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January 05, 2015


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I agree that it is much more important that we are failing with reflection - to identify the nuance and the trail that reveals why. What have a I changed this time? What have I done differently? What is still causing the failure? Blind resilience Vs cunning resilience is a good challenge for our learners and a nice way to put it. Perhaps there are depths of resilience beyond simple repetition, beyond just chipping away. A resilience in learners attempt to reveal and reflect on what is important next time to try.


A great article. Always love to be challenged in my thinking. Don't forget the place of grit within this mindset. Failing without reflection would be a waste and actually really sad. Those supporting learners need to develop resilience too - resilient to let the learning happen and not manufacture success.

Linda McIver

I agree that you have conflated resilience and persistence, and I think that everything you say applies beautifully to persistence. Blindly continuing to throw the switch on a technique that doesn't work is not something we should applaud or encourage.

But I see resilience as the ability described above by Tom, to seek to identify the causes of failure and try new ways to solve the problem, rather than collapsing in a heap sobbing "it's no good, I can't do it, I'm useless" (which I suspect we all do on occasion, but when it becomes a habit it's a problem! :). To bounce back is not necessarily to bounce blindly.

I have seen kids who take a failure as clear indication that they are not capable (fixed mindset), and kids who take failure as an indication that they are missing something - these kids then get out the magnifying glass to try to spot the missing factor. This is resilience, at least in my head (if not in the dictionary).

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