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Thriving, Not Just Surviving: A Study of How Supervisors Build Resilience in New Teachers Entering High-Needs Schools


This study examined the ways in which the interactions between university supervisors and pre-service teachers during student teaching support the development of emotional resilience. My research design applied qualitative methods with a sample of five supervisors and nine student teachers from two universities in a major metropolitan area. Observations and interviews were used to determine how supervisors engaged in four core supportive practices associated with resilience: (1) asset-based and solutions-oriented, (2) centered on problem solving, (3) encourages reflective practice, (4) support emotional well-being. The findings show that supervisors employed multiple tactics, at varying degrees, to help build the skills and mindsets associated with resilience, such as eliciting optimism and framing problems as solvable. Furthermore, the use of a teaching rubric to describe and praise productive teaching moves was related to strategic use of asset-based feedback. However, there were few instances of students engaging in deep reflection or problem-solving on their own. The findings suggest that the common structure used for debriefing may be hindering the capacity for student teachers to thoroughly deconstruct and interrogate their own practice, which is critical for the development of resilience. Teacher preparation programs are encouraged to evaluate and revise their supervisory processes to provide more opportunities for student teacher-led reflective practice and substantive problem-solving throughout the student teaching experience.

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