Building Resilience in Children


Thank you for proving once again that you care so much for our children by providing such an invaluable workshop. My biggest takeaways from Chris Daicos’ engaging, funny, honest, and extremely relevant workshop was how important it is that we allow our kids to know what it feels like to fail. A change I’lI implement immediately is holding back from doing what my child is capable of doing, allowing her the opportunity to have a go.

Nancy Bugeja

Yarraville West PS 2017



Positively Deviant Leadership

Positive leadership enables extraordinarily positive performance by emphasizing what elevates individuals and systems (not only what diminishes them), what goes right (not only what goes wrong), what is life-giving (and what is life-depleting), what is experienced as good (not only what is bad or arduous), what is inspiring (and depressing), and what produces positive deviance (not negative deviance).

Organisations are designed to foster stability, steadiness, and predictable performance. Positive leadership, on the other hand, enables performance that is unexpected, spectacular, and extraordinary—that deviates positively from the norm and fosters high aspirations. It is more than just being inspirational or charismatic—it enables extraordinary performance.

Positive leadership is associated with extraordinarily positive outcomes. Although leaders must constantly address threats, problems, and challenges, positive leaders engender that which is life- giving, elevating, and virtuous.  Four simple science backed strategies result in positively deviant performance:-

  • enabling a positive climate through fostering compassion, forgiveness and gratitude
  • enabling positive relationships through focusing on employee strengths and building teams based on positive energy rather than purely on skills or competences
  • fostering positive communication by encouraging a 6:1 ratio of positive to negative exchanges, a 1:1 balance of enquiry/advocacy and 1:1 focus on self/others
  • enabling meaning by showing how the work has a positive impact on the well-being of others now and in the future, and enabling employees to understand how it connects to their personal values

Contact me to find out how you can develop your leadership team to be positively deviant.

Appraisal Through A Strengths Lens

LensTeachers are the most important resource in Australian schools.   Differences in teacher effectiveness account for a larger proportion of differences in student outcomes- far larger than differences between schools.(1 )Research shows that teacher appraisal and feedback significantly improves teacher’s’ understanding of their teaching methods, teaching practices and student learning.(2) While systemically the development of Australian Teacher Performance and Development Framework(3 ) has ensured a coherent and consistent approach to Appraisal across the education sectors, a negativity bias is still embedded in the language of review. Addressing teacher performance is predominantly deficit focused.

There is a growing body of evidence in Positive Psychology to support the benefits of a focus on Strengths. Character Strengths have been found to impact on wellbeing, goal setting and improved experiences in the workplace. The use of one’s Strengths is engaging and fulfilling. Consciously applying Strengths to achieve performance goals will lead to increased engagement and achievement for the teaching

People who use their Strengths:

  • experience higher levels of happiness and fulfillment (4 ).
  • are more likely to achieve their goals (5)
  • perform better and achieve more at work (6)
  • are more engaged at work (7)

The opportunity to do what you do best each day, that is, using your Strengths, is a core predictor of workplace engagement.

In this workshop participants will:

1.  Undertake the VIA-IS and be introduced to:

  • the development of Character Strengths
  • empirical research to support Character Strengths

2.  Have demonstrated how Character Strengths can inform goal setting.

3.  Observe & practice coaching conversations using a  Strengths focus, to inform the final review


1 Kyriakides, Campbell, R. & Christofidou; 2002she did a good job
2 Wade, 1984; Hattie, 2009)
3 AITSL 2012
4 Govindji & Linley,2007
5 Linley, Nielsen, Wood Gillett & Biswas-Diener, 2010
6 Corporate Leadership Council, 2002; Stefanyszyn, 2007
7 Harter, Schmidt, & Hayes, 2002; Minhas, 20101

Developing A Growth Mindset

Growth Mindsets

Growth Mindsets

Students’ mindsets—how they perceive their abilities plays a key role in their motivation and achievement,  if we change students’ mindsets, we can boost their achievement. More precisely, students who believe their intelligence can be developed (a growth mindset) outperform those who believe their intelligence is fixed (a fixed mindset). And when students learn through a structured program that they can “grow their brains” and increase their intellectual abilities, they do better. Having children focus on the process that lead to learning (like hard work or trying new strategies) can foster a growth mindset and its benefits. This workshop 4aa158f2ecd9e72a36094aee200ea88bwill introduce participants to the work of Carol Dweck and demonstrate how this work can be introduced into your classroom and organisations.


It is with pleasure that I have graduated in the Master of Applied Positive Psychology ( August 2015). This body of science provides a gateway into the research of what constitutes Human Flourishing.  What is positive psychology all about? How can it be integrated into a whole School Approach to Wellbeing? How can Positive Psychology address staff morale?

I would be happy to share my knowledge with you.

Building Resilience in Children and Adolescents

As parents or teachers can we be vigilant with our children at ALL times to ensure that they don’t become they are safe, are victims of bullies, become depressed or fail academically? The research into the area of ‘resilience’ claims that we can influence our children’s ability to deal with problems in a constructive way.

Although the notion of resilience had its origins in the research work of social workers and child psychologists working with disadvantaged children and adolescents in American cities, it has now entered and found credence in mainstream education theory and practice.

Early researchers found that: “…… most of the children – in their study – who grew up with the odds against them successfully overcame adversity. These children had or developed the resources to bounce back…… It is in these and other studies that the terms: ‘resilient children’, ‘stress resistant children’, ‘ego hardy children’ and ‘vulnerable but invincible children’ begin to appear.” (From: ‘Risk To Resilience’. Tim Burn).

From these earliest studies the focus then became determining what were the characteristics that these resilient children had that allowed them to bounce back and stay healthy.

A profile of the resilient child began to emerge. These children exhibited:

  • social competence
  • problem solving skills
  • a sense of purpose and future

However simply knowing about resilience is in itself not enough, what we as parents and educators want and need to know is what can we do to help foster and build these skills in our children. Those working in the field of child psychology have established that we can do much in our homes and schools to help put in place the protective factors that will assist in our children becoming ‘resilient children’.


My Building Resilience In Children workshop is the perfect solution to helping you to encourage  children to be more independent and autonomous. Sign up to my newsletter to hear about my next course dates or contact me to book a workshop.

Until my next news I leave you with some wise words:-

You may never know what results come from your action. But if you do nothing, there will be no result.

Mahatma Gandhi

Fellow of The Australian Council for Educational Leaders

I am so humbled to have been awarded a Fellowship by The Australian Council for Education Leaders. This is a very high honour in recognition of my work in schools across the three sectors.

As the plaque says:

“A fellowship is a special category of ACEL membership awarded to those who have made an outstanding contribution to the study and practice of educational leadership.”

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