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Resilience and Critical Thinking

At Staying Ahead of the Game, we firmly believe that habits and systems driven by executive functioning skill research can help any student thrive in the modern-day classroom. Resilience and critical thinking skills can help you succeed. These skills will help students better manage stress, solve problems, and make well-informed decisions. Resilience is a learned behavior that can be developed through intentional practices. It is a critical protective factor that can help you cope with the challenges of high school and beyond. According to research conducted by the American Psychological Association, resilience is the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats, or significant sources of stress.

One effective way to build resilience is by engaging in activities that help you foster positive emotions, such as gratitude and optimism. Keeping a daily gratitude journal or engaging in mindfulness meditation can help you build a more positive outlook and increase your resilience. A study conducted by the University of California, Davis, found that students who kept a gratitude journal reported higher levels of positive emotions, increased life satisfaction, and lower levels of stress. Another way to build resilience is to develop a growth mindset, believing that your abilities and intelligence can be acquired through dedication and hard work. This mindset can help you reframe challenges as opportunities to learn and grow. According to research by psychologist Carol Dweck, students with a growth mindset are more likely to persist through academic challenges, embrace failure as an opportunity for growth, and achieve tremendous success.

Critical thinking is an essential component of executive function, a set of cognitive abilities that allow you to manage your thoughts, actions, and emotions. According to the National Institutes of Health, critical thinking is analyzing information and making well-informed decisions. In today’s complex and information-rich world, critical thinking is a vital skill for success in high school and beyond. To develop critical thinking skills, it’s important to challenge assumptions and consider alternative viewpoints. Dr. Patricia Fioriello, an education expert, notes that “the ability to recognize bias, identify fallacies in arguments, and evaluate evidence are all critical thinking skills that can be developed through practice.” To hone these skills, it’s essential to seek out various sources of information, evaluate the quality of evidence, and weigh the pros and cons of different options. Additionally, to develop critical thinking skills students should engage in debates and discussions within and beyond the classroom. By hearing different viewpoints and practicing the art of argumentation, you can build your ability to analyze information and make well-informed decisions. In addition, reading widely from various sources and asking questions about the information presented can help you hone your critical thinking skills.

Building resilience and critical thinking skills can be challenging, but the effort is well worth it. Students who develop these skills are better equipped to manage the challenges of high school and beyond. According to writer and researcher Brene Brown, “resilience is a function of believing in yourself and your abilities.” You can better manage stress, overcome obstacles, and achieve your goals by building resilience and critical thinking skills. It’s important to note that building these skills takes time and effort. You won’t become resilient or a critical thinker overnight. However, by intentionally cultivating a growth mindset, practicing self-care, and engaging in activities that help you build these skills, you can set yourself up for success in all areas of your life.

High school is a time of great opportunity and growth. Building resilience and critical thinking skills can help you better manage stress, solve problems, and make well-informed decisions. Executive function underpins many of these developmental areas. As the new semester gets tougher, remind your child that organization, time management, study skills, and impression management form the foundation for every stellar school year. Beyond the core four EF skills listed above, there is one more way you can help your student succeed this semester: academic coaching. Our flagship academic coaching program provides students with a one-on-one EF mentor who can provide accountability and guidance throughout the academic year. To learn more about this service, please view our free resources or reach out to us today.

Evan Weinberger


Staying Ahead of the Game offers unique academic coaching & tutoring services to help good students achieve greatness.

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