Confidence, Character and Resilience

Richard Hull, Director, Talk The Talk


On 7th February, Secretary of State for Education, Damian Hinds promoted the notion that character and resilience are as important as academic achievement.
About time.
He set out a list of five key areas which covered a list of activities – Sport, Creativity, Performing, Volunteering & Membership and The World of Work.
So there we have it – let’s get schools to crack on implementing this extensive list of activities and the next generation will be one brimming with confidence, character and resilience.
Perhaps not…
He IS absolutely right in what he says about courage and confidence:
Confidence comes from taking chances and seeing things work out; and it also comes from trying to do something – a project, an activity – until you get it right; it comes from learning ways to cope with whatever the task in hand is and it calls for bravery, gumption, maybe even a stubborn determination to succeed.
As has often been said, courage comes before confidence. Maybe you can’t directly teach a child to be confident but you can certainly introduce them to opportunities, situations, where they need to be courageous.
Courage, confidence, resilience, character, (insert other education buzz words here) are built through experiences – and stepping out of one’s comfort zone.
Whilst his suggestions are sound, there seems to be little recognition of the genuine challenges facing schools that would need to be overcome in order to implement these proposals in a manner that would have the desired effect.
Where will the additional time come from for these experiences – considering the pressures teachers are already under to deliver the curriculum?
Will more funding be made available to Headteachers who are already under constant financial pressure managing their meagre budgets?
Time and money is what is required if confidence, character and resilience are ever going to be on a par with academic achievement.

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