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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Resilience and Grit: Resource Roundup

Explore a curated collection of videos, interviews, and articles from around the web for adults looking to build resilience and grit in young people.
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There’s been a lot of talk lately about resilience (bouncing back from adversity) and grit (persevering through challenges), including the skills associated with these processes and their importance for student well-being and academic success. Edutopia has created this curated list of resources to help educators and parents follow the discussion and create home and school environments that provide supports and opportunities to help students thrive.

Nurturing Resilience

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Fostering Grit

  • Q&A with Daniel Goleman: How the Research Supports Social-Emotional Learning (Edutopia, 2014)

    In this Q&A, Daniel Goleman discusses grit – including some of its criticisms -- and what the research says about how social and emotional learning impacts academic achievement.

  • What’s Wrong With Grit? (The Berkeley Blog, 2014)

    Vicki Zakrzewski reviews some factors educators ought to consider in relation to the research on grit and grit’s place in the larger puzzle of human development.

  • Teaching Grit Cultivates Resilience and Perseverance (Edutopia, 2014)

    In rural New Hampshire, fifth-grade teacher Amy Lyon has created a curriculum based on researcher Angela Duckworth’s ideas about grit. Students set and work toward their own long-term goals, learning valuable lessons about dealing with frustration and distractions along the way.

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Teaching Growth Mindset

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Managing Stress

  • Can Stress Help Students? (Edutopia, 2015)

    Stress might not always be the enemy. Research shows that positive stress can strengthen the immune system, enhance memory and learning, and improve decision-making skills.

  • Stress-Reduction Activities for Students (Edutopia, 2014)

    This handbook from Glenview Elementary presents practical and fun classroom activities that promote stress-management skills for students.

  • Strategies to Prevent the Neurotoxic Impact of School Stress (Edutopia, 2013)

    Neurologist, teacher, and author Judy Willis presents evidence that boredom can actually be bad for our students' brain development and discusses strategies for boosting relevance and helping students build executive functions.

  • Helping Students Manage Stress, Set Goals, and Feel Connected (Edutopia, 2012)

    Inspired by Paul Tough's new book, blogger Elena Aguilar offers ways to help students set goals, handle stress, and connect with school community. For more about the San Francisco school she mentions and their schoolwide stress-reduction efforts, check out Edutopia's Schools that Work coverage (2012): Tackling Truancy, Suspensions, and Stress.

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Learning From Failure

  • Five-Minute Film Festival: Freedom to Fail Forward (Edutopia, 2015)

    Knowing how to learn from failure can be a key to success. In this playlist, VideoAmy curates the best videos and resources for encouraging students to be resilient and embrace mistakes.

  • It’s a Mistake Not to Use Mistakes as Part of the Learning Process (Edutopia, 2014)

    Consider these nine ways to teach with mistakes, including removing the stigma from error, explaining wrong answers, and helping students see mistakes as growth experiences.

  • Teaching Students to Embrace Mistakes (Edutopia, 2014)

    Hunter Maats and Katie O'Brien, teachers and authors, discuss the value of making mistakes and helping students adopt the mindset to view their mistakes as healthy challenges rather than crushing defeats.

  • How to Help Kids Overcome Fear of Failure (Greater Good, 2013)

    Vicki Zakrzewski, education director of the Greater Good Science Center, discusses Martin Covington’s research on failure and three strategies educators can use to help students overcome their fear of failure to become success- rather than failure-oriented.

  • Making Friends With Failure (Edutopia, 2013)

    Ainissa Ramirez suggests that we make friends with failure in the academic world -- because for scientists, failure is just another word for data.

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Responding to Trauma and Tragedy

  • "It's Not What's Wrong With the Children, It's What's Happened to Them" (Edutopia, 2015)

    Instead of punitive discipline that limits students' potential, we must adopt a more holistic approach and address the life circumstances that are causing their behavior.

  • Helping Kids Recover From Trauma (Edutopia, 2009)

    Andrea Orr describes how schools can foster resilience by focusing on internal and external supports, helping students build confidence, and encouraging the development of a strong sense of personal identity.

  • Tips for Resilience in the Face of Horror (Greater Good, 2013)

    Jason March, founding editor-in-chief of Greater Good, describes how educators and parents can help protect children and themselves from the effects of vicarious trauma. The linked article, "Resources for Helping Children Cope with Trauma," is also worth reading.

  • Talking to Your Children About Tragedy (Bright Horizons, 2013)

    In this video, Brendamarie Contreras, director at Bright Horizons, discusses relevant principles parents can consider in relation to young children and personal or family reactions to traumatic events. Though the introduction to the video is focused on Boston, the principles discussed can be applied to a wide variety of situations.

  • Responding to Tragedy: Resources for Educators (Edutopia, 2013)

    Matt Davis has compiled some useful resources with guidance for adults looking to help children through trauma, grief, and natural disasters.

  • Supporting Grieving Students (Edutopia, 2015)

    It's important for educators to reach out to grieving students. Discover guidance and resources to support this difficult task. You may also want to read this earlier post by Chris Park, "5 Tips for Supporting Grieving Students."

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Do you know of other useful resources, or are there other types of resources you'd like to see included on this page? Please share your feedback in the comments.

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