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As we commenced Term 3, our Teaching and Professional Staff all had the privilege of spending our professional learning time on Monday with David Bott, one of the world’s most experienced wellbeing educators. 

He led us through an exploration of cutting-edge wellbeing science and its application in all kinds of classrooms and we were exposed to a range of evidence-informed wellbeing strategies to enhance teacher wellbeing and effectiveness.

David pointed out that education is fundamentally about change; planning change, causing change, and sustaining change. Resilience can be thought about as the human interface with change as it contributes to our capacity to learn from past change, adapt to present change, and embrace future change. He was referring to all change, be it adverse, welcome, expected or unexpected. 

As educators and parents we have long been aware of the need to cultivate resilience in our students because we know that life is going to throw our young people curve-balls and no matter how hard we try, we cannot always protect them from facing adversity. I have heard resilience described before as a type of ‘psychological fitness’, but I found the way David described it as a ‘growth-oriented, hope-based relationship with change’ as being an even better definition. 

This definition encompasses the idea that resilience can help us do more than ‘bounce back’ from adversity or failure. It can actually help us to ‘bounce forward', a concept not talked about so often. 

Stephen Joseph is a Professor and Co-Director at the University of Nottingham (U.K.) Center for Trauma, Resilience, and Growth. He writes, “When adversity strikes, people often feel that at least some part of them—their views of the world, their sense of themselves, their relationships—has been smashed.”  This is where choice comes in. “Those who try to put their lives back together exactly as they were remain fractured and vulnerable,” Joseph writes. “But those who accept the breakage and build themselves anew become more resilient and open to new ways of living.”

Ms Narelle Umbers