• New School, Canterbury

Resilience vs Inner Strength?

Updated: Mar 27, 2019

Resilience is a buzz word commonly used in the context of education.

A 16 year old ex-Waldorf pupil pulled us up on this and said, ‘ I don’t want to be ‘resilient’...  resilience means putting barriers up around your feelings and that is not healthy.’

She said, ‘I want to have inner strength not resilience!’ We asked her what that looks like and she said, ‘It might look the same on the outside but it feels different on the inside. A person who loves themselves acts out of inner strength.’

Currently at a traditional Independent School, she explained that ‘schools teach you to put up with things that are not healthy. My teachers seem concerned if I am not stressed about my GCSEs’. Stress is normalised and seen as a necessary motivation. The focus is on results rather than the process.

She explained that her Waldorf school never did that. ‘They were more concerned about you becoming the best person that you could be and about your real learning. You got to the same place but in an inner strength vs a resilient way.. in a loving/ connected vs a ‘cut off’ way!’

She explained that at her Waldorf school the pupils were encouraged to connect with themselves and each other. Conflicts were seen as learning opportunities and her teacher would support them to find the underlying issues and to address those. That is much more challenging than just being forced to shake hands and apologise and put up with each other.


Healthy Resilience comes from inner strength, self understanding and self love and that is what all schools should strive to nurture!


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