Promoting Resilience in Higher Education
Although it is widely acknowledged that capacity for professional resilience is critical for teachers, currently there is a scarcity of explicit resilience-focused curriculum in higher education to enable pre-service teachers to develop their capacity to deal with the particular challenges of the profession. In Australia, the importance of teacher resilience has been recently highlighted by the call for graduates to be ‘classroom ready’ (Teacher Education Ministerial Advisory Group, 2015) and for pre-service teachers to develop ‘non-academic key capabilities’ (Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership, 2015), including resilience.
Resilience is understood as the process by which an individual harnesses personal and contextual resources and uses particular strategies, to enable adaptive outcomes such as professional engagement and growth, commitment, enthusiasm and job fulfillment (Mansfield, Beltman, Broadley & Weatherby-Fell, 2016). Personal resources such as motivation, self-efficacy, beliefs and sense of purpose, and contextual resources such as professional relationships, family support and school culture are important for resilience along with the use of strategies such as problem-solving, time management, help-seeking and emotion management.
The challenge for teacher educators lies in effectively developing and embedding a resilience-focused curriculum to support development of professional resilience and maximise potential for pre-service teachers to experience positive outcomes such as job satisfaction, commitment, engagement and effectiveness. This Fellowship aims to make a significant contribution in meeting this challenge.