Ryan Bell is the Assistant Head of Lower School at Crescent School. He conducted his action research project in 2014/2015.
What question did your action research explore? Can character education and opportunities of empowerment lead to greater resilience in students?
What was your key finding? The more empowerment opportunities (i.e. opportunities to get involved, practise leadership, try new things, etc.) that are offered to kids, the more they feel they can grow and develop their resilience. Resilience is defined by the following components: adaptability, self-control, self-sufficiency, optimism and persistence. Simply, when boys are educated and taught what resilience and grit are, they are excited to improve in this area.
How did the research process enhance your approach to teaching? The research truly opened my mind to the concept of a growth mindset. May it be content mastery, character or behaviour, individuals of all ages have the ability to develop and grow in all areas of their lives. As Carol Dweck states, the growth mindset is central to “the idea that we can grow our brain's capacity to learn and to solve problem…. There are "two ways to think about a problem that’s slightly too hard for you to solve. Are you not smart enough to solve it…or have you just not solved it yet?”
What new ideas did the research raise that you would be interested in exploring?
When a student feels they have failed and there is an emotional breakdown in confidence/self-worth, what are the best strategies to empower this student?
What are the 'ultimate' activities that spur growth in resilience?
What character traits/strengths lead to greatest growth in individuals?