Factors that affect the lives of resilient students: Lessons for educational leaders from resilient students

Glenda Pope Morrison, Fayetteville State University

Abstract

Educational leaders and educators are faced with many challenges in today's schools. One of those challenges is teaching and being successful with students at-risk for academic failure who come from disadvantaged backgrounds. Students are growing up in environments with drugs, alcohol, poverty, violence, and crime. However, some students are overcoming these obstacles in their lives. These students are known as resilient students. The purpose of this qualitative study was to determine what educational factors and how they are helpful to resilient students in obtaining academic success. Other factors in resilient students' lives that were examined were socioeconomic background of the family, personal characteristics of the students, influential/supportive people in the students' lives, and environmental factors. ^ In order to determine how resilient students are academically successful, two high schools in Cumberland County were selected. Principals; were asked for permission to interview students within their school. Guidance counselors were interviewed in order to obtain the names of high achieving students at-risk for academic failure who were juniors or seniors. Six students were selected with parental consent and the number of resilient students available within each school. Interviews were conducted in order to examine what educational factors and how they were helpful to students at-risk for academic failure succeed in school. Based upon the students' answers to the interview questions, snowball sampling was conducted with other individuals who had an effect on the resilient students' lives. Upon completion of the interviews, answers to the questions were analyzed by the constant comparative method to determine what school factors and how they were influential in making these students resilient. Triangulation, the use of multiple sources to confirm findings, was used by examining answers given by educational leaders, guidance counselors, teachers, parents, and significant other adults. ^ The findings of this study showed instructional strategies/educational programs, socioeconomic background of the family, personal characteristics of the students, influential/supportive people, and environmental factors had an effect on resilient students' lives. Based on students' answers to the interview questions, two factors that were most influential were personal characteristics of the students and influential/supportive people in the students' lives. Personal characteristics of the students had an influence on their school success. These resilient students had an inner drive to do well in school. Also, all six students who participated in this study indicated that there were people in their lives who were very influential and supportive to them in their educational experiences. These influential/supportive people included people at home and people at school, The findings of this study provide insight for educational leaders and educators on how to help students at-risk for academic failure become successful in school. Educational strategies can then be implemented in the schools which will help these students become resilient and succeed. ^

Subject Area

Education, Sociology of|Education, Administration|Education, Secondary

Recommended Citation

Morrison, Glenda Pope, "Factors that affect the lives of resilient students: Lessons for educational leaders from resilient students" (2001). ETD Collection for Fayetteville State University. AAI3027013.
http://digitalcommons.uncfsu.edu/dissertations/AAI3027013

Share

COinS