Topic: An exploration of the concept of resilience within alternative educational and National Citizen Service settings, focusing on young people’s perceptions – Aimi Racher

Resources: You can read Aimi’s research dissertation.

Session Summary: The resilience forum focuses on two research projects, both contributing to addressing a lack of young peoples’ perspectives on attempts to build their resilience. Research was undertaken within the voluntary sector, at an inner-city alternative education provision, catering for traumatised and difficult-to-reach young people, and within the private sector, at the National Citizen Service (NCS); a Government run initiative to engage a more cohesive society and enhance resilience among young people. A review of the literature discusses the problematic nature of the concept of resilience, and draws upon theoretical underpinnings and practical perspectives of reflection, Maslow’s hierarchy of needs (1943) and the resilience framework, developed by Angie Hart and colleagues (2007). Findings from qualitative data, derived from fieldwork and semi-structured interviews with young people, initially identify understandings of resilience as a basis of emergent themes. The themes of learning, increased confidence and self-esteem, belonging to a diverse community, and new opportunities and experiences emerge to demonstrate the young peoples’ views on attempts to develop resilience at the respective organisations. Outcomes also identify sustained resilience development among a majority of research participants and provide a unique opportunity to understand some of the key concepts involved in the development of young peoples’ resilience.

Biography: Aimi developed a love for learning late on in life. During her career working with vulnerable and disadvantaged young people in schools, she returned to Higher Education and focused her degree on educational inequalities, informing her passion for social justice. Aimi has extensive experience of mentoring young people with complex needs from working across a range of educational settings, including primary and secondary mainstream schools, pupil referral units and third-sector education providers. Her knowledge gained from practice and studying raised her consciousness to how young people overcome adversity and what can be done to support the development of resilience in young people. Aimi will commence Masters level study at the University of Brighton in September 2016.

Who might be most interested: Academics, practitioners, researchers, students, parents, carers, community workers, volunteers, public sector workers, young people, service users.

Further reading:
Maslow, A. (1943) A Theory of Human Motivation, In Maslow, A. and Webb, D. (2013) Psychology Classics; A Theory of Human Motivation, New York: Independent publisher
Hart, A., Blincow, D. and Thomas, H. (2007) Resilient Therapy, working with children and families, Hove: Routledge

This session took place on Monday 11 January 2016.

The Resilience Forum is for ANYBODY (with a pulse!) involved with or interested in resilience research!

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