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HEART as a Model for Resilience in Schools pt. 2

Deep Dive into Resilience: elevatEd Heart Model for Resilience pt. 2. Graphic of masked students inside a heart with elevatEd Classrooms Logo

Explore more of the science behind the elevatEd HEART Model for Resilience in Schools

How do we teach resilience to our students? Or furthermore, how do we foster resilience within ourselves?

Last week, we published part 1 of the elevatEd Heart Model for Resilience in Schools. We wanted to create an easy-to-digest model for resilience that teachers could read quickly during a prep period and easily implement in their classrooms right away.

HEART: A Model for Resilience:
Humanity, Empathy, Active Engagement, Reflection, and Tenacity.
Jaclyn Sarnese & Taylor Fussner, 2021, elevatEd Classrooms.

elevatEd HEART Model for Resilience:



Active Engagement



But if you’ve been wanting a deeper dive on the science behind the elevatEd Heart Model for Resilience in Schools, part 2 is for you!

In the slider below, find a graphic representation of resilience, which is an abstract concept.

What protects the True Self from the outside world?

How do we teach resilience? confused person
How do we teach resilience?
This is the True Self: little stick figure
This is the True Self
This is the Outside World: Chaos vs the True Self
This is the Outside World
What protects the True Self from the chaos in the Outside World? confused person
What protects the True Self from the chaos in the Outside World?
Resilience: heart-shaped shell protects little person from the chaotic outside world
Resilience [protects the True Self from the Outside World

What protects the True Self from the chaos in the outside world? The graphic depicts a heart-shaped shell labeled ‘Resilience’ with the goal being practical and purposeful.

However, in reality an individual’s Defense Mechanisms is what forms the shell between their True Self and the outside world. Despite their negative connotation, Defense Mechanisms can actually be used for progressive development to address emotion regulation.

Example Progressive Use of Defense Mechanisms:

Sublimation: redirect strong emotions into an appropriate outlet or activity. For example, my brother channeled our father’s death into playing football. He actually ended up leading his high school team to the state championship!

Compartmentalization: create healthy boundaries to separate one’s life into chunks. For example, I used to leave my school worries in the town where I worked. I would pick a tree along my commute home to physically separate work from my personal life.

These are just two examples using two Defense Mechanisms, but there are countless ways to interpret this. You just want to make sure to emphasize steering the Defense Mechanisms toward progressive, not regressive development.

Strengthen Resilience through SEL

Further, we must facilitate development of implicit emotion self-regulation (ie SEL) to facilitate building learners’ resilience.

“Resilience is associated with the internal capacity for the regulation of unpleasant emotions in the face of adversity”

Pout, T. et al. (2019). “Resilience, Defense Mechanisms, and Implicit Emotion Regulation in Psychodynamic Child Psychotherapy.”

Basically, resilience is an individual’s ability to adapt to an ever-changing, chaotic environment, with a comfortable sense of Self. The biologist in me wants to point out the parallels here to evolutionary biology- a population’s gene pool must be diverse enough to adapt to changing environments. Those populations lacking the genetic diversity to adapt are what we call endangered.

Are humans endangered who lack the resilience to adapt to an unpredictable, changing environment?

Resilience: heart-shaped shell protects little person from the chaotic outside world
Resilience protects the True Self from the Outside World
Thinner Shell = More Resilience: dotted heart-shaped shell
Thinner Shell = More Resilience
Thicker Shelled Resilience: solid-lined heart-shaped shell protecting little person from the chaotic outside world
Thicker Shelled Resilience
Thicker Shell = Less Resilience: solid-lined heart-shaped shell
Thicker Shell = Less Resilience

Metaphorically, imagine a thinner shell associated with more resilience (dotted-line shell in the above slider). The True Self has some protection from the chaotic outside world, but it is still agile and responsive its environment.

Conversely, imagine a thicker shell associated with less resilience (solid-line shell in the above slider). The True Self is surely protected from the chaotic outside world, but it lives in its own little world without genuinely interacting with its environment.

What happens to the less-resilient Self if its environment changes again?

Does that individual possess the coping mechanisms to adapt to its new reality?

What if it doesn’t? What happens to that individual then?

We, at elevatEd Classrooms have shifted our focus from hard-skills like STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) to soft-skills like SEL (social emotional learning) because we want to make sure there are graduate bodies to place into all of the new jobs we are creating.

How are you facilitating resilience in your elevatEd Classroom or School?

Want to empower your educators with HEART, a model for resilience?

Connect with Jaclyn from elevatEd Classrooms to elevate your Classrooms today!

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Paula Blanco, MAT

Paula Blanco is currently a bilingual  kindergarten teacher at a dual-immersion school. Paula first received a bachelor’s degree in foreign language teaching and in infant education. Paula found her passion teaching and went back for a MAT Spanish (teaching Spanish as a second language).  After her education, Paula moved from Spain to the United States. Ms. Blanco is an experienced teacher with 9+ years of classroom experience.

Amiee Masters Altman, MsEd

Aimee Masters Altman is currently a middle school language arts teacher in southern New Jersey.  As a teacher with over 13 years experience, she has worked as a Kindergarten-6th grade Library-Media Specialist, a 3rd grade inclusion teacher, as well as a middle school language arts teacher.  Mrs. Altman graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in Sociology with a concentration in health and medicine and a minor in Women’s Studies.  During her time at UPenn, she found her passion for teaching while working the Extended School Year program for students with special needs.  She then went on to earn her Master’s degree in Education in Reading/Writing/Literacy with a certification as a Reading Specialist from the University of Pennsylvania School of Education.  She continued her education for a Library-Media Specialist certification at Rutgers University.  Mrs. Altman has sat on many committees to analyze, select, and write curriculum.

Korey Sewell, PhD

Dr. Korey Sewell , founder of Hands-On Technology Education, is a professional engineer and educator specializing in Computer Science & Engineering. He received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Michigan (2012) and his Bachelor’s degree from the University of California at Riverside (2004). His professional background consists of work at places such as Intel, Apple, Qualcomm and MIPS Technologies with interests in Microprocessors, CPU Workloads, and Simulation Methodology. As an educator, Dr. Sewell aspires for Hands-On Technology to continue to fulfill its mission of empowering the K-12 demographic with innovative, practical, and affordable technology-based activities (summer camps, workshops, and after-school programs).

Jacqueline Masters, EDS, MA

Jacqueline received her Ed.S and M.A. degree in School Psychology from Rowan University and her B.S. degree in Psychology from Drexel University. She is currently certified in New Jersey and practices full time in the public school system. She has been working with the elementary and middle school students for 6+ years. She works to consult and collaborate with teachers, parents, and students to maximize their education and social experience. Additionally she completes cognitive and behavioral assessments as part of the Special Education process. She specializes in educating students, teachers, and parents on a variety of disorders such as anxiety, depression, ADHD, Autism, Specific Learning Disabilities, as well mood disorders and various developmental disorders.