Systemic Reform Concerning Resilience in Education

Tech Trends’ Association for Educational Communications and Technology (AECT), September, 2001


From a systemic reform perspective, this brief article examines risk and resilience research and its application in education. The evidence suggests that nearly twenty years of educational involvement in a risk, or a youth problem remediation focus has neither consistently nor effectively addressed the educational needs of young people. Research and practice examples are provided, showing how adherence to a risk factor model preserves a negative youth view and maintenance of largely ineffective programs. Its socio-political dimensions serve to obstruct development, implementation and evaluation of novel alternatives. At the same time though, the continuing challenges and increasing ad hominem development utilized to preserve the risk factor model creates the opportunity for systemic paradigm change. Long-term evidence supporting a focus on capacity building in education, or a resilience focus, provides a novel and reasonable educational alternative in its infancy of systemic application to education. Based on evaluation evidence, resilience program examples are presented. When compared with other students, early evidence of the application of resilience to education reveals higher test scores, higher grades in core academic subjects, more involvement in positive youth school and community activities and engaged in less misconduct at school than comparison students. More research concerning resilience and its application and effectiveness in education is needed. Nevertheless, it is concluded that the capacity-building opportunities found in resilience education represents a novel and scientifically sound option for educational reform efforts.

Full text available here