Gabrielle Rowles – Senior Trainer and Developer at Boingboing

I have a background in both social work and teaching. I began my working life supporting disadvantaged groups or individuals, often using sport and outdoor adventure. This culminated in a role with Brighton and Hove Sports Development team, where I developed an Urban Adventure Programme to give vulnerable people access to the benefits of climbing, abseiling and canoeing etc. Following this I was a History teacher for 18 years in two different state secondary schools. Whilst I loved teaching my subject, I also enjoyed the pastoral side of teaching, particularly encouraging all young people to recognise their potential and helping them to develop a language to challenge inequity. History lessons are a great vehicle to demonstrate the potential for people-power.

More recently I discovered the concept of resilience through a Boingboing Resilience Forum and was very excited about the possibilities of the Academic Resilience Approach. I was asked by my school to lead a research project which investigated the persistent attainment gap in schools between disadvantaged and non-disadvantaged students. As part of a Masters in Education dissertation, I focused on the use of adult-to-child mentoring as a means to support young people who were not thriving in school. We used the Resilience Framework to structure mentoring so that students could gain an awareness of how they can develop and enhance their own resilience. This enabled the mentoring to target specific factors and mechanisms. The feedback from students and mentors was very positive and convinced me of the potential benefits of using the Framework in this way.

I enjoy delivering training and facilitating research groups, usually with lots of energy. Students used to say that I brought History to life, even if this meant dressing up as Henry VIII for an interview, and while this isn’t likely to happen during resilience training workshops (although I still have the beard), I am always looking for ways to ensure that training is relevant, creative and inclusive.