Dan’s Insights & Tips


How to Foster Wellbeing and Tenacity in Students

building resilience in the classroom

Every classroom is a hub of untapped potential, where young minds brim with creativity, innovation, and raw talent. Yet, these qualities remain dormant without the crucial ingredient of resilience.

The power of resilience isn’t simply about bouncing back; it’s about learning to thrive amidst life’s twists and turns. It’s about nurturing wellbeing and fostering tenacity in the face of adversity.

Resilience is the catalyst that empowers teens to face the monkeys on their backs, those stressors, distractions, burdens and limiting beliefs that weigh them down.

It’s also intrinsically linked with wellbeing. Research shows that resilient individuals are more likely to have lower stress levels, better mental health, and improved life satisfaction.

An article from Mayo Clinic mentions that resilience will not make difficulties go away, but it will offer the ability to see past them, find satisfaction in life, and deal with stress more effectively. If teens aren’t as resilient as they’d like to be, teens can work on developing and learning new abilities to help them become more resilient.

Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.

(Helen Keller)

So, if you’re an educator, what can you do to transform your classroom into a powerhouse of optimism, tenacity, and growth?

Here are 5 practical strategies that you can implement to nurture resilience and wellbeing in your classrooms.



Every single student has issues and struggles, but also within them have seeds of abundant potential, and it’s the growth mindset that unlocks this potential.

I’ve experienced this first hand. I struggled for most of my schooling journey. I experienced severe bullying throughout primary and high school, along with mental health challenges, and was not expected to finish Year 10. It was hard. But through the combined support of my amazing parents and key teachers, and the power of consistent effort, hard work and perseverance, I ended up finishing Year 12 and was included in the HSC merit listing for outstanding academic results. And now, as a grown adult with a few runs on the board, it never ceases to amaze me how powerful the growth mindset is when it comes to unlocking potential in all areas of life.

Here are a few suggestions to cultivate a growth mindset:

  • Encourage students to set learning goals and reflect on their progress regularly. For example, have students create individual goal-setting journals where they document their goals and track their achievements.
  • Celebrate effort and perseverance alongside academic achievements. Acknowledge and praise students’ hard work and resilience in overcoming challenges.
  • Incorporate growth mindset language in classroom discussions and feedback. Encourage phrases like “I haven’t mastered it yet” instead of “I can’t do it” to promote a positive outlook on learning.
  • Use real life stories, either personal or of other people, as a means to inspire students and enlarge the vision and belief.

Students must have initiative; they should not be mere imitators. They must learn to think and act for themselves – and be free.

(César Chávez)


Helping students become comfortable with their emotions and develop emotional intelligence is essential for building resilience.

According to Dr Jeffrey Bernstein, a highly respected teen clinical psychologist and author, “EQ is a key predictor of a child’s ability to develop suitable peer relationships, get along at home, develop a well-balanced outlook on life, and reach their academic potential at school”.

Here are a few suggestions to promote emotional intelligence:

  • Integrate daily check-ins or reflection activities where students can express their emotions and thoughts. For instance, use a feelings chart or mood journal to encourage students to identify and communicate their emotions. According to ReachOut Australia, teens must get comfortable with their feelings and be able to communicate them correctly in order to be resilient. Assist students in realizing that they control their emotions and thoughts, not the other way around.
  • Teach students active listening and empathy skills through role-playing activities or group discussions. Provide scenarios where students can practice understanding and validating others’ perspectives and emotions. This can support better conflict management and the creation of a harmonious classroom environment.
  • Incorporate mindfulness or relaxation exercises into the classroom routine, such as guided breathing or short meditation sessions, to help students develop self-awareness and emotional regulation.


A good teacher can inspire hope, ignite the imagination, and instill a love of learning.

(Brad Henry)

From my experiences at school and meeting many wonderful educators across the globe through my work, it’s apparent that the remarkable educator doesn’t just simply impart knowledge, but rather creates an environment where students feel empowered, motivated, and ready to embrace their educational journey, nurturing a sense of purpose and self efficiency.

Here are a few suggestions to foster a sense of purpose & self efficacy:

  • Help students identify their passions, strengths, and values, and guide them in setting meaningful goals that involve taking up opportunities to use their strengths. For example, if a student has a passion for playing the guitar, encourage them to join the school band and take up opportunities to showcase their talent.
  • Encourage students to take ownership of their learning and emphasize the importance of effort and perseverance. If a student is struggling in a particular subject and on the verge of giving up, perhaps you can provide them with individualized support (this was a game changer for me when I turned my life around in Year 12). Suggest tutoring. The main thing is that they are continually encouraged to keep going, because it’s from progress where a newfound confidence emerges.
  • Provide opportunities for students to take on leadership roles within the classroom, such as organizing a class event or leading a group discussion. This promotes a sense of ownership and self-efficacy in their abilities.
  • Engage students in project-based learning that connects their academic studies to real-life applications. Encourage them to explore topics they are passionate about and develop projects that align with their interests and goals. For example, a student’s passion might be marine life, so the project could be on ocean conversation.
  • Invite guest speakers or professionals from various fields to share their experiences and inspire students. This exposes students to different career paths and helps them see the relevance and purpose of their education.
  • Provide opportunities to make a difference in the community.


The classroom is more than just a physical space; it’s a haven of learning, development, and growth, and educators play a pivotal role in creating an atmosphere that facilitates not only academic advancement but also, the fostering of trust, empathy and open communication.

I’ve never scored a goal in my life without getting a pass from someone else.

(Abby Wambach)

Here are a few suggestions to build a supportive classroom community:

  • Implement regular class meetings or circle time where students can openly discuss their challenges, share successes, and support one another. Create a safe space for students to seek help and advice from their peers.
  • Encourage collaborative learning activities, group projects, or buddy systems where students work together, learn from each other, and build relationships based on trust and mutual respect.
  • Celebrate diversity and promote inclusivity by incorporating multicultural literature, diverse perspectives, and inclusive language. Foster a classroom environment where everyone feels valued and appreciated.


Self care is not selfish

(Ealonor Brown)

In order for educators to bring their A-game to the classroom and enable and elevate students to their highest potential, educators need to manage their own wellbeing. One cannot pour from an empty cup.

A formula I’ve continually applied to be the leader of my life and empower others is LEARN – DO – TEACH.

Before we can teach self care to others, we need to know what to do, and do it.

Here are a few suggestions to facilitate the practicing of self care in the classroom:

  • Integrate short brain breaks or movement activities throughout the day to help students release physical tension and improve focus. For example, lead quick stretching exercises or dance breaks between lessons.
  • Educate students on the importance of maintaining a balanced lifestyle. Teach them about healthy eating habits, the benefits of physical activity, and the significance of adequate sleep for overall well-being.
  • Provide resources and tools for stress management, such as relaxation apps or mindfulness exercises, that students can access independently when they feel overwhelmed.

To conclude, resilience remains a steadfast pillar in the constantly shifting landscapes of education and adolescence. It’s the tool that gives teens the courage to face their monkeys, the optimism to dream, and the tenacity to reach their fullest potential.

The power to transform classrooms into havens of resilience, wellbeing, and tenacity lies within the hands of educators. By embracing the five strategies outlined above, teachers have the opportunity to create a profound impact on the lives of their students.

I’ll leave you with the inspiring words of the late Nelson Mandela:

Education is the most powerful weapon in which you can use to change the world

(Nelson Mandela)

With every interaction, every lesson, and every moment of guidance, educators can unlock the untapped potential within their students, helping them discover their strengths, overcome obstacles, and flourish. It is a journey of inspiration and dedication, where the rewards extend far beyond the classroom walls.

Share This

Daniel is an award-winning international speaker, trainer, transformational coach, and author, specialising in wellbeing and leadership.

Daniel has developed clever and fun ways to engage, empower and equip thousands of people worldwide  – from students, parents, educators to corporate professionals and business entrepreneurs –  to get the monkeys off their back and thrive. He has been featured on radio and media outlets, and his work has also been acknowledged in NSW Parliament.

Daniel is an accredited Certified Speaking Professional (CSP), an international designation that recognises the experience and professional capability of Australia’s leading speakers.  Daniel is also an accredited Mental Health First Aid Trainer.

To order Daniel’s book Get the Monkeys off Your Backclick here. For more information on Daniel’s school programs, click here. For corporate programs, click here.

Related Posts

Subscribe & THRIVE - Receive Daniel's Best Stuff

Daniel loves to share regular tips and insights that inspire tenacity, optimism and empowerment in others to become the leader of their life and THRIVE.