Traits that Resilient Schools Possess


A New Frontier

We are entering an era of uncertainty: unprecedented digital disruption, constant changing nature of work, and a new-found virus that alter everyone routines across the globe. Working patterns are more diverse than ever as both in form: part-time working, flexi-time hour, remote collaboration, job-sharing, compressed workweek, and in the nature of work as automation is freeing manual, repetitive work.

This fact shakes to the core of schools: What should students be prepare for the future of work while we are in the face of an unpredictable future? What do schools need to do to navigate through these tough times?


Resilient is the New Challenge

In this new reality, it is not enough to train students into knowledge workers, but rather resilient individuals who can withstand the hardship that yet to be discovered. Drawing from research and current practices, the Christensen Institute presents these 7 traits that could guide leaders to adopt the resilient culture.

1. Student Relationship Mapping

Young people need relationships to thrive. When school pays attention to fostering a network of supportive peers, mentors, coaches and other caring adults, it can actually help students both inside and outside of the classroom.


2. Real-world Connection

Leaders can utilize technology to connect students to the real world and new network. COVID-19 has thrown a wrench in the normal ways young people gain work experience and career exposure: through summer jobs, internships, and work-based learning. But some programs have gotten creative with online alternatives, even before the crisis. “A number of online tools and programs can mitigate safety concerns while still providing the assets young people stand to gain with summer work—income, academic credits, and access to professional networks,” Julia from Christensen Institute notes.

3. Credit-based on mastery, not seat time.

In competency- and mastery-based systems, inputs like seat time become less important than individual learning outcomes. One of the biggest challenges facing schools this fall is to determine where students are in their learning, and whether or not they should advance to the next grade level.

4. Blended Learning Models

The recent pandemic has forces schools to be digitalized. However, schools should not stop at replicating the experience of brick-and-mortar classroom. Rather, look at online schools that spend years of overcoming the limits of virtual connection, leaders may find greater affordances in terms of flexibility, customization, and student ownership of learning.

5, Students are Assets, Not Costs

When resources like staff capacity and funding run short, it can make high-quality student-centered learning seem like a longshot. But some schools and programs are seeing a glimmer of opportunity to invite students—usually seen only as the beneficiaries of resources—to pitch in with valuable contributions once their basic needs are met. In seeing student agency as not just a goal but a resource to rely on, these models may be able to deliver learning experiences and outcomes that can otherwise seem out of reach.

6. Flexible Collaboration

Our school systems are accustomed to conventional planning: for example, teachers often confirm a scope and sequence for the entire semester, and many schools submit annual accountability plans to the district. But conventional planning relies upon knowledge built from past experience. In circumstances where knowledge is scarce and conventional approaches to planning just won’t work, a different approach to planning can help schools be systematic about planning when assumptions are all they have to work with.

7. _____________________________

The research has led us to the previous six hypotheses about elements of innovative design that help schools both deliver on their core mission to educate students, and adapt more easily in the face of crisis. But these are certainly not the only answers for all. It is important for you to look at your own schools and decide what is the best solution.

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