Resiliency Key to Students’ Success in Common Core

Published by Education Daily

Resiliency key to students’ success in Common Core

Students’ success with the Common Core State Standards may be dependent on their resiliency and social-emotional learning skills.

Research has pointed to several resiliency skills common among students who overcome odds like poverty and achieve academic success. These skills include goal setting and understanding the importance of school, academic confidence, strong connections with others, stress management, a balanced sense of well-being, and intrinsic motivation.

“Kids who are strong in these areas tend to do better in school, and kids who are weak in these areas tend not to do as well in school,” said Melissa Schlinger, vice president of national accounts at ScholarCentric, during a recent webinar.

In many classrooms, resiliency and perseverance are often discussed early in the school year, but the emphasis goes away over the course of the year, said Jan Vesely, assistant superintendent of Sunnyside Unified School District in Tucson, Ariz., during the webinar. Educators need to emphasize resiliency in classrooms and realize the process creates students who are capable of responding to challenges and setbacks.

“I’ve come to know and understand when students have resilience, they are open to learning because they believe they can learn, they are receptive to assistance because it’s not a criticism of their abilities, and they are comfortable not understanding concepts immediately because they see learning as a pursuit of knowledge and know the motivation and effort are just as important as knowing how to do something,” Vesely said.

As teachers strategize about moving students to college- and career-readiness, they should understand they must teach students to regulate their emotions, set goals, problem solve, disagree respectfully, collaborate, persevere, and solve complex problems. Vesely offered some recommendations to build resiliency skills in students to prepare them for success with the Common Core.

· Goal setting. Encourage students to envision where they want to be when they are 25, and then ask them to look back from there and identify the steps to get there. Teachers can then check in with kids on where they are with their goals, identify their short term goals, and help them see how that fits in with school.

· Critical thinking. Challenge students to think about concepts on a deeper level. It is important for kids to also experience productive struggle, she said. Consider intentionally hitting on items that are over and above their grade level to help show how close they are to the next level.

· Complex text. Students may feel frustrated with the vocabulary in the complex text called for by the Common Core. Have them work in groups to problem solve. Vesely suggested incorporating texts that have to do with someone overcoming an obstacle or persevering.

· Academic discourse. Common Core will require students to respond in complete sentences. Classroom discussions must include academic discourse that allows students to respond politely and articulate their ideas thoroughly.

· Rigorous conversations. Vesely said one of the ultimate goals is for students to ask questions of one another and engage in rigorous conversations. These skills will help them with the Common Core and success in life after high school.

Vesely noted that some states promote or encourage social and emotional skills, but even if you are in a state that does not, districts can teach these skills on their own. She said her district audits and analyzes social-emotional and resiliency skills on a district, school, and classroom level. This allows educators to see how well students are developing those skills and if teachers need work in helping to promote those skills in their classrooms.

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Expert offers tips to build student resiliency

During a recent webinar on student resiliency in the Common Core State Standards, Jan Vesely, assistant superintendent of Sunnyside Unified School District in Tucson, Ariz., offered tips for educators to build student resiliency skills.

· Talk about resiliency. Collect student resiliency data and monitor it. Discuss and select schoolwide strategies to build resiliency.

· Share examples. Storytelling is an important tool for educators. Use real-life examples to draw out complex texts and consider using personal stories to connect with students.

· Develop growth mindset. Encourage students to see difficulties are not a personal failing and intelligence grows with effort. Bumps in the road should be viewed as important parts of success.

· Reframe problems. It’s not always a bad thing for students to experience problems or setbacks. They need to learn to process information and problem solve on their own to develop social-emotional skills.

· Build confidence. Focus on students’ behaviors. Sometimes when students fail they gain motivation.

· Foster safe circumstances that encourage grit. Create classrooms where kids can take risks. If learning comes easy to some students, push them to experience some kind of failure so they can learn that skill of overcoming adversity.

Adam Dolge covers school improvement and other Title I issues for LRP Publications.

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