Promoting Resilience in Higher Education
Undertaking his first teaching experience with a group of students he doesn’t know leads Luke to describe one of his key challenges as “trying to make sure we connect with the students”. This activation of the people-centred disposition is also shown in the way he relates to and cares for his teaching partner (“co-teaching, we’re equal going in”) and in the way he sees the cohort as “a community of PSTs being able to bounce ideas off each other”. This people-centred disposition is at the core of his approach as a pre-service teacher, and leads to the activation of other dispositions. He is reflective and draws on his previous experiences with sport which enable him to be responsive and problem-solve in his teaching experiences. He comments, “you’ve just got to adapt, you just deal with whatever comes at you”. He activates his reflective and critically attentive dispositions as he questions his classroom teaching experience: “really it’s that meta-thinking. Thinking about how the students are going to think.” This enables him to make judgements about the teaching and learning context.
After the second VIA session where the students were not as engaged and exhibited some challenging behaviours, he illustrates his use of the creative disposition and describes himself as being open to learning, saying that “you can’t do more than what you’re capable of … you have to let things go. You’ve got to just regroup, refocus and go again when you get the next opportunity and learn from that.” Drawing on his reflective disposition he is highly self-aware, describing himself as tending “to see the dark side of things.” This self-awareness leads him to activate his strategic disposition in order to deal with his tendency to be “one who overthinks the negatives”. He talks about employing strategies that enable him to take the opportunity to step back from the experience, saying “in this relationship BRiTE module that I did, it spoke about really communicating with a friend or talking about things and I’ll probably see a friend this afternoon”. His use of the creative disposition reinforces his openness to learning and this leads to him being optimistic about future growth “Something that keeps me positive would be: knowing that it is alright to make mistake, we do fail at things sometimes … we do make mistakes … these lessons will help us moving forward.”