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There are many different definitions of resilience used in research and practice. Some people think of resilience as:

  •  Bouncing Back, Bouncing Up or Bouncing Forward
  • Doing better than you’d think given the circumstances
  • Beating the odds

Of the many definitions, we like the one that was coined by developmental psychologist Ann Masten. She describes resilience as ‘Ordinary Magic’, meaning that in many cases, a resilient outcome doesn’t come about as a result of something particularly earth shattering happening, it’s just everyday stuff, like getting a teacher to give a bit more attention to a particularly disadvantaged child for example. Masten describes it as: 

Overly reductive and simplistic definitions risk ‘responsibilising’ the individual, and fail to acknowledge the important roles of family, school and the wider community in supporting people’s resilience. Over the years, we’ve steered more towards definitions that focus on external processes and mechanisms, and definitions that help us to think through what those of us in networks supporting disadvantaged people can do to make a difference. In one of our books, we talk about resilient moves being:

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See also

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