All models are (potentially) wrong

Even though these studies are reliable and draw on established research methodologies, no study is perfect and where weaknesses exist they should be fully acknowledged. Scientific models are just that, explanations of complex phenomenon that help to explain research findings. Models of resilience generally, and buoyancy specifically, produce a workable narrative on which interventions can be built. Robust models explain both research findings and intervention outcomes but remain flexible, taking into account more recent findings and conclusions. Or, as the statistician George Box noted, 'All models are wrong, but some are useful' (Box, 1979). Nowhere is this more relevant than in psychology, where even established theories are overturned as the fledgling science incorporates increasingly sophisticated techniques, including advanced statistical analysis and brain scanning technology. Indeed, the rapid expansion of neuroscience and cognitive neuropsychology has led to the re-thinking of many theories and models once considered sacrosanct.

A buoyancy blueprint

Martin's 5Cs of academic buoyancy provide a useful blueprint upon which effective, evidence-based interventions can be created. In an extension to the 5C model, Becoming Buoyant supplements these with a sense of community (a sixth C) that places the emphasis on feelings of belonging and support. Young people raised within tightly knit communities not only flourish on a personal level, they also do better at school. Similarly, those schools with a strong ethos, sense of community and effective support mechanisms represent some of the most successful (see Chapters 2 and 3).

The community aspect of academic buoyancy implies that the ability to cope, thrive and flourish depends also on the culture of the wider environment, that is, the school. There is, therefore, a top-down element to academic specific resilience, one that involves a culture of high expectations, valuing effort and hard work, an emphasis on routine and good habit formation and successful and consistent reward systems. While Becoming Buoyant emphasises the importance of individual components (in the form of the 5Cs) it doesn't do this in absence of school culture and the support people receive from external sources (the sixth C, community). However, this is not a book about behaviour management and any mention of behaviour should be considered in general terms - the behaviours that encourage buoyancy rather than the management of disruptive behaviour.

Becoming Buoyant, therefore, spans a number of interconnected disciplines that together help to untangle the complex web of human behaviour, specifically academic coping and flourishing. It then incorporates these into workable strategies that can be implemented on a personal, classroom or school-wide level. While teachers and other educational professionals can use these techniques with their students, they can also use them in their own lives, and examples throughout this book combine both school-specific scenarios and wider descriptions of the kinds of issues all individuals face at some point. All the techniques introduced, therefore, are fully transferable - from successful goal setting to recognising and dealing with anxiety, indeed, many first arose in non-academic settings before being adapted for use with students.

Resilience, therefore, is as much about the little things as it is about major problems. The concern is that by neglecting the daily hassles that are part and parcel of everyday life, we allow them to accumulate, one niggle adding to another, increasing levels of stress until there is simply too much for us to deal with. Academic buoyancy is more about these niggles and offers workable solutions to prevent the small things from become big and overwhelming both ourselves and our students.


Box, G. E. R (1979). Robustness in the strategy of scientific model building. In Robustness in statistics (pp. 201-236). Elsevier, B978-0-12-438150-6.50018-2

Luthans, E, Luthans, K. W., & Luthans, В. C. (2004). Positive psychological capital: Beyond human and social capital. Business Horizons, 47(1), 45-50. https://doi.Org/10.1016/j.bushor.2003.ll.007 Martin, A. (2013). Academic buoyancy and academic resilience: Exploring "everyday" and "classic" resilience in the face of academic adversity. School Psychology International, 34(5), 488-500. 0143034312472759

Martin, A. ]., & Evans, P. (2018). Load reduction instruction: Exploring a framework that assesses explicit instruction through to independent learning. Teaching and Teacher Education, 73, 203-214. 10.1016/j.tate.2018.03.018

Sirois, F. M., & Pychyl, T. A. (2016). Procrastination, health, and well-being. London: Elsevier.

Sweller, J. (1988). Cognitive load during problem solving: Effects on learning. Cognitive Science, 285,257-285.

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