IntroductionThearticle is about the development of resilient skills to a little girl that wasraised in a harmful environment and struggled to express her emotions.
Theauthor begins by describing the adverse experiences of Goddess’ early childhoodthat discourage her to create positive relations with her social environment.He does this to highlight the significance of implementing interventionprograms for fostering resilience to Goddess. Specifically, he explores how themutual collaboration of her mother, teaching staff and peers enforce the childto learn to laugh. Following that, the current research sheds light on socialstereotypes that label a child with behavioral problems and exclude it fromtaking part in school activities. Thus, the author points out that the changeof Goddess’ behavior not only has an impact on his thinking about her strengthsbut also influence her social network. Finally, he finds out that the absenceof emotional expression is a way to protect herself from difficulties. The author’sarguments Onesignificant factor that encouraged the author to provide help to Goddess is heremotional disassociation due to her adverse experiences from her background.
Inparticular, Goddess was born and raised in prison from a mother that stillstruggles with fears from the past and depression in her everyday life.Following that, Goddess is not familiar with mothers’ love, her kind words anda warm smile. As Goddess is growing up, she becomes distant from her socialenvironment and she avoids interaction with her peers and her teachers. Throughauthor’s narratives, she is described as an isolated girl who does not ask forany help, does not cry as the other toddlers, refuses to play and participatesin daily school tasks (Wright, 2010). Finally, the absence of emotionalexpression and the continuous distance from her social environment enforce theauthor to start his journey through the harmful experiences of this littlegirl.Anotherimportant reason to support the girl to overcome her life’s challenges is therelevance between the backgrounds of the author and Goddess. He grew up withmemories from his mother to fight every day with depression, drugs’ nightmaresand custody.
In the same way with Goddess, he felt unsafe and alone, he losthis faith and trust to other people and he avoided to interact with them. As aresult, the case of Goddess provides a learning experience to the author andencourages him to communicate deeply with his students. He managed to expresshis emotions and get closer to a girl that fights to keep herself safe.
Theirrelevant background story is not the last contributory factor that leads theauthor to recognize the adverse life circumstances of Goddess and help her toovercome them.Throughthe author’s narratives, the model of man as supportive partner and father isredefined for two several reasons. Firstly, he argued that children who werevictims of harmful familial circumstances or did not recognize their fathers,they need to get acquainted with the male presence in order to develop apositive attitude for him. Secondly, the author claimed that his identity asgay educator usually becomes a barrier to his relations with his students (Wright, 2010). In other words, hissensitivity and fear not to reveal his sexual preference forced him to create adistant behavior from children. However, his work with toddlers and especiallyGoddess challenged him to overcome these difficulties and construct asupportive-male model for children. He developed his emotional characteristicsat the same time when he tried to understand the particular defenses ofGoddess’ behavior. Inaddition, the current research presents the development and the improvement oftwo different intervention programs which aimed to foster resilience andsupport the little girl to interact with her social network: the care-givingprogram and the play-therapy.
However, the author sheds light on the significanceof the first plan. In this endeavor, he argued for a mutual transformation ofGoddess and her social environment that was accomplished through this approach.Thecare-giving plan encouraged Goddess to overcome the adverse experiences fromher early childhood through several efforts. The author tried to get closer to herby saying a kind word or by enforcing Goddess to feel comfortable with hispresence inside and outside of the classroom. Furthermore, he respected herprivate world and encouraged her to feel autonomy without threatening andpressing in her personal space.
He reassured the little girl that each of hispromises was meaningful and was connected with direct actions that boost thedevelopment of feelings of trust and faith. The importance of these efforts wastwofold: not only Goddess was challenged to let her defenses go but also theauthor managed to get a better sense of who this girl was in his attempt tobuild a strong and faithful relationship with her.Theauthor claimed that the care-giving approach fostered Goddess to interact withher peers and her teachers. In particular, the little girl was encouraged toparticipate in classroom activities in order to understand the differentemotions and get familiar with them.
The author argued that his efforts aimedto a mutual change: he boosted Goddess to accept her peers and create friendlyrelations, at the same time that children developed a positive attitude for her.However, he explained that this label was constructed by her peers and herteachers because Goddess was different from the other toddlers. She was notsmiling or asking for hugs, she was not reacting when her teachers change herdiaper and she was sitting silent (Wright, 2010).
At this point, it is assumed that theschool is a mirror in which children reflect their self-image. The establishedinstitutions have the power to label children and discourage their socialacceptance and their academic performance. Finally, this mutual changeinfluenced her social network to develop new perspectives and especiallyenforced Goddess to create a positive relationship with her mother.Theauthor conveyed a strong belief that her mother’s fight with depression andother behavioral problems are a corollary of her negative experiences from herown childhood. Recognizing the great role of mother’s attribute in developingGoddess resilient skills, the author refreshed the care-giving approach byencouraging the communication between them. He offered support to the motherwith the help of the other team members to communicate with her daughter, tounderstand her own strengths and abilities and to learn how she could play withher.
To conclude, the basic argument of the author is that the mother’s bondwith her child is one of the most significant factors for normal emotional andbehavioral development. Deconstructing theposition of the writerAlthoughthe author describes the case of a little girl that struggled to bounce backfrom adverse experiences of her early childhood, it is necessary to examine hisresearch project in a little more detail. The case study of Goddess could beuseful for qualitative researchers to understand the potentials of interventionprograms that involve the role of mother, teachers and peers. The author makesan effort to explain the behavioral change of Goddess that results from themutual collaboration of her social environment. He claims that his case studyoffers a model for supporting other children to overcome harmful experiences (Wright, 2010). In stark contrast,the picture of this little girl could provide significant elements about herbackground, but they could not be generalized to other cases (Thomas, 2016). Not only Goddess isa unique person that developed her own resilient skills, but also her socialnetwork shares particular experiences. Thus, there is no ground forgeneralizations, but it is important to look at the unique features of thisresearch that came from the different understandings of the participants (Thomas, 2016).
Asecond critique of the article is that the author does not use a clear agendato explain the aims and the purpose of this study. In general, the differentparts of this article do not respond to the structure of a piece of research.Specifically, the ‘Introduction’ is replaced by the title “Goddess” (Wright, 2010, p. 444).
Thus, he does not facilitate the reader to construct a deeper image of thecurrent study. However, the introduction should enable the reader to understandwhy the author chooses a topic to research and provide the methods that hewould answer the problem (Thomas, 2017). Moreover, the research question isdetected after his adverse experiences from his background that lead him tocreate a distant behavior relevant to Goddess.
In my view, it does not fullyexplain what the author expects to find out from this study (Thomas, 2017). It is broad and not specific enough tonavigate the reader into the concerns of the author.Anothercritique of the article is referred to the literature review written by theauthor. He presents a brief literature which is cited in the introduction andis not a unique part of this study. In addition, a weakness is detected in thequality of sources because they do not fully respond to his research. To mybelief, he does not provide primary sources about other models or interventionprograms that foster resilience in education.
The primary focus of a literaturereview should be to create a story by examining the research question bydifferent aspects and connect the ideas (Thomas, 2017). Nevertheless, the current literatureprovides a list of secondary sources that inform the reader about the researchin programs that reveal the importance of several factors in child’sdevelopment (Wright, 2010, p. 446). Thus, it is notcomprehensible enough for a reader to navigate into the concerns andexaminations of the author.Itmight be suspicious that the intervention program implemented by the authorproved to be so successful. Specifically, the author’s practices are influencedby the social model of disability. This model results from the belief that thesocial environment discourages people with disabilities to participate in dailylife tasks (Haegele & Hodge, 2016). Similarly, thearticle provides an image of a little girl that is labeled with behavioralproblems and is isolated from the teachers and her peers.
In contrast, theauthor does not take into consideration the medical model of disability whichpromotes the idea that the impairment does not allow a child to function inschool. This intervention plan is based completely on modifications to theattitudes of the social network of Goddess rather than to a medical diagnosisof the toddler. The methods used by the author are not fair because they omitthe medical situation of the girl and present the one side of the coin.
Theanalysis offered by the author is permeated from vested interests such asemotional and behavioral details of his life that consciously or unconsciouslyinfluence the outcomes of the current study. The analysis of the findings isnot thorough and balanced because it is influenced by the writer’s insidefears. In other words, his anxiety that his identity as a gay educator may be revealedby the other parents and his concern to rebuild a supportive father-man modelfor children are significant factors in his analysis. Other bias might haveoccurred from his limited experience of working with toddlers who need the careto grow up. In addition, the feeling of unsafety that results from the adverseexperiences of his early childhood may influence his analysis. As a result, thesensitivity of the author might have power over the reactions of theparticipants and lead him to present the outcomes less realistically than theyare in fact. Alast critique of the study is referred to the discussion provided by thewriter. Specifically, I struggle to understand where the discussion starts andends up because the article is not well-constructed.
To my point of view, thetitles “Risk” and “Resilience” replaced the discussion (Wright, 2010, p. 461). Furthermore, theauthor does not connect the findings of his study with the literature cited atthe beginning.
An important reason might be that not all the sources used forthe literature review are equal to the research topic (Thomas, 2017). For instance, the absence of othereducational programs that develop resilience in children does not facilitatethe writer to make comparisons and examine his data. Following an interpretiveapproach, his experiences and understandings about the world influence the waythat he explains the findings (Thomas, 2017). Yet, the discussion is not appropriatebecause it is based on the writer’s beliefs without taking into considerationother studies and finding similarities or differences between them and hisresearch.
Disagreeing oragreeing with the points being madeOnthe one hand, I agree up to a point with the social approach that the author followedin his research. The methods are related to the supports and opportunitiesavailable in the family and school of a little girl with behavioral problems.To my belief, a child needs to feel valuable and capable from the others inorder to improve his/her skills and participate actively in externalactivities. The achievement of students usually rises or falls in response tothe expectations placed upon them (Haegele & Hodge, 2016). A child that isexpected to perform better generally would accomplish the educational goals. Incontrast, lower expectations from a student usually lead to achieving less.Following the same way, the purpose of the intervention plans is to encouragethe social network of Goddess to understand her strengths. The concept of highexpectations is an important reason for the transformation of Goddess’behavior, but there are some limitations to these programs that I discussbelow.
Onthe other hand, I found that the analysis of the findings is not completed becausethe author does not take into consideration the medical model of disability.The primary aim of this model is to cure the disabled people in order tofunction with the social groups. Some professionals have the position to detectwhen a body is non-normal and provide a treatment for a disability (Haegele & Hodge, 2016). Thus, many teachersclaimed that the medical diagnosis of a disability help them to understandbetter the needs of a child (Lalvani, 2015). Following that, they would makefurther modifications to the educational program and try to find out what worksbest for a child with a disability. In contrast, the writer does not inform thereader about the nature of behavioral problems of Goddess.
For this reason, Idisagree with the methods of the author which are based totally on the socialchange of Goddess environment.Inturning to the writer’s confession that his beliefs and values changed afterhis experience of getting closer to a little girl, it is questionable whetherhis methodology and findings are credible. The author admitted that his effortsto support and develop resilient skills in Goddess influenced the way that heacts. Although a researcher could not be disinterested from his understandingsand notions about the world in a qualitative study (Thomas, 2017), I believe that he does not completelytake control of his sensitivity and other feelings that may occur from hisrelation with Goddess. His distant behavior that came from the harmful memoriesof his early childhood changed to trust and care the others during theresearch. Likewise, the data may be distorted during his transformation fromcreating cold to warm and close relations with his students.
My main concern isthat the non-stability of his character may not provide the real informationabout the success of this process that is followed. How does this fitinto the literature generally?Accordingto the articles that I came across, I found some similarities and differencesbetween the current study that is examined and three other models. Turning tothe methods that are used, the Penn Resiliency Program aims to develop thepersonal attributes that are related to resilience (Gillham, et al., 2012). The students areencouraged to increase their skills, cope with problems effectively and try tofind solutions. Through various teaching techniques, the children would improvethemselves and respond to a problem in different ways.
Likewise, the highschool positive psychology program supports students to create positive feelingsabout their everyday life and avoid the negative thoughts (Gillham, et al., 2012). Moreover, itenables children to understand their potentials and develop other skills whenit is essential. The program promotes the belief that students should focus onwhat makes their lives meaningful and build their values with the help of theirfamilies. Although the school and the familiar environment have a significantrole, these models are related to the internal characteristics of children. Inother words, the intervention programs help them to evaluate their efforts andconsider multiple strategies to deal with harmful situations. A limitation ofthese plans is that the age of the population is not the same as Goddess’ age.
Incontrast with the current study, they are not based on the social change ofparents, teachers and peers. The primary concern is to educate them to overcomethe obstacles with a positive attitude rather than restrict the challengingconditions. Aquantitative study that has been conducted in the field of Education provedthat factors related to the social environment influence the academic resilienceof a child (Jowkar, et al., 2014). It shows that theeducational system force the students to be competent in order to receivehigher grades. Yet, some students have developed more their resilience thanothers because they bounce back quickly from the failure and continue to getknowledge.
The aim of this study is to explain that resilience is increased instudents who have set their goals in learning environments. However, thefindings present that the barriers constructed from institutional organizationsrestrict the strengths of students. Similarly, the low expectations and theactivities implemented by the teachers of Goddess isolated and excluded herfrom fully taking action in the classroom. One difference could be that thisresearch responds to the needs of adolescents and not toddlers. To conclude,the results of the two studies are focused on the social environment and thesocial inclusion for fostering resilience in education.