Resilience and what it means.



  1. The capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness
    1. ‘ the remarkable resilience of so many British institutions’
  2. The ability of a substance or object to spring back into shape; elasticity
    1. ‘nylon is excellent in wearability, abrasion resistance and resilience’


  • flexibility, pliability, suppleness, plasticity, elasticity, springiness, spring, give
  • strength of character, strength, toughness, hardiness

It always amazes me how in the English language a word can have several meanings yet they are all so applicable to either describing the human condition or that of an inanimate object such as a material.

I also like how the synonyms can be so easily used in equal measure.

In education currently this word Resilience is a buzz word.

We are being asked in interviews

 “How would you measure resilience in pupils?”

“How can you show resilience in your lessons?”

“How can we teach our students to be more resilient?”

 “What does resilience mean to you as a) individual and b) a classroom practitioner?

The questions are valid and probing, that can elicit all manner of insightful answers which the selection panel can mull over to decide whether you will fill the criteria they are looking for, to ensure that you will be the right fit for their school.

But my question is can you really measure, show, teach, resilience in a lesson?

Isn’t resilience something that is built up over a period of time? It develops from lifes experiences, trying new things out, the struggle, setbacks, heartache, loss, failure.

Isn’t resilience then created from learning that you start again, try something new, push on through, and come at it from a different angle?

Resilience, sometimes is created from living with the struggle for a while, feeling the pain of failure, disappointment, sadness, then realising that you made a mistake, the feeling that you want to make a change but maybe not knowing how to start. Sometimes doing the same thing several times and having the same outcome before making a small change to discover a new outcome.

So surely in one lesson it’s not possible to show, measure resilience; but over time, maybe we can offer our students a safe space to do that.

However in our current climate of targets, accountability, progress 8, cutbacks, increased workload, paperwork, we are being robbed of the time and space to allow our students that time to struggle, fail, and develop their strength of character that will see them become RESILIENT adults.

So my question to you is….

How are you making your classroom a place where you model resilience, offer your students the opportunity to build their strength of character, become flexible, and allow them to try out their toughness?

Because as we know the path to success whatever that looks like is not easy, it throws curve balls at us and RESILIENCE will be a key skill that will set them apart on their journey to a fulfilled and successful life.



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