“Persistence” is a word often used in educational settings. Usually it can be heard in discussions about why students do or do not stay in school, move on to the next grade or graduate. It’s an issue of retention and a quandary about how students develop inside and outside the classroom. Persistence should be thought of as a living and breathing entity because it gets to the very essence of who students are and what they need to succeed.
So what then is at the heart of persistence? The answer can be found in each student’s ability to be resilient. Resilient from what, one might ask? The answer is a simple one in theory and more difficult in execution. Being resilient means having the ability to bounce back and even thrive in the face of life challenges. And let’s face it, challenges can be found any minute of any day, from the most ordinary of concerns like bad weather to more severe issues such as dealing with the death of a loved one or even a parent. Challenges can come when we least expect it or even when we think we are ready for whatever could come our way. Of course, one’s ability to be resilient depends on the external and internal resources they have at their disposal.
It is incumbent on all community leaders to teach children how to be resilient, yet research tells us time and again that far too few of our children in K-12 lack the ability to work through even the most basic life challenges. Somehow we are failing to meet the needs of our kids. We need to teach our kids how to be resilient through social and emotional learning, character development, through mediums and methods which speak their language rather than soley through traditional measures. It’s time to teach them where they like to learn the information the best, in interactive mediums located on devices at their fingertips. Where children congregate, computers, cell phones, and other mobile devices are usually close if not in their hands. Let’s answer a call to action of teaching our children how to handle life challenges by using technology wisely, as a teaching tool with endless creative modalities.