Powering Through with Perseverance
Jann Robinson, 11 March 2019
In Assemblies recently, I have been speaking about the feelings we have when we are stretched, either in learning or in life in general. I am trying to help the students understand that uncomfortable feelings are a part of life. Good and bad feelings are just part of being a person. How the students manage their responses to their circumstances, though will shape who they are becoming and who they will be as adults. I have shared with the students that all of us have to learn how to manage our emotions.
As we have a focus on Resilience this term, it is appropriate to acknowledge the feelings that accompany the challenges in learning. When learning is hard, or when we get it wrong or we just can’t grasp the concepts, our emotions come into play. It can lead to the temptation to give up in order to escape the uncomfortable feelings that naturally result from the situation. However, if students are allowed to develop the strategy of avoidance in learning, they will probably use the same strategy of avoidance in other areas of their lives. Students need to be helped to persevere.
The disposition, perseverance, is critical for both learning and life. By learning to persevere through the uncomfortable learning experiences, students strengthen their capacity to stick at hard things. They will emerge from the struggles stronger and better equipped to face future challenges.
In the classroom, we work with students to help them to grow their perseverance by identifying different ways of doing tasks to keep them going when they are stuck. Gentle reminders to think of another strategy to try when they are getting frustrated, help to keep them going. Equally, having shared strategies on display in the classroom assists students to see there are other ways to approach challenges. As parents you can assist in the development of resilience, by asking students to draw on previous experiences of wanting to give up but hadn’t. Asking questions about how they felt when it was hard, and then how they think they might feel when they finish, helps to bring to the surface the feelings that shape our ability to persevere.
It is an important challenge for us to make sure that the young people we are raising are resilient and ready for their lives as independent people able to manage in a complex and changing world.