When schooling experiences are respectful of children's rights: A pathway to resilience
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This article reports findings from the Pathways to Resilience study, South Africa. Rooted in a social ecological understanding of resilience, this mixed-methods study investigated resilience processes of black South African youths from poverty-stricken, rural contexts. School-attending youths (n = 951) completed the Pathways to Resilience Youth Measure (PRYM), which included one resilience measure and two school experience measures. Independent sample t-tests showed that youth reporting agency-supportive school environments (n = 137) had significantly higher resilience scores than youth with opposite experiences (n = 330; t(465) = −15.379, p = 0.000). Likewise, youths reporting school staff respect (n = 171) recorded significantly higher resilience scores than youth who experienced disrespect (n = 277; t(446) = −14.518, p = 0.000). Subsequently, 130 resilient youths participated in focus groups and/or visual participatory activities to further explore their pathways to resilience. An inductive content analysis of these data illustrated that teacher-facilitated youth agency, aspirations for higher education and employment, and coping with neglect and cruelty, supported resilience processes. Overall, findings suggest that when schooling experiences are supportive of child rights, resilience processes are promoted. This conclusion urges school psychologists and school communities toward transactional practices that support positive youth development in child rights-centred ways.