Academic Resiliency

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My vision for the community I live and work in is based on the Resiliency Theory-- the belief in the ability of every person to overcome adversity if important protective factors are present in that person’s life. The Resiliency Theory is founded on the proposition that if members of one’s family, community and / or school care deeply about you, have high expectations and purposeful support for you, and value your participation you will maintain a faith in the future and can overcome almost any adversity. When a community works together to foster resiliency a large number of our youth can overcome great adversity and achieve bright futures. Focusing this writing on schools in not meant to reduce the important role of family and community, but to open up the eyes of all who read this. My PASS reflects my passion for leadership and learning. I have selected a PASS which deals with the ability to “bounce back”, better defined as resiliency. An effective leader has values and insights into making things better. I firmly believe that becoming aware of one’s value system in regard to resiliency and health promoting behaviors may provide valuable insight into one’s actions. Indeed, the values that educators, parents, and community members hold are central to whether or not attention is directed toward promoting resiliency which is certain to produce leaders of the future. I have discovered that resilience research is clearer regarding the individual characteristics of children that are generally associated with academic success, but little is known about how these characteristics may generalize across students of different ages, races, or ethnic groups, thus is the purpose of my PASS and all of the related research. Therefore, despite the promise of the academic resilience concept, I am realizing that more up to date research needs to be done. For far too long, the emphasis for academic success has been place on standardized test scores, and not on the individuals taking the tests. My research suggests that if more attention was being paid to the lives and background of the students taking the tests, then perhaps there would be more success in all around achievement. The Resiliency Theory is based on defining the protective factors within the family, school, and community that exist for the successful child/adolescent – the resilient child/adolescent – that are missing from the family, school, and community of the child / adolescent who later receives intervention (Bernard, 1991; Speck & Krovetz, 1995). Werner and Smith write that the resilient child is one “who loves well, works well, plays well, and expects well (Werner and Smith, 1992).”

In the past we have searched for meaningful educational efforts to formally influence the physical, emotional and social health of individuals. As an educator, I have tried to facilitate the development of social competencies and enhance effective decision making related to individual, family and community healthy. As I go through the literature, I am made more aware of the situation that my school is presently in. We have moved to what we call “small learning communities (SLC’s) and this move was designed to increase academic performance and relativity of education to future practices. I teach in the Freshman Academy, where resiliency or lack there of is a huge factor. As ninth graders, my students lack the desire to achieve. Scholarship is not on the minds of the students that I teach. The ability of a student to “spring back, rebound,” successfully adapt in the face of adversity, and develop social competence despite exposure to severe stress, is the ultimate design of the SLC that I teach in. In my particular class, I teach and require accountability and I like for my students to realize that the benefit of working hard in the classroom is far greater than anything else offered. The future is limitless and having resiliency will help to ensure a successful...
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