Thought Pieces

1st November 2018

Adults Matter

Here at Bounce Forward we have some core principles, one of which is ‘The Adults Matters’.

Whenever I’m talking to the adults that care for young people, whether they be teachers, parents, school leaders or anyone else, I always say this and everyone nods in agreement – it makes sense. But l do find myself a bit torn. Do the adults only matter because if they are resilient, then they are better equipped to support the resilience of young people? That doesn’t feel quite right. Surely they matter, just because they matter!

My own view is that if we just focused on the adults we work with, and supported their resilience, this would be worthwhile in itself. But what I love about the work we do at Bounce Forward is that both are true – it matters in terms of outcomes for young people and it matters for the adults themselves. The argument for why investing in an adults resilience supports young people is reasonably well understood.

If an adult is ‘consciously competent’ in their own resilience their ability to both model and teach the skills is greatly enhanced.

We also know that for those teaching a curriculum to support resilience, training makes a real difference. A meta-analysis of the PRP suggests outcomes for young people are stronger if the teacher experiences more training and deliver the intervention with skill – a finding that has been replicated in all areas of Social and Emotional Learning [1] [2]. The final reason, which may be slightly unpalatable for us adults, is that when we are less resilient we create many of the challenges that undermine our young people’s resilience!

Finally for teachers there is evidence that their resilience and self-efficacy effects student attainment [3, 4], well-being [5] and reduces job stress and burnout [6]. I was once talking to some young people at the end of their primary schooling about teachers well-being (don’t ask why – it’s a long story) and I asked them if they had ever had an unhappy teacher – those that had were very keen to tell me about it!

I think sometimes we like to think that our emotions are kept under wraps, and the young people around us won’t notice. They do. So our resilience as adults definitely matters to young people. But it can’t just be a means to an end. All the arguments that apply to investing in young people’s resilience also apply to investing in our own. We also deserve the opportunity to learn some skills that will help us cope with challenges and make the most of opportunities – and there’s no doubt that life is full of both.

Being a teacher is tough, really tough, and holding on to good teachers is ever more important.

And being a parent is never easy – just when you think you might just about be  doing something remotely right – it all changes and challenges you all over again. But if we ever doubt that our resilience matters then think about someone in your early life who made a significant difference to you – who helped you on your way, gave you direction or purpose.

I’ve done this exercise with many people over the years, particularly senior leaders in many organisations, and they mention two types of people – parents and teachers.

Find out more about our Master Teaching Resilience Course
  • About The Author

    About Emma Judge – Co founder 

    Emma Judge is Co-founder of Bounce Forward and a Psychologist with a Masters in Applied Positive Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania. She is a Lead Trainer for the University of Pennsylvania on the Penn Resilience Programme and works across the public, educational and private sectors. Emma was involved in the UK implementation of the PRP and had a strategic role in the EEF Healthy Minds project. Emma speaks and teaches about positive psychology, well-being and emotional resilience, and is working towards a PhD in Organisational Health and Well-Being at Lancaster University.

  • References

    References and notes used

    1. Brunwasser, S.M., J.E. Gillham, and K. E.S., A Meta-Analytic Review of the Penn Resiliency Programm’s Effect on Depressive Symptoms. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 2009. 77(6): p. 1042-1054.
    2. Durlak, J.A., et al., The impact of enhancing students’ social and emotional learning: A meta -analysis of school’s based universal interventions. Child development, 2011. 82(1): p. 405-432.
    3. Goddard, R.D., W.K. Hoy, and A. Woolfolk Hoy, Collective teacher efficacy: Its meaning, measure and impact on student achievement. American Educational Research Journal, 2000 37: p. 479-507.
    4. Briner, R. and C. Dewberry, Staff wellbeing is key to school success. 2007, Worklife Support: London.
    5. Weare, K. and G. Gray, What works in developing children’s emotional and social competence and wellbeing? 2003, DfES: Nottingham.
    6. Schwarzer, R. and S. Hallum, Perceived teacher self-efficacy as a predictor of job stress and burnout: Mediation Analsys. Applied Psychology, 2008. 57: p. 152 – 171.

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