Teacher journal archive (2008-2011)

Article Title

Resilience : helping at-risk students


J Tilling


The best way to help students at risk is a two-pronged approach that addresses both risk reduction and also assembles protective factors that develop resilience. But what is this resilience? In the psychological resilience literature, it is described in terms of protective factors, which come in two forms, internal and external assets. Internal assets that consistently appear in describing common characteristics of resilient children are: social competence, problem-solving skills, mastery, autonomy, and a sense of purpose and future. External assets relate to three primary systems in a child's world: family, community and school. Programs for at-risk young people need to address risk and assemble protective factors. An approach that combines foundational asset building and risk-reduction programs ensures that poverty, abuse, unemployment, school retention, crime, drugs, homelessness, self-harm and other health-compromising behaviours are addressed while recognising the individual needs of those in the program, promoting capacity and building community. Such a two-pronged strategy aims to remove unconstructive or harmful incidents while creating protective mechanisms so that young people can successfully manage potentially risky behaviours in the future. [Author abstract, ed]

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