Happy New Year to all,

Whether you a fan or not of Sir Andy Murray, the Scottish tennis player, who was recently knighted, you do have to admire his resilience.

You may argue that he is an extremely wealthy athlete doing something for a living that people would see as a hobby, however, there is also something extremely worthy in his achievements.

His success has not come easily and he has had many setbacks, not least the fact that he has lost six out of the nine grand slam finals in which he has competed.

Most often his losses have been to the same two players, yet out of adversity he seems to draw strength as he finished the second part of the 2016 year winning Wimbledon, an Olympic gold medal and being ranked the number one player in the world.

We hear a great deal about resilience these days within the education sector. However, what does the word mean within this context for the actual students.

Resilience appears to be that ineffable quality that allows some people to be knocked down by life and come back stronger than ever.

Rather than letting failure overcome them and drain their resolve, they find a way to rise from the ashes.

Psychologists have identified some of the factors that make someone resilient, among them a positive attitude, optimism, the ability to regulate emotions, and the ability to see failure as a form of helpful feedback.

Even after misfortune, resilient people are blessed with such an outlook that they are able to change course and soldier on.

It is not as easy as it sounds to be resilient. Many students particularly those with special educational needs can find it extremely difficult to remain positive as self-esteem is often fragile or non-existent after repeated failure within our school system.

In my training programmes I often use a behaviour and learning model called SF3R which stands for Structure, Flexibility, Rapport, Relationships and Role Models.

This was created as result of years of experience within school systems which have been successful in dealing with students with learning and behaviour issues.

The SF3R approach was also fully outlined in my 2006 book Troubleshooting Challenging Behaviour, however recently I have changed the 3rd ‘R’ in the formula from Role Models to Resilience.

The reason for this is that in order to prepare students with SEN to become independent learners they must be supported with the tools to be able to self-monitor and to self-regulate which allows them overcome obstacles and difficulties.

This does not, however, mean that they will not need guidance and direction from role models and people who have the experience and expertise to provide this.

As a result, the approach that I am using at this time has been adapted from the work of Kenneth Ginsburg, M.D. in his 2011 book  A Parent’s Guide to Building Resilience in Children and Teens: Giving Your Child Roots and Wings for education within the SF3R model.

Ginsburg outlines 7 components for resilience which he calls the 7Cs and are as follows:

  • Competence
  • Confidence
  • Connection
  • Character
  • Contribution
  • Coping
  • Control

Each of these issues complements the other and we explain and explore each component in depth in order to develop and extend resilience for students within the SF3R approach.

As for Sir Andy, he will attempt once more to win his first Australian Open Championship which begins on Monday the 16th of January having lost in the final 5 times out of 5 to date…………I wouldn’t bet against him.