Resilience Rounders

Lesson powerpoint here

  • Play Malaki Paul video. What do they think happened to Malaki that caused him to stop singing? How did he get back up on stage? Ask students for their own examples of demanding situations where unhelpful thinking can pull them off track and how they deal with it.
  • Resilience rounders: the aim of the game is to learn to challenge unhelpful thinking in demanding situations. (You will need to softball bat and ball in the WB classroom, or you can just play with pieces of screwed up paper as a ‘ball’ and hands for bats).

Set up: you will need to model the game with a student to start with. Call to mind a demanding situation (e.g. teaching a difficult or disengaged class/an interview not going well). Give the first student you are working with an idea of some of the thoughts you might have in that difficult situation (“they think I’m a rubbish teacher”/”I’ll never get this job”/”everything I do is rubbish” etc). The student’s job is to pitch the softball towards you whilst voicing the thoughts YOU might have in this situation. Your job is to try to gently bat the ball away whilst also challenging the thought with one of 3 phrases “that’s not always true because…” (where you look for evidence to dismiss the thought), “another way of seeing this might be…” (where you try to think flexibly about the situation) or “a more likely outcome is…” (where you try to think more optimistically). When you have modelled it, split class into groups of 3 or 4 to play the game, with everyone getting a turn with the bat.

  • Play clip from ‘Touching the Void. Ask students to look for elements of real time resilience in Joe Simpson and Simon Yates’ handling of the climbing accident. How did they challenge unhelpful thoughts by coming up with evidence, alternative thoughts or more optimistic perspectives?
  • The danger of denial. Put the Albert Speer quote up on the screen. Discuss with students the danger of batting away all thoughts that challenge our view of the world. What safety measures can we put in place to make sure that we don’t dismiss any grains of truth in our thinking? If we discover a grain of truth, what should we do with it? Remember, the aim of resilience is to develop flexible and accurate thinking NOT blasé, unrealistic or blinkered thinking. Images of horse and blinkers/tunnel vision/ostrich.

Plenary and prep: Try resilience rounders when in demanding situations and write about it. Students could also watch ‘A Boy Called Alex’ and reflect on how Alex Stobbs used ‘resilience rounders’.