Acceptance and Resilience: Secret Ingredients to Online Teaching By Hardika Shah for AACE Review, May 29th 2020 With the pandemic, we are living in a strange time. We never imagined that most of us would have to wrap up our classrooms and offices to small corners of our homes. Usually humans strive to keep things normal and as they are. We put effort to be comfortable with how we feel about things, spaces and even people around us. But now is the best time to understand this change, and a change that is happening at an accelerated pace. We have a new culture where we have to embrace adaptability, flexibility and autodidact. The most influential habits to cope with rapidly changing scenarios are acceptance and enduring resilience. Acceptance will require us to embrace the changing situation in totality, not just to be “okay” with it or play the blame game. Jon Kabat-Zinn stated, “Acceptance is a very active process, there is nothing passive about it, it’s not passive resignation but an act of recognition that things are the way they are… Acceptance doesn’t mean we can’t work to change the world, or circumstances, but it means that unless we accept things as they are, we will try to force things to be as they are not and that can create an enormous amount of difficulty.” Accepting the situation, and building resilience are the two habits that can be a game changer. We can empower the younger generation to cope with such situations and be shaped positively by them. Resilience is defined by Riley and Masten (2005, p. 13) as “referring to patterns of positive adaptation in the face of adversity,” and by Masten et al. (1990, p. 426) as “the process of, capacity for, or outcome of successful adaptation. Academic Resilience leads to better behavior and positive results for disadvantaged pupils. Build a “Good Rapport” The Resilience Framework for schools, originally developed by Angie Hart and Derek Blincow (2007) talks about the idea of belonging with evidences on the approach. The evidences are first hand stories which state students enjoy friendly helpful teachers who also maintain an authoritative style of teaching. Van Uden’s (2014) research study showed two aspects of teacher’s behavior that have positive results: 1) the perception by students that teacher has authority and influence over the class. 2) the perception that teachers trust and has positive regard from the student. Quality Engagement Emphasise on Quality time rather than Quantity time. The Youth Research Centre in Melbourne has designed a SEL curricula program – Social and Emotional Learning module which can be taught in schools on a regular basis. Well taught SEL program demonstrate more positive social behaviour among kids and are less likely to engage in risky disruptive behavior or habits (Ashdown & Bernard,2012) Academic Resilience uses collaborative learning activities to make sure the assignments are designed around positive coping, critical thinking and encourage seeking help. Strength Based Approach The terms ‘students health’ and ‘students welfare’ have been replaced by ‘students wellbeing’. Positive psychology emphasizes on ‘fixing what is wrong with the student’ rather than concentrating on what is ‘right’. The whole idea is to shift from a deficit-based approach to strength-based approach, build on capacities and resources for young people. (Seligman & Csikszentmihalyi, 2000) Train the Mind and the Spirit Dr Sven Hansen the Founder of The Resilience Institute (2002) states that resilience helps people migrate to different versions of themselves, it liberates the potential in an individual and elevates it to be more effective and whole. The institute talks about the Resilience Spiral in which we must be able to see (insight) where we are and make the adjustment needed (mastery) to self-correct. Apps for Resilience: Using apps on a regular basis for improving one’s resilience and mental wellbeing can be a good toolkit to have handy. Listed below are some exapmes. Headspace – Available on iOS and Android, works around Meditation and Wellbeing. Positive Activity Jackpot – Comes with a Clinical Guide on iOS and Android, fun game which picks up activities for you based on behavioural therapy to build resilience. Calm – Available on iOS and Android, is designed for people new to meditation with breathing techniques and other guided practises round sleep and music. What’s Up? – Available on iOS and Android, uses some of the best CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) and ACT (Acceptance Commitment Therapy) methods to cope with negative thinking pattern and simple methods to overcome them. Talk Life and KoKo developed by researchers at MIT, provide interaction-based support to help people from various states of distress from bulling to self-harm. About the Author Hardika is a PhD student with Auckland University of Technology. Her PhD topic is overlapping meditation, mindfulness and play techniques to create contemporary digital applications and tools to focus on mental wellbeing. With a decade of corporate experience in the Application and Gaming industry she specialises in areas like User Experience Design, Play Experience Design and Digital Edutainment. She enjoys multidisciplinary approach to solve challenging problems and is updated with the latest tools and methods used in various companies.