Resourceful Learning

Teaching for Life Success: Why Resourcefulness Matters

How do students learn to use their information in order to attain their objectives? If information is not properly processed, structured, and applied, it can become a cause of irritation rather than fulfilment for the individual. Children learn to use and apply their information as they develop abilities in planning, organising, making decisions, and problem solving, among other things..

Collectively, these abilities serve as the foundation for resourcefulness, which is defined as the capacity to locate and use available resources to attain goals. When students anticipate multiple outcomes, set objectives, experiment with novel techniques, and navigate problems, they are able to make significant connections between their prior knowledge and their ultimate goal accomplishment. They develop into conscientious architects of their own destinies.

The Power to Determine and Shape the Future

It is not possible to predict resourcefulness based on academic achievement or test scores. To the contrary, most teachers are familiar with bright college graduates who fail to answer common tasks. Being resourceful takes more than just mental agility. It takes the ability to assimilate information both emotionally and intellectually in order to be successful. According to research, resourceful students are not only better at reaching their goals, but they are also better at responding when under pressure. According to one study, academic stress had a negative influence on the grades of students who possessed a low level of resourcefulness, but had no effect on the grades of students who possessed a high level of resourcefulness.

In recent years, we’ve come to distinguish a set of brain processes that assist youngsters in achieving their goals as executive functioning skills, which are a subset of cognitive abilities. They are located in the frontal lobes of the brain and assist pupils in the planning, beginning, monitoring, and completion of projects of all sizes. Student’s ability to create successful paths through life is enhanced by these similar abilities. Because of the lack of these abilities, everyday life can feel like being on a ship that has lost its direction.

The Compass Advantage (a programme meant to engage families, schools, and communities in the concepts of good youth development) emphasises the importance of resourcefulness since the ability to select and shape our own futures adds to long-term happiness and success. Resources are linked to each of the other Compass abilities, with sociability and resilience being the most closely associated. Creativity and self-awareness are also linked to resourcefulness.

Compass with Resourcefulness highlighted, as well as other points of Creativity, Empathy, Curiosity, Sociability, Resilience, Self-Awareness, and Integrity, among other things.
Marilyn Price-Mitchell, PhD, is the photographer for this image.
There is a wealth of information available to assist teachers in improving the executive functioning skills of their students. The Harvard University Center on the Developing Child offers a free resource titled Enhancing and Practicing Executive Function Skills with Children from Infancy to Adolescence, which may be downloaded here. Dr. Christopher Kaufman’s excellent book Executive Function in the Classroom: Practical Strategies for Improving Performance and Enhancing Skills for All Students is a great place to start if you want to learn more about the subject.

In order for pupils to learn to self-regulate, they must first develop executive functioning skills that will guide them in both their short- and long-term activities. The importance of teaching the broader concept of how to become a resourceful individual and why this is vital in life should not be overlooked. Students gain resourcefulness as a result of their efforts to achieve their objectives. When teachers encourage children to plan, organise, prioritise, set objectives, seek resources, and monitor their progress, they are creating environments that cultivate resourcefulness.

7 Ways to Foster Resourcefulness

1. Instill a sense of resourcefulness in children: “Success does not depend on your financial resources,” says Tony Robbins. It all comes down to how creative you can be with what you have.” When students hear the tales of other resourceful people, they are more likely to understand what it means to be resourceful. What kids take away from reading biographies of luminaries such as Temple Grandin, Richard Branson, and Walt Disney is that all types of learners are capable of reusing their resources. Their characteristics include the ability to see beyond conventional answers, the determination to persevere when challenges become hard, and the ability to learn from their mistakes along the way. Toss out a challenge to your pupils to study stories of resourceful people. What exactly did they do? Why? What methods did they use to achieve their objectives?

2. Apply knowledge of problem solving to new situations: George Polya, a mathematics educator from the United States, established one of the most recognised and straightforward techniques to teaching problem solving in 1945. He identified four fundamental concepts that serve as the foundation for all issue solving:

Recognize the nature of the problem.
Make a strategy for achieving your goals.
Put the plan into action.
Take a step back.
A.C. Burris, in his book A Five-Element Problem-Solving Process, adds a fifth and crucial step to the list: observation. Extend the scope of the problem. This provides students with opportunities to practise generalising and applying what they’ve learned in a range of settings and situations. Teaching problem solving principles across a range of topic areas and real-world situations should be a goal for all teachers in the future. This fifth stage assists pupils in making connections between resourcefulness and other elements of their lives.

Encourage pupils to use technology: There is a plethora of technology available to assist them in becoming more resourceful and productive in their studies. For example, mind mapping can assist children in better understanding problems and developing plans by visualising connections between them, summarising multiple perspectives on difficulties, and choosing next steps. Students can use electronic planners, note-taking applications, and timeline software to help them see their plans through to the finish line.

Students’ problem-solving processes should be encouraged to be reflected on. Help students comprehend what it means to look back in order to reinforce the fourth principle of Polya’s problem-solving approach by teaching them how to do so. Instruct children to examine their own thought processes. What would they do differently if they had the chance again?

5. Encourage both independence and collaboration: While independence and collaboration may appear to be diametrically opposed, they are both required for becoming resourceful in one’s own right. Students should be able to distinguish between tasks that are best completed alone and those that are best completed in a group setting. Students should be asked which responsibilities need be completed by whom prior to beginning a class project. Why? What role does teamwork play in the success or failure of the project? When students participate in the planning of classroom projects, which is frequently done by teachers, they get to witness directly what leads to successful outcomes. Upon completion of the assignment, ask students to review what went well and what could have been done differently to better the final outcome.

Students should be taught how to practise the art of positive scepticism. Being resourceful implies acquiring the ability to consider various solutions to a single problem. It also necessitates an element of scepticism. Developing scepticism in children—requiring extra proof before accepting a claim as true—allows us to prepare them to be resourceful problem solvers as they grow older. Teachers can instil healthy scepticism in their students by acting as role models such as Galileo and Steve Jobs in the classroom.

7. Flip your classroom: One of the benefits of flipped classrooms is the flexibility of teachers to give customised education while also encouraging students to work at their own speed. As an alternative to assigning homework to students for planning, organising, and problem solving, teachers can witness these processes in action in the classroom. This enables them to identify when pupils encounter hurdles that prevent them from achieving their objectives. Students’ ability to learn from their planning and organisational issues can be enhanced with the appropriate supervision and support. See Jonathan Bergmann and Aaron Sams’ book, Flip Your Classroom: Reach Every Student in Every Class Every Day, is available online.