A University learning experience is about more than the acquisition of subject-based knowledge and skills; it is an experience which can be exciting and challenging, nurturing, rewarding, demanding. It can be a time when individuals develop a new sense of authenticity and identity, and when previous coping strategies and techniques are no longer as effective as they might once have been.
As part of curriculum design it is important to think about how we support students in responding to these new challenges. How can course design promote emotional balance, the development of relationships and networks and help students to understand their own responses to pressure, challenge and potential stress?
In this 'petal' of the toolkit, we explore tools and resources which can develop student resilience; critical to the continuation and success of our students through their studies, lives and into their worlds of work. This can be considered alongside the guidance for the embedding of employability, enterprise and entrepreneurship in the curriculum, as well as the key principles of inclusive design.
Learning which promotes resilience and wellbeing is learning which supports students in developing their sense of self-efficacy as a learner, their ability to develop relationships and to develop emotional control. Considering the wellbeing of your students and of your self as part of your learning design is critical to the success of your course and your students.
AMOSSHE, the Student Services Organisation have developed resources and a resource bank to help universities to develop student resilience. some key resources are highlighted below:
These activities can be developed into Personal Academic Coach group and individual conversations, through academic skills modules or through your block learning hubs. They can, of course, be co-designed and delivered with colleagues from Student Life or Library and Learning Services can can be used to sign post additional support available.
Gilbert (2017) defines compassion as "a sensitivity to suffering in self and others with a commitment to try and alleviate and prevent it". There are a number of ways we can explore and utilise compassionate pedagogies in our curriculum design, through inclusive practices, learning delivery, and assessment.
Developing compassion in students
Group working is an excellent opportunity to support students in developing social cohesion, and the art of noticing the impact of themselves on the presence of others in a collaborative exercise or conversation. It is also an opportunity to support students in developing skills to make themselves more present in conversation and team working.