Themes of Resiliency, Learning, and Leadership
Table 1 Whole Task Objectives and Session Objectives for the Themes of Resiliency, Learning, and Leadership.
The whole task approach provides a holistic look at the entire process and intended
outcomes. And, a more traditional syllabus look at this course is provided in the
following table (Table 2).
Table 2 Brief Course Syllabus.
o This three credit course blends current research on resiliency, learning, and
leadership in an integrative manner to foster individual leadership. Focus is on
the: physical, psychological, and social systems of resiliency; psychological
principles applied to learning and instructional design; and analysis of readings
addressing practical and theoretical leadership principles.
o Research and apply theories, values, and constructs known to promote an
understanding of resiliency, learning, and leadership.
o Identify, assess, and develop methods addressing the physical systems of
nutrition, exercise, and sleep.
o Identify, assess, and develop methods addressing the psychological system of
o Identify, assess, and develop methods addressing social support and lifelong
resilience and the application of resilience within multiple contexts.
o Apply theoretical and practical methods relating to the study of learning,
instructional design, evaluation, and teaching.
o Identify and develop attitudes and skills for improving learning success.
o Understand behavioral and social attributes relating to decision making and
o Explore personal values and approaches relating to awareness, decision making,
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- Expectations … Returning Veterans and Goal Setting
Define the concepts of resilience and stress.
The objective is the learning intent of this session. As you read this objective and
participate in the activities that follow, attempt to relate this objective to the current
activity and the broader concept presented as the Whole Task Objectives. The Whole
Task Objectives typically span three sessions with each of the three sessions
contributing to your overall understanding of the Whole Task Objective.
Whole Task Objectives
Apply and test methods to increase reading comprehension and learning.
Understand the purpose of measurement and obtaining measures.
Endocrinologist Hans Selye expanded the definition of physiological stress to include
the perceptions and responses of individuals in their attempts to adapt to the
challenges of everyday life (1956). Selye recognized that stress was a part of daily life
and observed consistent reactions to stress that he termed, “General Adaptation
Syndrome.” General adaptation syndrome consists of 3 stages: 1) alarm, 2) resistance,
o In the alarm phase, there is the fight-or-flight response.
o In the resistance phase, the body and mind attempt to cope and adapt to the
stressor. If this is unsuccessful, then the body and mind move to the final phase.
o In the exhaustion phase, the body and minds resources become depleted and
begin to break down. The result is a multitude of stress related illnesses,
including cardiovascular diseases, digestive problems, diabetes, ulcers, and
mental health problems.
Maturity is achieved when a person accepts life as full of tension. –Joshua L. Liebman
What are your beliefs about stress?
When you think about your responses above how stressed do you feel? Rate the
amount of stress that you feel from 0 to 100, 0 being no stress, and 100 being the most
stress imaginable.(Select either 0, 25, 50, 75, or 100 if using responders/clickers).
We all dream of a stress-free life. We think “if only … if only I could pass the test … if
only I could get the promotion … if only my husband/wife wasn’t deployed.” Can you
recall times when you’ve thought “if only”?
Everyday stress is unavoidable. While we cannot eliminate stress from our lives, it is
possible to become more resilient in the face of stress. Resiliency is the ability to
bounce back from adversity; it comprises a set of attitudes, skills, and behaviors that
can be learned at any age. The key to resiliency is not the elimination of stress, but the
development of the skills needed to manage stress in an optimal way.
Stress, even in crisis situations, can be seen as an opportunity to learn about yourself
and others. The Chinese word for “crisis” is comprised of two characters, one that can
mean “danger” and a second, can be interpreted as “opportunity.” When you have a
crisis, do you focus on the danger and/or the opportunity? Resilient people
acknowledge the danger in a crisis, but may not be overwhelmed by it. They do not
naively insist that things will work out. Rather, they explore opportunities for growth
in the midst of stressful situations.
Resilient people remain optimistic in the face of challenges, have confidence in their
ability to make best of difficult situations, understand that their efforts will make a
difference in their ability to cope with the stresses that confront them, and believe that
there is something to be learned from every situation, regardless of the outcome. They
also recognize that having the support of others makes stressful situations more
tolerable and increases the likelihood of finding a positive solution to the challenges
that confront them.
Case Study: With consideration to the application of resilience in the face of adversity,
consider Frederick Frese, Ph.D. a psychologist who has specialized in the area of
schizophrenia and was diagnosed with the condition when he was 25. Please reference
the site: http://www.fredfrese.com/node/16
Realizing that what may be stressful to one person may not be for another, describe a
situation that was personally stressful.
Rate the amount of stress that you felt, on that occasion, from 0 to 100, with 0 being no
stress and 100 being the most stress imaginable.
What skills, either positive or negative, did you use to cope with the situation?
What did you learn about yourself as a result of that situation?
When you look back on that situation how much stress do you now feel? Rate the
amount of stress that you now feel from 0 to 100, with 0 being no stress, and 100 being
the most stress imaginable.
If your stress level has changed, what is now different now about that situation?
When you think about your response how stressed do you feel? Rate the amount of
stress that you feel from 0 to 100, 0 being no stress, and 100 being the most stress
The major concepts presented in each session of the text are condensed into easy-to-
remember learning tools following each session. These tools can be used as a resource
when dealing with situations requiring a specific resiliency tactic. Consider creating a
toolbox of 3×5 inch index cards, each with a tool’s term on one side and an “in-your-
own-words” definition on the other. These cards can serve as quick source of
information when reviewing or searching for a resiliency solution. Your tool from this