has become blurred The ONLY context the manual takes into account for depression is bereavement For more on this argument buy the book ‘The Loss of Sadness’ by Wakefield & Horowitz

16 What does this mean? This has had an impact on wider society
People can suffer similar symptoms to depression in reaction to many life events (e.g. when they break up with a partner, fail an exam or don’t get into the school pantomime for example) This is normal and not pathological. These symptoms usually don’t last long. There is a tendency to medicalise this misery. Major Clinical Depression usually arises for no reason. And, context usually cannot explain it. We may be creating a problem of resilience by pathologising normal reactions to life experiences

17 10 big reasons to explain the erosion of young people’s resilience
Why is it becoming harder for young people to bounce back after set backs? 10 big reasons to explain the erosion of young people’s resilience

18 Why? 1:Treating young people like infants
Our society thinks that young people: Need constant protection Can’t handle responsibility Aren’t capable thinkers Are moody and selfish Some argue that there is something wrong with their brain But research shows that treating young people like infants makes them behave like infants

19 Why? 2: Spotlight on the individual
Society focuses too much on the individual and how they feel This encourages young people to think that they are the centre of the world This means that young people blow out of proportion any setbacks or challenges in life

20 Why? 3: Black and white thinking
Our culture views people as fixed entities, which are unchangeable People are born good/bad People are born smart/stupid etc This type of thinking exaggerates the significance of failure and difficulties

21 Why? 4: Entitlement I want it all NOW
Our society makes people feel that they are entitled Celebrity culture suggests success should be instant This makes people think that effort and hard work are not important This Increases self-obsession and undermines resilience

22 Why? 5: Wrapping up in cotton wool
Parents now do not want their child to have any negative experiences This means that they try to protect them from life's knocks and blows Doing this undermines their resilience

23 Why? 6: Psychological cleanliness
Young people are being brought up in an environment that is too clean, psychologically Resilience is formed as a result of dealing with setbacks

24 Why? 7: Negative emotions are wrong
People are frightened of negative emotions This encourages people to try to supress their emotions Paradoxically, research shows this causes more of the negative emotions that they didn’t want

25 Why? 8: Ignoring the importance of bad feelings
People think that bad feelings don’t have a purpose. And that bad feelings such as guilt, shame and frustration are only negative. But research shows that bad feelings can galvanise us to do things differently: we need them to succeed.

26 Why? 9: The need to be perfect
Mass media encourages people to believe that they need to be perfect This encourages us to feel inadequate and, again, exaggerates our inevitable problems and difficulties This undermines resilience when the person sees that perfection is not attainable Mass media encourages us to compare ourselves with the rich and famous

27 Why? 10: Too much choice We now have more choice than ever
Paradoxically this make people Not choose Regret their choices Feel depressed Overwhelmed

28 All of these factors undermine young people’s ability to bounce back


30 Young people can be likened to springs or balls

31 They can bounce back People can bounce back psychologically after being knocked out of shape, just like in nature Bouncing back is the ability to cope with adversity or hardship Bouncing back means that people can carry on, and even flourish, after setbacks 31

32 Positive Psychology Positive Psychology is the new science of optimal human functioning: what makes people happier, more productive and more successful. It focuses on what works by studying success and strengths, rather than weakness and failure. Impact on resilience research – risk and challenge are good for us! Focus on inner strengths and environmental support factors, rather than concentrating solely on weakness, protection and vulnerability.

33 What environmental factors helped you to bounce back?
Stop and think! What environmental factors helped you to bounce back? Was there a significant event, person or context?

34 Building resilience involves a two pronged approach
1. Personal coping skills – they CAN be taught! 2. Environmental factors – you can change things!

35 What can be done to help people bounce back?
Here are 11 things we should factor in to our thoughts and behaviour…

36 What? 1: Hold high expectations
Young people are capable We need to challenge them. We should expect that young people will achieve their goals People reach goals at different times. But most will get there

37 What? 2: Focus away from the self
It is important that you don’t make the child the centre of the universe This undermines their well-being as they exaggerate every minor incident Encourage young people to volunteer and help others

38 What? 3: People are not born smart
Encourage young people to see intelligence and ability as something they need to work at People are not born smart ALL of the most successful people in life will have had to overcome failure Use role models to illustrate this

39 What? 4: Failure often leads to success
Encourage young people to view failure in a different way Failure is a learning opportunity Talk about the failures you have overcome. You are a role model.

40 What? 5: Normalise don’t personalise
After a negative experience it is common for young people to think that this type of thing ONLY happens to them Encourage young people view these setbacks as normal – everybody experiences them And help them not to think that this is something which reflects badly on them

41 What? 6: Bad feelings are normal
It is human nature to experience negative emotions Only psychopaths and dead people don’t Bad feelings are normal Learning anything worthwhile requires some frustration

42 What? 7: Bad feelings don’t last
When young people encounter negative experiences they make think that they will ALWAYS feel that way Research shows that bad feelings don’t last Remember to remind young people that these feelings will pass

43 What? 8: Don’t over worry or over protect
Life is full of ups and downs If you protect young people from them they will not cope when they meet setbacks and will not be able to assess risk Allow young people to make mistakes Overprotection only makes young people more vulnerable and anxious

44 What? 9: Perfection doesn’t exist
Everyone has flaws, even the most accomplished people There is no standard for perfection It is much more important that people try to do their best, rather than be the best

45 What? 10: Teach young people skills
Young people have an inbuilt need to learn You can help young people to learn the skills to help them in life Organisation, reading, writing etc etc

46 What? 11: One size does not fit all
Not all children will respond to one way of building resilience. This is why it is important to foster many different ways for children to bounce back

47 What can the school do? School connectedness (academic support for those who are struggling academically) One caring adult outside the family Community connectedness Positive family- school links Peer connectedness

48 What can the teacher do? Going the extra mile for less resilient students Believing that people can change and improve Holding high expectations for all students Give feedback which is constructive to help young people succeed Teach resiliency skills and what I call ‘happy habits!’

49 What can teachers and parents do to foster resilience in young people?
1.Remember, bad feelings: don’t last; have a purpose; and galvanise us to do things differently. 2.Try to normalise young people’s set-backs. Help them to see they are not abnormal in having difficulties in life. 3.Help them to see that problems can be solved. 4.Encourage young people to keep things in perspective – the problem is usually confined to only one part of their lives. 5.Remember the value of humour – laughing can be a great release (but only if it is well-intentioned). 6.Encourage young people to accept responsibility for their actions. 7.When reading stories, or discussing events, point out how people manage to overcome difficulties. 8.Remember that learning is often frustrating. Encourage young people to persist and believe they can get there. 9.Provide support. Help them to see there are people who care about them and can give them help and advice when needed. 10.Create a positive environment, that emphasises the importance of relationships and a sense of purpose: there is more to life than the way they feel.

50 The Magic Box (Aumann & Hart 2009)

51 Teaching Resilience The programme aims to enable students to:
Visualise success Increase mastery and therefore self-esteem Enhance self-efficacy and the ability to take control Become more optimistic Manage stress effectively Improve decision making Be able to ask for help Deal with conflict successfully Increase mastery and learning Be themselves

52 Some sample activities from the programme:
The six building blocks of resilience Resilience checklist Character strengths Strength talk My top character strengths Using strengths to bounce back

53 Final question to you? Does your approach, context and curriculum build this resiliency in your students? What needs to happen next? Can you develop your curriculum and approaches in order to develop resilience in ALL your students?

54 Keep bouncing back!

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