Reconceptualising Resilience: A Dynamic Interactive Model of Resilience for Educational Practice

Shafi, Adeela ORCID: 0000-0002-6265-5024, Middleton, Tristan ORCID: 0000-0001-8111-3856, Millican, Richard ORCID: 0000-0001-7423-6428, Templeton, Sian ORCID: 0000-0002-0962-6531, Hatley, Jenny and Vare, Paul ORCID: 0000-0003-3182-9105 (2019) Reconceptualising Resilience: A Dynamic Interactive Model of Resilience for Educational Practice. In: British Education Research Association Annual Conference, 10th - 12th September 2019, Manchester University. (Unpublished)

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The potential of education to support, understand and develop resilience at an individual and systemic level is gaining interest in light of increased stresses and threats impacting individuals, organisations and society. This paper draws upon a range of models that seek to understand and explain human resilience and recommends how their approaches can be applied. The paper explores Bronfenbrenner’s (1979) bio-ecological model, Ungar’s (2013) social-ecological model, Gilligan’s (1997) conceptualisation of resilience in terms of protective and risk factors and the recent Downes (2017) model, which considers spatial relations and individual agency in resilience trajectories. We then present a dynamic interactive model of resilience (DIMoR) which encapsulates the key elements of existing models offering a more nuanced and complex systems approach to resilience. Resilience has been the subject of four waves of research spanning five decades (Masten, 2015). General consensus has emerged around understanding resilience as a multidimensional concept of an individual’s ability to adapt successfully following adversity or other disruption that threatens functioning or development (Masten and Cicchetti, 2016). Each wave of research has tended to focus on specific dimensions of resilience, the first two waves developing a shared understanding of the concept of resilience and the processes involved in its development. These waves established a spectrum of resilience and vulnerability linked to protective and risk factors, focusing on the qualities of resilient children. Wave three concentrated on interventions and recognises the potential for individuals and settings to develop resilience. The fourth (current) wave, within which the DIMoR model is located, builds on the notion of resilience as a dynamic system. We examine seminal models of human development and resilience research and critique their contribution to fostering a multi-dimensional and system level understanding of resilience. The central contribution of the DIMoR model is to synthesise key elements of these earlier conceptions whilst drawing on systems thinking and complexity theory (Morin, 2008) to present a model that recognises the socio-ecologically embedded nature of the individual while acknowledging the individual’s agency as they journey through life encountering real-world contexts. Through the lens of DIMoR, we explore how education settings can be hubs for fostering the development of resilience and how this complex, dynamic understanding can support the efforts of school/education leaders. Rather than an ‘injection’ of interventions, this is achieved by fostering conditions through school culture, support systems, connecting with external agencies or teacher training. While this focus on connectivity is not new, we recognise and acknowledge that individual agency - itself a complex system - has to navigate contexts that are also complex adaptive systems. For example, the individual pupil in a school is a complex system located within the wider ecological system of family, school, community and society. The individual as a system has their own vulnerabilities, risk, protective factors as well as their own agency and phenomenological approach to a context. This is dynamic, domain specific and itself dependent on interactions with the wider context which not only contains many such other individual systems (e.g. other pupils, teachers and but also includes the school as a complex system, with its own vulnerabilities, risks, protective factors, which structure the experiences of the individual (pupil) systems. The DIMoR model thus develops Downes’ (2017) idea of agentic individuals within diametric and concentric relationships all interacting with each other in the same space, by emphasising wider interacting systems. The DIMoR model offers the opportunity to consider a proactive approach to the development of resilience within education. Resilience is not something that is ‘caused’ by support systems or one-off interventions, rather it is the emergent property of the dynamic interactions of all these complex systems over time. DIMoR posits therefore, that resilience is not an individual trait, but a responsive characteristic which changes shape and structure within its own risk-protective, vulnerability-invulnerability framework as a result of interactions with the surrounding systems that, crucially, it is a part of not apart from. References Bronfenbrenner, U. (1979). The ecology of human development. Harvard university press. Downes, P. (2017). Extended Paper: Reconceptualising Foundational Assumptions of Resilience: A Cross-Cultural, Spatial Systems Domain of Relevance for Agency and Phenomenology in Resilience. International Journal of Emotional Education, 9(1), 99-120. Gilligan, R. (1997). Beyond permanence? The importance of resilience in child placement practice and planning. Adoption & Fostering, 21(1), 12-20. Masten, A. S. (2015). Ordinary magic: Resilience in development. Guilford Publications Masten, A. S., & Cicchetti, D. (2016). Resilience in development: Progress and transformation. Developmental psychopathology, 4, 271-333. Ungar, M. (2013). Resilience, trauma, context, and culture. Trauma, violence, & abuse, 14(3), 255-266.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Lecture)
Subjects: L Education > L Education (General)
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Education and Science
Research Priority Areas: Society and Learning
Depositing User: Tristan Middleton
Date Deposited: 11 Sep 2019 10:42
Last Modified: 31 Aug 2023 08:43

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