Developing resilience approaches for school children in Germany
Funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, this project established a Community of Practice (CoP) concerned with understanding, applying and developing resilience theory and practices to support school children with complex needs, social emotional difficulties and disabilities.
The CoP members were teachers, social workers, psychologists, school counsellors, academic researchers, and other educational specialists. Taking the Resilience framework developed by Hart and colleagues and Gestalt-theory as a conceptual basis, this action-orientated study explores social, emotional, psychological and educational factors which impact on the children and their parents, families and communities. It also involves developing reflexive insights into school practitioners’ own practice, attitudes and resilience.
This project commenced in September 2014 and ended in September 2017.
This project aims to strengthen teachers’ understanding of resilience-focused practice and their own resilience. It also aims to model a resilient way of giving support.
Project findings and impact
In the 2014-15 academic year, nine monthly meetings of 2.5 hours were run with teachers’ counselling groups to foster resilience at schools. The next set of sessions ran during the academic year 2015-16.
The emerging findings are:
- it is possible and feasible to support teachers‘ resilience through communities of practice
- teachers are significantly challenged by schools‘ adversities
- communities of practice are supporting teachers‘ competence to deal more appropriately with schools‘ adversities
- the resilience framework works well in achieving these goals with teachers
- we could and should integrate the resilience framework in more schools.
A multi-lingual teacher resilience scale was developed as a result of collaboration between this project and another project in Greece.
As a result of this project, social inequalities oriented understanding of resilience and communities of practice approaches are incorporated into the teachers’ training programme of the University of Osnabrück.
Research team and partners
Wassilis Kassis, University of Osnabrück
Ulrike Becker, University of Bremen
Ulrike Graff, University of Heidelberg
Early years child development centres in Germany
Graf, U., Becker. U., Hart, A. (2015) A ‘Gestalt’-Based Concept of Supporting Teachers Resilience. Examples of a Community of Practice Group at Osnabrück, Germany. Paper presented at the Pathways to Resilience III conference at the University of Halifax, Halifax, Canada. June.
Kassis, W., Graf, U. Kourkoutas, E., & Hart, A. (2015) Communities of Practice Supporting Teachers’ Resilience? Working With Teachers in a Resilient-Based Systemic Way. Paper presented at the Pathways to Resilience III conference at the University of Halifax, Halifax, Canada. June.
Kassis W (2014) German adaptation of the Resilience Framework for the Boingboing website.