Building Resilience on the Ski Field

“Resilience is the capacity to recover from challenges or difficulties and continue to move forward. Although resilient people experience difficulties like everyone else, they are able to adapt and change paths to find a solution, instead of feeling defeated.” (Ed Gazette, 2018)

For some of our students who participated in the field trips up the mountain, it was their first time skiing or snowboarding, for some it was even the first time up the mountain. In order to be successful and improve their skiing and snowboarding skills and confidence during their lessons, resilience was essential.

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The Education Hub identifies five strategies that are resilience-enhancing: 

  • Positive reinterpretation: reinterpreting a stressful event in positive terms

  • Humour: finding aspects to laugh at in order to minimise stress

  • Active coping: initiating direct action to mitigate the stress

  • Planning: selecting a series of steps to best handle the problem

  • Seeking help and social support: seeking advice, assistance or information, moral support, empathy or understanding

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At various times throughout the day the students had to utilise one, two or even more of these strategies. As we had done with the yoyo’s, we had to persevere and learn from our mistakes, often getting up off the snow, shaking ourselves off and trying again.

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The power of ‘yet’ was important. Heading into the second day up the mountain I found myself saying “I can’t ski yet” after having a bit of a fall the previous time up the mountain that had knocked my confidence. Repeating this phrase to myself created a positive reinterpretation about something I could not yet do - but would be able to do with more success after further practise. There were still occasions when I fell over, 'yet' managed to see the funny side of this and learn from my mistakes. 

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We were lucky enough to have some fantastic ski instructors who provided great support for myself and the students - all specific to what we needed at that moment. Our parents also provided great encouragement when it was needed. 

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Learning to ski was a real challenge for myself and some of the students. 

Keywords: Resilience, Growth Mindset, The Power of Yet

Hargraves, V, for The Education Hub,  An introduction to resilience in educational settings, retrieved from https://theeducationhub.org.nz/an-introduction-to-resilience-in-educational-settings/ 

Ed Gazette, 2018, Supporting resilience in students, Volume 97:15, retrieved from https://gazette.education.govt.nz/articles/supporting-resilience-in-students/

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