Teaching Tuesday: Building Resiliency in Your Classroom

By Dr. Tracy Vasquez and Dr. Marjaneh Gilpatrick, faculty

young students learning in classroom from female teacher writing on board

As we reflect on the completed school year and what the fall will look like, we recognize a critical quality needed for educators and student’s resiliency. To build resiliency in your classroom, consider fostering a growth mindset. How can educators build a growth mindset with their students in their classrooms? Below are some practical suggestions for consideration.

Model Continuous Learning and Flexibility

When faced with a dilemma, demonstrate how you face it by sharing your thought process with your students. Demonstrating how you work to resolve the issue provides the students a model of how to face challenges and to apply relevant problem-solving strategies. For example, using a new app can turn frustrations into curiosity. At times, the students can provide solutions that others may not have contemplated.

Cultivate a Safe Learning Environment

By consistently modeling learning and flexibility, you can help cultivate a learning environment that allows for opportunities to learn and grow from failures. When you make an error, you can highlight it and seek the students’ input on how to correct the error. By practicing this type of behavior, students will be more likely to not be embarrassed when they make a mistake. They will be more apt to support each other to fix the mistakes. For instance, if a student arrives at a wrong solution for a multiplication problem, other students can guide their classmate in solving the problem together-justifying their approach and arriving at the correct solution together.

Challenge Students to Master New Skills

Vygotsky’s Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD) supports the idea of creating lessons and learning experiences that stretch the students’ cognitive abilities to support new knowledge and skills.1 These can be applied in project-based lessons that are relevant and meaningful to students and their world.

For example, when students are learn World War II and the Holocaust, they often read books such as Number the Stars. During a literature circle, with mixed ability groupings, students can collaborate with one another to explore the various themes and ideas in the book. Additionally, they can compare and contrast those themes with current events.

Provide Succinct and Meaningful Feedback on Students’ Learning

As a teacher, you can have meaningful dialog with your students to provide feedback on their performances and set specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely (SMART) goals. When discussing a student’s essay, you can indicate how well the student conveyed his or her ideas, used varied sentence structures and employed a variety of word choices. Afterward, you can collaborate to set SMART goals for the next assignment.

Growth mindset is based on the idea that abilities are developed as a result of intentional efforts. When educators provide the environment that allows for this to happen, students are more likely to grow and develop academically, socially and emotionally.

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Retrieved from: 

1Very Well Mind, What Is the Zone of Proximal Development? in June 2021

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.