Title: A Critical Look at the Undermining and Promotion of Resilience in the Higher Education Context
Stream: Teaching and Learning
Presentation Type: Virtual Presentation
Nina Powell, National University of Singapore, Singapore
Rebekah Wanic, National University of Singapore, Singapore
The current Higher Educational context presents an interesting landscape for exploration in that universities are producing high-achieving students en masse who consistently report high levels of stress and declining mental health. In the 21st Century, in schools, universities, at the workplace and via mainstream media, we are inundated with messages about the importance of prioritizing mental health and the need to check in with ourselves and others to assess psychological well-being. On face, a shift to increased promotion of self-care and increasing awareness of, and access to, effective treatment for psychological distress may appear positive - a move that demonstrates prosocial motives and progressive kindness. However, like many well-intentioned movements that start with correcting an oversight, there is reason to believe that this shift and the protective measures taken, are in actuality undermining resilience and have unintended negative long-term consequences for the development and functioning of individuals. We will explore theory and research on the connection between resilience, stress and success and identify ways faculty can incorporate resiliency-enhancing techniques in the classroom, but also ways that the institutes of higher education can think critically about well-intentioned efforts that may undermine resilience. Through reflection on current pedagogy, we will evaluate how resiliency-minded instruction can reduce student stress, improve educational outcomes, and promote student motivation to face new challenges in the classroom and beyond.
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