The culture of the classroom
Just as we cannot detach the student from the teacher, neither can we discuss buoyancy without referring to the culture of the classroom (and school or other institution more widely). Teachers have the ability to affect and improve the behaviour of students, including those related to motivation and wellbeing. This includes class climate - the collective beliefs, values and attitudes that prevail in the classroom. Students in schools or other comparable academic environments don't exist in isolation, but in an environment populated by other students, as well as teachers, and presided over by certain organisational structures.
These others can help or hinder the path towards fulfilling individual goals and, consequently, academic buoyancy. If there is little consensus within the classroom concerning norms and values, such as trying our best, working hard and the acceptance of the consequences for diverting from the general consensus, it becomes hard for students to stick to their goals and recover from inevitable setbacks. Similarly, if these values aren't consistently supported by organisational structures, it becomes difficult to encourage these values in students. Buoyancy, therefore, isn't just about the individual students, it also concerns teachers, classrooms and schools.
Becoming Buoyant has highlighted a number interconnected factors that have been seen to increase the ability to cope with daily setbacks in academic settings. Originally known as the 5Cs (but expanded here in the form the 6Cs), these factors adopt the view that academic coping is as much related to what students do as it is to how students think. The two are not, of course, mutually exclusive because thoughts will also impact behaviour - if I believe I will fail than I am less likely to try to succeed. Buoyancy is related to success and success comes about partly through coping but we need to remain realistic about outcomes and manage goals carefully.
Once we begin to identify the facets of increased buoyancy we open up a myriad of possibilities that range from encouraging students to plan to nurturing more positive beliefs about what it is to be a learner. Early experiences of education may have been negative for some students and often these experiences then influence future thoughts and behaviour. However, these patterns of thought and behaviour are far from permanent and unchangeable and through careful nurturing more positive and adaptive behaviours can arise. This is where the academic buoyancy model, with its emphasis on the 6Cs, can help and the techniques covered in the previous chapters can assist in this transformation.
Academic buoyancy is an evidenced informed yet flexible set of strategies that help students (and teachers) navigate their way through the inevitable bumps in the road that come with our experience of existing within modern society. In this respect, it is more than a simple buzzword - it has both intention and implementation, just like any good goal. It does not imply that young people are deficient in the skills and traits required to overcome challenges but, rather, redirects these qualities away from non-educational concerns and towards success and coping within learning environments. Academic buoyancy is also a model capable of adapting as circumstances and environments change, making it truly resilient in its own right.
Dunlosky, }., Rawson, K. A., Marsh, E. }., Nathan, M. }., & Willingham, D. T. (2013). Improving students' learning with effective learning techniques: Promising directions from cognitive and educational psychology. Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 14(1), 4-58. https://doi.org/10.1177/ 1529100612453266
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