Bonnie Benard: Keynote at 2009 Urban Sites Network Conference


Published on

Bonnie Benard discusses the role that schools and communities play in supporting the biological drive for normal human development and triumphing over adversity: resiliency.

Benard works to help schools and communities create supportive environments that nurture adolescents' healthy development and life success. Benard has been a senior program associate at WestEd for twenty-five years.

Over the past fifteen years, she has been promoting resiliency through research and has directly affected national policy through her input to the Office of Safe and Drug Free Schools and to the No Child Left Behind Act.

1 Like
  • Be the first to comment

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Bonnie Benard: Keynote at 2009 Urban Sites Network Conference

  1. 1. What’s Resilience Got To Do With It? Helping Our Students See Their Lives in New Ways <ul><li>National Writing Project </li></ul><ul><li>Urban Sites Network Conference </li></ul><ul><li>Louisville, KY </li></ul><ul><li>April 25, 2009 </li></ul><ul><li>Bonnie Benard </li></ul><ul><li>WestEd - Oakland, CA </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul>
  2. 2. Healthy Development of the Whole Child If stakeholders believe schools are responsible for developing the whole child, what needs to change? If decisions about programs started with “What works for the child?” how would resources - time, space, and human - be arrayed to ensure each child’s success? What would happen if community resources were arrayed in support of children reaching their potential as young adults? If students were truly at the center of the system, what could be achieved? Gene Carter ASCD Commission on the Whole Child, 2006
  3. 3. Paradigms for Prevention & Education (Many research/programmatic approaches focus on ‘at-riskness’) Unit of Change Individual Focus Deficits Goal Problem prevention Attitude toward youth Youth-as-Problems Attitude toward diversity Eurocentric Attitude toward learning Mechanistic Strategies emphasize Program and content Locus of control External Philosophy Control Whose needs are met? Bureaucracies Bonnie Benard Risk
  4. 4. Resilience Research (Take a different approach; look instead at…) How children and youth have transformed risk and adversity into healthy development and life success. Aha!
  5. 5. Resilience The transformative power we have to see ourselves, our lives, and others in a new way.
  6. 6. Stories of Resilience…
  7. 7. Major Messages from Resilience Research Most people do make it despite exposure to risk & adversity. # 1
  8. 8. 50 Years of Resilience Research Tells Us That: <ul><ul><li>… When the focus is on supporting & empowering young people, over 70% of young people in the most challenging of life’s conditions not only survive but grow into thriving adults. </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Findings from Resilience Research -Emmy Werner & Ruth Smith RISK  OUTCOME “ Our findings and those by other American and European investigators with a life-span perspective suggest that these buffers (protective factors) make a more profound impact on the life course of children who grow up under adverse conditions than do specific risk factors or stressful life events. They appear to transcend ethnic, social class, geographical and historical boundaries.” BEHAVIOR  CAPACITY “ Most of all, they offer us a more optimistic outlook than the perspective that can be gleaned from the literature on the negative consequences of perinatal trauma, care-giving deficits, and chronic poverty. They provide us with a corrective lens--an awareness of the self-righting tendencies that move children toward normal adult development under all but the most persistent adverse circumstances.”
  10. 10. Major Messages from Resilience Research All people have a resilient nature. # 2
  11. 11. Resilience is our own human capacity to transform & change. <ul><li>Robert J. Lifton </li></ul><ul><li>The Protean Self: Human Resilience in an Age of Transformation </li></ul>
  12. 12. “ Fundamental protective human adaptational systems” -Masten & Reed, 2002 Power Safety Respect Mastery Meaning Love/Belonging Resilience as developmental wisdom in form of intrinsically motivated developmental needs.
  13. 13. Personal Resilience Strengths: What Resilience Looks Like <ul><li>SOCIAL </li></ul><ul><li>Social Competence </li></ul><ul><li>Responsiveness </li></ul><ul><li>Communication </li></ul><ul><li>Empathy/caring </li></ul><ul><li>Compassion </li></ul><ul><li>Altruism </li></ul><ul><li>Forgiveness </li></ul><ul><li>EMOTIONAL </li></ul><ul><li>Autonomy </li></ul><ul><li>Positive Identity </li></ul><ul><li>Internal locus of control </li></ul><ul><li>- Self-efficacy/ mastery </li></ul><ul><li>Initiative </li></ul><ul><li>Humor </li></ul><ul><li>Self-awareness </li></ul><ul><li>Resistance </li></ul><ul><li>Adaptive distancing </li></ul><ul><li>MORAL/SPIRITUAL </li></ul><ul><li>Sense of Purpose & Future </li></ul><ul><li>A special interest/hobby </li></ul><ul><li>Goal directedness </li></ul><ul><li>Imagination/creativity </li></ul><ul><li>Achievement motivation </li></ul><ul><li>Educational aspiration </li></ul><ul><li>Persistence </li></ul><ul><li>Optimism/hope </li></ul><ul><li>Faith </li></ul><ul><li>Sense of Meaning </li></ul><ul><li>COGNITIVE </li></ul><ul><li>Problem-solving </li></ul><ul><li>- Planning </li></ul><ul><li>Flexibility </li></ul><ul><li>Critical thinking/insight </li></ul><ul><li>Resourcefulness </li></ul>Bonnie Benard Resiliency: What We Have Learned, 2004
  14. 14. Major Messages from Resilience Research People matter! # 3
  15. 15. You Matter! “ Kids can walk around trouble if there is someplace to walk to, and someone to walk with.” Tito in Urban Sanctuaries (Milbrey, McLaughlin et. al)
  16. 16. Major Messages from Resilience Research It’s HOW we do what we do that counts. # 4
  18. 18. Protective Factors Critical to Healthy Development & Life Success CARING RELATIONSHIPS “ Being there” Models caring Showing interest in Getting to know Compassion Listening/Dialogue Patience Basic trust/safe HIGH EXPECTATIONS Belief in people’s resilience Respect & confirmation Challenge & support Firm guidance Structure/rituals Strengths-focused Reframing “the story” Teaches personal resilience MEANINGFUL PARTICIPATION Safe places Inclusion Responsibility/voice & choice Participant-driven Experiential skill development Creative expression Contribution Caring for others Peer support
  19. 19. The Power of Listening “ I believe all any of us really wants is to feel truly and deeply heard, seen, acknowledged, and allowed to be ourselves… Maybe if we just practiced listening more, we’d better understand what a profound and empowering gift this simple act can be.” Jon Wilson Hope Magazine (#40), 2003
  20. 20. Power of Sharing Our Stories “ Hidden in all stories is the One story. The more we listen, the clearer that Story becomes. Our true identity, who we are, why we are here, what sustains us, is in this story… In telling them, we are telling each other the human story. Stories that touch us in this place of common humanness awaken us and weave us together as a family once again.” -Rachel Naomi Remen, Kitchen Table Wisdom , 1996
  21. 21. Turning Pain Into Power “ By structuring a curriculum that allows room for students’ lives and by listening to their stories, I can locate the right book, the right poem that turns pain into power.” Linda Christensen, Rethinking Schools , Spring 2009
  22. 22. Major Messages from Resilience Research The process of tapping resilience begins with the belief of caregivers in human resilience. # 5
  23. 23. Reframing: Risk to Resilience DEFICITS STRENGTHS Hyperactive __________ Impulsive __________ Stubborn __________ Willful __________ Tests Limits __________ Explosive __________ Defiant __________ Angry __________ Withdrawn __________ Aggressive __________ Victim __________
  24. 24. Our Resilience: The Power We Have to See in a New Way “ We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: The last of his freedoms--to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” -Viktor Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning
  25. 25. Teaching Personal Resilience Means Challenging the 4 P’s* <ul><li>Personal “This isn’t your fault.” </li></ul><ul><li>Pervasive “There are good things.” </li></ul><ul><li>Permanent “This too, shall pass.” </li></ul><ul><li>Prompt “Have patience and trust the process.” </li></ul>*Adapted from Martin Seligman, Learned Optimism
  26. 26. Paradigms for Prevention & Education Unit of Change Individual Environment Focus Deficits Assets and Strengths Goal Problem prevention Healthy development Attitude toward youth Youth-as-Problems Youth-as-Resource Attitude toward diversity Eurocentric Multicultural Attitude toward learning Mechanistic Constructivist Strategies emphasize Program and content People and Place Locus of control External Internal Philosophy Control Connectedness Whose needs are met? Bureaucracies Young peoples’ Bonnie Benard Risk Resilience
  27. 27. Resilience in action… Shared Vision Belief In Human Resilience … begins with a Professional Learning Community Staff Needs Safety Love/Belonging Respect Power Mastery Meaning Staff Resilience Empathy Humor Problem Solving Self-Efficacy Purpose/Hope OP CR CR OP OP OP OP CR CR CR HE HE HE HE Staff Learning Community
  28. 28. “ A shared vision is a force in people’s hearts. Few, if any, forces in human affairs are as powerful as shared vision.” - Peter Senge The Fifth Discipline, 1990 Turning to One Another “ There is no power greater than a community discovering what it cares about.” - Margaret Wheatley, 2002