Everyday resilience a key to student engagement

A new guide for NSW public school teachers, developed using UNSW research, will help them foster everyday resilience in students, .

A male and female student using a telescope A male and female student using a telescope
Image: Aiming for the stars: High expectations of students helps build resilience.

New research by the Centre for Education Statistics and Evaluation and the University of New South Wales has revealed that everyday resilience and a sense of belonging to school are traits that reinforce each other over time, and that it thrives in schools which encourage belonging and have effective classroom management.

As a result, a new What Works Best practical guide has been created to help our teachers understand the study’s findings and how to foster everyday resilience in the classroom.

With school- and study- related problems and coping with stress consistently in the top three issues of concern among young people in NSW, everyday resilience is crucial and can be supported at school.

Resilient students are better protected against school stress and anxiety, and feel a stronger sense of belonging to their school. They are better equipped to handle everyday challenges and respond more proactively to setbacks and challenges that are typical of day-to-day school life, such as receiving poor grades or negative feedback.

Written for teachers, the guide shows how everyday resilience is directly related to four effective school-based practices:

  • high expectations which can boost students’ confidence
  • effective feedback which increases students’ sense of control and self-efficacy
  • classroom management that helps students feel engaged and supported
  • a focus on wellbeing promoting a sense of safety and belonging.

Importantly these strategies can be implemented broadly across a range of school types.

The research revealed that everyday resilience can lift and sustain student engagement. It can also help students apply self-management and responsible decision-making skills to other challenging aspects of life.

You can find the What Works Best guide to everyday resilience and links to the Journal of Educational Psychology article here.

About the everyday resilience study

The Centre for Education Statistics and Evaluation worked with UNSW’s Professor Andrew Martin, a world-leading researcher in educational psychology and an expert in complex data analysis. The collaboration with Prof Martin and his team (including lead article author, Dr Keiko Bostwick) facilitated the complex analysis required for the research, leading to these important findings.

The results of this research are drawn from a literature review and longitudinal modelling from the Tell Them From Me (TTFM) public school student survey. TTFM reports on student, parent and teacher perspectives of school life, and provides data on students’ wellbeing and engagement, as well as the teaching practices they encounter in the classroom.

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