Session 105: How to make your students more independent and resilient?

Session Summary

As Chandler Bing once said on Friends, “Can open, worms everywhere…”

#UKEdchat sessions always attract a broad selection of educators from management to teacher, from Primary to Secondary and beyond. There were contrasting views and lots of examples shared.

With various debates taking place flitting around many different areas linked to the topic it was an interesting #UKEdchat to host. One discussion point that caused some heated debate was that of progressive teaching methodologies vs. the more traditional. Certainly however, there was some consensus that the following ideas are helpful in creating an atmosphere which is conducive to supporting independence and resilience:

    Failure good

Spoon feeding culture not


A number of people referred to Samuel Beckett’s famous quote about failure too:


“Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.”


There was also good references to sound educational theory from the following:


Guy Claxton






“@eylandezekiel: #ukedchat we should not be teaching for ‘Independence’. We should be fostering, and modelling ‘Interdependence’.”


This tweet was quite pivotal. I probed and asked him to expand…


“@eylandezekiel Gosh, where to start. Ok- as humans, we are most successful when we work collaboratively, not on our own”


Following Eylan’s tweets there seemed to be some consensus that this was commonly felt amongst participants.


Other key quotes:


“@urbanteacher: The best way to discipline kids is to start w/ love, continue w/ high expectations & finish by taking no BS. #ukedchat”


“@JamiePortman: Teachers can be students worst enemy for developing independence & resilience. We are too quick to intervene: gotta learn 2 let go”


Which @MrPHorner followed up with (and quite rightly, probably)


“@MrPHorner: And often for the sake of expedience. Too true.”


There became a definite movement of tweets and exasperation from participants that the reason why students end up being supported as much as they do was down to teachers feeling stressed by the pressure of results, thus resulting in them offering what could be seen to be too much support, stifling independent work and learning.


“@lizdudley: totally agree with that, I’m far too quick to leap in with support sometimes, need to breathe & let them work it out”


“@jamesmichie: Because their teacher will not always be there. Schools foster learned dependency”


“@jamesdhobsonuk: No politically possible. If intervene massively I can improve results. Pay rises+lovely numbers all round”




“@thelazyteacher: Fear of failure is a trigger for saying, “Sir, I am stuck”. Remove fear by allowing and planning more stuck time.


“@JamiePortman: Perhaps teachers need to identify a hierarchy of response re: students ‘being stuck’. Is teacher intervention really necessary?”


“@mattpearson: Resilience means very real chance of failure, but with high stakes testing across the ed. System, the temptation is to play safe”


I guess this was the theme for the whole chat really. Most participants realised that independence and particularly resilience (and interdependence) of students is what we strive for, but under the regime of league tables, exams results, it is often all too easy to pick up the spoon and rush to the aid of students.


Another theme that carried through the chats is that students need motivation – he mentioned it in the #ukedchat so I don’t mind going back to something I heard @thelazyteacher say at #TMClevedon on this front about when students get stuck….


Ask them:


“Imagine if you weren’t stuck, what would that look like?”
“What would you do if I offered you £1 million to be unstuck, what would you do?”
And if all else fails, keep playing Billy Ocean’s “When the going gets tough” until the student actually starts helping themselves become unstuck – if nothing else it’s a great track:


Mark Anderson is Subject Leader of ICT at Clevedon School, North Somerset and has been a teacher for 15 years. He writes a personal weblog ( on Teaching & Learning and how this can be advanced through the use of technology and is an active member of the educational Twitter community.

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