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Wednesday, June 17 • 11:00am - 12:30pm
Resilience & School Programs - Kingsley Hurlington, Zahide Alaca, Ulrike Graf, Sheena Brown, Chris Byron, Sara Truebridge

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Resilience & School Programs:

Abstract # 22
Unstuffed! A School-Wide Strength-Based Teacher-Led Mental Health Conference. A Fresh Approach to a Resilience-Focused Mental Health Conference in a Secondary School Setting
Presenter: Kingsley Hurlington Co - Presenters: Ruth Marinelli, Eileen Dahl
An ecological framework of resilience posits the importance of environment in the development of resilience characteristics in individuals.  For teens, school can be one of the most important environments for bolstering resilience (Benard, 2006; Masten and Coatsworth, 1998).   School needs to provide students with an environment that assists them with learning and also facilitates the development of personal resilience characteristics through positive mentorship (Ungar 2004).  This program review explores the impact of a single mental health conference intervention on the strengthening of resilience characteristics in secondary school students.  In response to growing concerns about mental health issues in the adolescent population (Lam, 2014), a mental health conference was created that offered students sessions led by teacher-mentors at their school.  The results of student surveys indicated the significant effect of the intervention on their awareness of their own mental health challenges and that of their peers, increased confidence in negotiating their way to appropriate psychosocial supports, and deepened empathetic response to others in order to create a more positive and inclusive educational environment.  Teacher-mentors also indicated their increased capacity to assist students in navigating mental health supports in their school and community.

Abstract # 37
Resilience in High-Poverty Schools
Presenter: Zahide Alaca
One of the most consistent findings in the educational literature is the strong relationship between students’ socioeconomic backgrounds and their academic achievement. In Canada, performance on standardised assessments continues to be lower in schools serving high concentrations of students living in poverty compared to schools serving students from more affluent families. Interestingly, some schools serving primarily low-income communities have managed to support very high academic achievement among their students. In this presentation, I propose a comparative study of six elementary schools in Ontario, Canada, to understand how high-poverty schools manage to support high academic achievement among their students. Existing research on high-performing, high-poverty schools has focused primarily on identifying good practice at the classroom and school levels, but transferring these practices from school to school has proven difficult. I propose that there may be important factors, such as the social conditions and policy contexts in which each school are embedded, which may influence both the strategies that schools choose to implement and the effectiveness of those strategies. Of particular interest will be whether and how differences in access to non-school learning resources across school communities may play a role in these processes.

Abstract # 44
A “Gestalt”-Based Concept of Supporting Teachers Resilience. Examples of a Community of Practice Group at Osnabrück/Germany
Presenter: Ulrike Graf Co - Presenters: Ulrike Becker, Angie Hart
How best to lead a community of practice (CoP) that helps elementary and primary school teachers create new ways of supporting children with difficulties to develop resilience? And one that will also support the teachers’ in developing their own resilience alongside. At Osnabrück/Germany we are researching a Gestalt approach to addressing these issues. 
So what are the assumptions that we are testing out? First of all, concepts of Gestalt-based supervision should create opportunities for revealing the problems of all those involved, secondly we hope it will open up spaces for perceiving the perspective of the others and feelings of empathy while being aware of one’s own position and feelings; and thirdly it should facilitate broader insights into social and structural resources. 
Fourth is the idea that the Gestalt approach helps us treat everyone in the Community of Practice  with respect. Finally, we are hoping it will facilitate congruence with encounters between teachers, children with difficulties and everybody else involved beyond the CoP.
The Community of Practice Group at Osnabrück is part of the international Project, Imagine, coordinated by the University of Brighton/England. The presentation will present examples of ways to help teachers (re-)discover their individual competence of resilience.

Abstract # 2
Effectiveness of Mindfulness in the Education System, to Reduce Stress and Improve Wellbeing
Presenter: Sheena Brown
A curriculum was designed that combined contemplative practices, neuroscience research and student reflection to explore the concept of authentic happiness.  Our overarching questions were: what is authentic happiness, how may we experience it, and what are the obstacles in our way?  Our hypothesis was that through the introduction of mindfulness, students would learn simple, yet tangible ways to manage their emotions, resolve conflicts, make responsible decisions, manage stress, and ultimately enhance their resilience. By bringing together science, art and contemplative practices through experiential learning, students would gain insight of the importance of mind-body integration in the pursuit of wellbeing, and be provided with the skills and resources to incorporate mindfulness into their lives, should they so choose. Variations of the curriculum were presented to college freshmen, and grade school students. The curriculum aimed to provide social support, through creating a sense of community and trust between participants. Qualitative and quantitative analyses revealed self-reported benefits in: individual health and wellness, benefits in mindfulness practices both in-class and out-of-class, with 44% of students reporting more confidence in handling personal problems, and 44% of students experiencing colds or flu less often than in the previous semester.

Abstract # 4
Using Outdoor Experiential Education to Develop Resiliency in Gifted Students
Presenter: Chris Byron Co - Presenters: Chris Hooper
Intensity is inherent in gifted individuals. It’s often a byproduct of asynchronous development and can hamper both academic achievement, growth and social interactions. By fostering resilience through the experiential education model, students develop hardiness by embracing hardships and reflection.

Abstract # 14
Resilience Begins With Beliefs: Building on Student Strengths for Success in School
Presenter: Sara Truebridge
Resilience research focuses on healthy development and successful learning, especially with young people facing difficult life challenges in their homes, schools, and communities. In schools, teachers’ beliefs and perceptions about student resilience influence classroom practices and student success.  This presentation examines the extent to which an increased understanding of student resilience shapes pedagogical beliefs and practices of educators. An important goal of research in resilience is to transfer such research into practice. Thus, this presenttion concludes by addressing the relationship between resilience research and belief research and the implications of findings for education pre-service programs, professional development programs and everyday practice.

avatar for Chris Byron

Chris Byron

Teacher, Westmount Charter School
From working with adults in the NWT to special populations on whitewater canoe trips, I have been guiding in natural settings for almost four decades. Once getting my teaching certificate, with an experiential education focus, I began to integrate my guiding experiences into the classroom... Read More →

Kingsley Hurlington

York Region District School Board
Kingsley Hurlington is a doctoral candidate at Trent University. He has authored textbooks related to Canadian Geography. His doctoral work focuses on resilience and communities, with a special focus on rural contexts. For this work, he draws upon his varied experiences working with... Read More →

Sarah Truebridge

Sara Truebridge, Ed.D. is an Education Consultant with experience in research, policy, and practice. Her book, Resilience Begins with Beliefs: Building on Student Strengths for Success in School, published by Teachers College Press (2014), was endorsed by Michael Rutter and Suniya... Read More →

Sheena Brown

Sheena graduated with a PhD in Zoology in 2000, and a Masters in Public Health in 2014. Sheena has worked as assistant lecturer in Zoology, Neuroscience, and Public Health. From 2003 until 2013, Sheena worked as Staff Scientist in the Neuroscience Department at the UA, and currently... Read More →

Ulrike Graf

Ulrike Graf, PhD, is a Full Professor of Education at Primary School Age (University of Osnabrück/Germany) and Head of the Research Center in Primary School Education at the Institute for Early Childhood Education and Development of Lower Saxony.She works on pedagogy diagnosis, emphasizing... Read More →

Zahide Alaca

Zahide is completing her Master’s in Social Work at Carleton University, with a concentration in social administration and policy. She is interested in understanding the disparities in educational outcomes among children and youth. In her doctoral studies, Zahide plans to examine... Read More →


Ulrike Becker

MA at University of Bremen Ulrike Becker is a teacher of German / English at grammar and secondary schools in Bremen, lecturer in various pedagogical seminars at the University of Bremen, grad. Gestaltpädagogin (“Gestalt pedagogy”) and supervisor in teacher training at LIS (Landesinstitut... Read More →
avatar for Eileen Dahl

Eileen Dahl

Psychotherapist, Spiritual Care Professional, Consultant, Speaker
Eileen Dahl is a Registered Psychotherapist, Certified in Thanatology - death, dying and bereavement (CT) and a certified spiritual care practitioner / hospital chaplain. She has experience working in oncology and palliative care, trauma, mental health and cardiac intensive care... Read More →
avatar for Angie Hart

Angie Hart

University of Brighton / Boingboing
Angie Hart is Professor of Child, Family and Community Health at the University of Brighton and has been working on resilience research and practice for 10 years. She is an advisor to England’s Big Lottery Fund, Angie runs boingboing, a not for profit undertaking resilience research... Read More →

Chris Hooper

Adminstrator at Westmount Charter School Chris Hooper is a administrator at Westmount Charter School in Calgary, Ab. He has a decade of experience in gifted education. He received a masters in kinesiology at the University of Calgary and is currently working on a doctorate of resilience... Read More →

Ruth Marinelli

Teacher at York Region District School Board Ruth Marinelli is a secondary school teacher with the York Region District School Board where she works with academically and socially vulnerable students. She is a Masters of Education candidate at OISE.

Wednesday June 17, 2015 11:00am - 12:30pm EDT
Boardroom A&A 2nd Floor, King's College

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