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Classroom Management to Promote Resilience

Janelle Cox

As a child, having the ability to bounce back after something goes wrong is not always easy. While some children are more resilient, there are many others that are not. In fact, the Anxiety and Depression Association of America states that anxiety disorders affect 25 percent of children between the ages of 13 and 18. These young children who suffer from anxiety can find it harder to cope and recover when things are not going well.

Having the ability to cope with life’s negative challenges and persist in the face of adversity can be challenging, but learning to develop resilience can be the antidote to help with this anxiety. Here are five ways you can use classroom management to help foster resilience in your students, which can help contribute to their overall mental and physical well-being.

Classroom Management to Foster the Student-Teacher Relationship

Building a positive student-teacher relationship is said to enhance a student’s overall well-being, as well as their achievement in school. A positive student-teacher relationship enables students to feel safe in their learning environment. In fact, research shows that this bond can have a positive impact on a student’s social and academic outcome. Just one caring adult can have such an impact on a child that it actually change the course of a student’s life.

Use classroom management to take the time to nurture each relationship that you have with your students, especially the ones who you know need it most. Try the 3 x 10 strategy, where you take three minutes a day for ten consecutive days to just talk with a child and get to them better. By the end of the ten days, you will create a solid bond.

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Teach SEL Skills

Social and emotional learning (SEL) involves giving students the opportunity to learn and practice social skills such as being resilient. Having the ability to persevere, overcome obstacles, and express your emotions properly are all skills that students need, and they can help them have a positive outcome in their future. The unpredictability of life and how it is constantly changing can be very hard for students to manage, but when you incorporate SEL learning into your curriculum, you’ll be able to help students build resilience to deal with any changes.

You can incorporate social and emotional learning into the classroom by having a morning meeting and checking in with students and talking about any important issues that may be bothering them. The more your students are open and honest in front of their peers, the more they’ll learn about each other, and they will consider the emotional well-being of others.

Create a Positive Learning Environment

Another effective way to help build a mentally healthy classroom is by creating a positive learning environment for students -- a place where students are respected and valued; a place where they feel safe and their opinions are heard without any judgment.

You can build a sense of belonging by, again, having a morning meeting where students’ voices are heard. You can also build a sense of belonging to the school by encouraging students to participate in school events, groups, sports teams, and other functions. Cooperative learning groups are another strategy to create a positive learning space, because they help to enhance peer relationships. The more connected students feel within their school, the safer they will feel. When students feel safe, they’ll be better able to bounce back from adversity, because they know they have people they can lean on.

Build a Sense of Purpose

Whether students have a sense of purpose for why they’re doing their school work or they have a sense of purpose for their lives, having a purpose is a great way to give meaning to a student’s life. When you have a purpose, you have a way.

Provide opportunities for students to help others. When you do so, you’re helping students see how small their problems are compared to the world’s. You’re giving them meaning to something that is more than themselves. Encourage them to volunteer and make a difference in the lives of others. This sense of overall purpose can really have a positive impact on their overall well-being.

Show Students Their Strengths

Identifying your students’ abilities and building on them is another effective way to build a sense of worth in students. This strengths-based approach is effective, because when students are learning and using what they’re good at, they will feel confident. When you feel confident, you are better able to deal with anything that may come your way in a more positive manner.

Use the multiple intelligence theory, or give your students an interest quiz to see what their strengths and abilities are. Once they find out how they learn best and what they are good it, you’ll see their confidence rise.

Building resilience takes time. Your students won’t automatically have the ability to overcome obstacles because you decided to have a morning meeting and share stories. You need to have a morning meeting every single day, or create opportunities for building a sense of purpose throughout the school year. The more you foster resilience, the closer your students will get to being resilient all of the time.

Do you use classroom management to promote mental health, and social and emotional learning like fostering resilience in your classroom?


Janelle Cox is an education writer who uses her experience and knowledge to provide creative and original writing in the field of education. Janelle holds a master of science in education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is a contributing writer to TeachHUB.com, TeachHUB Magazine, and Hey Teach. She was also the elementary education expert for About.com for five years. You can follow her on Twitter @empoweringed, on Facebook at Empowering K12 Educators, or contact her at Janellecox78@yahoo.com.