Incredible Resiliency

Posted by Stephanie Lawless on 4/16/2021 7:00:00 AM

As this school year wraps up we should take a moment to celebrate the incredible resiliency that has been demonstrated by everyone in education.  While the expectations continued to change and anxieties creeped in at unexpected times, classes continued.  In January Dr. Balsley wrote an article on resiliency.  It was geared towards teaching resilience in children but all the same principles apply for adults as well.  

In 2013 the US Department of Education came out with a document, Promoting Grit, Tenacity, and Perseverance: Critical Factors for Success in the 21st Century. The committee starts the document with this statement: 

“How can we best prepare children and adolescents to thrive in the 21st century—an era of achievement gaps that must be closed for the benefit of everyone in society, rapidly evolving technology, demanding and collaborative STEM knowledge work, changing workforce needs, and economic volatility? The test score accountability movement and conventional educational approaches tend to focus on intellectual aspects of success, such as content knowledge. However, this is not sufficient. If students are to achieve their full potential, they must have opportunities to engage and develop a much richer set of skills. There is a growing movement to explore the potential of the “noncognitive” factors—attributes, dispositions, social skills, attitudes, and intrapersonal resources, independent of intellectual ability—that high-achieving individuals draw upon to accomplish success.

In this brief, we take a close look at a core set of noncognitive factors—grit, tenacity, and perseverance. These factors are essential to an individual’s capacity to strive for and succeed at long-term and higher-order goals, and to persist in the face of the array of challenges and obstacles encountered throughout schooling and life. Importantly, we are deliberate not to treat these factors as residing only within the student—it is the responsibility of the educational community to design learning environments that promote these factors so that students are prepared to meet 21st-century challenges.” ( Promoting Grit, Tenacity, and Perseverance: Critical Factors for Success in the 21st Century., PG v)

This came out eight years ago. From my perspective I feel like schools have done an amazing job teaching students resilience. If I had to pinpoint one lesson learned from the 20/21 school year it is this, Resilience is not a buzzword. It is a necessary survival skill that can be taught and fostered.  Or, to quote the great Bob Maley, You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have.”


Stephanie Lawless, Assistant Director