Learning About Resilience

In 2021 four staff members from BCcampus embarked on an online learning journey together to dig deeper into our understanding of the impacts of colonialism and learn ways to decolonize our own workplace, using this knowledge to better frame our work to support the system-wide shift toward reconciliation in post-secondary education. 

Post by Jaime Caldwell, coordinator, Marketing and Communications, BCcampus

The Ripple Effect of Resilience is an online course created by award-winning, best-selling author Monique Gray Smith. It can be done on your own time and at your own pace (you have one year to complete the course from the date of purchase). Woven throughout the course are many resources, stories, wisdom, truths, and self-reflective invitations on the topics of our nation’s history, trauma, resilience, and the effects of colonialism. 

The Ripple Effect of Resilience is delivered in six modules:

  • The first, an invitation, is a reminder that your words have power and can be medicine if you speak love and kindness to those around you. 
  • The second module focuses on trauma, the biology behind it, and the common behaviours of people who have experienced it as well as some of the ways you can support those affected by it.
  • The third module covers the history of Canada and the impacts of colonialism that are felt to this day. 
  • The fourth looks at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action and what reconciliation can really mean to you. 
  • The fifth module explores a cultural resilience model Monique created called the Four Blankets of Resilience. This module allows you to take apart and examine the blankets as they relate to you. 
  • The last module is another invitation, but this one invites you to find ways to incorporate the learnings you’ve gained going forward. 

The first thing that struck us as we began the course was Monique’s natural warmth and empathetic presence on screen. We felt immediately cared for. Her calm nature was itself like a warm blanket she wrapped us up in, and as such it seemed impossible for us to feel we were beginning this journey alone. 

I was lucky enough to embark on this journey not just with Monique but with three colleagues. Our small team met roughly once a month to work through the course in parts. Each time we met, we shared our homework from the last meeting. We listened to each other’s self-reflections with respect. We had many moments of laughter, but we also had somber moments with tears as well as some very touching personal moments. We had moments of not knowing (and admitting to this) and times of deep gratitude. 

The work of learning about our nation’s shared history and its effects is emotional work that brings to the surface mixed feelings of horror, sadness, guilt, and frustration. It is messy learning and can be overwhelming. Yet Monique took this messy work and helped us make sense of it a bit more, leaving us with questions to reflect on, reminders about the power of love, and ways of channelling our feelings into actions we can take to help foster resiliency in the people we work with and in ourselves. 

The Ripple Effect of Resilience helped my small team of colleagues examine our humanity together, take stock of things we are grateful for, explore how we can spread joy in our day-to-day, expand our own historical knowledge, recognize and respond to trauma in its many manifestations, and create our own definitions of what reconciliation means to us. 

With the Ripple Effect of Resilience, learners are shown ways to better care for others and themselves. If you want to learn about properly honouring and respecting the dignity of those around you, want to be better informed about the effects of trauma, and aspire to better understand and decolonize your thinking and actions as an educator or human being, this course is for you. 

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The featured image for this post (viewable in the BCcampus News section at the bottom of our homepage) is by Damir Mijailovic from Pexels