Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

Fostering teachers’ resilience and well-being through professional learning: effects from a training programme


Resilience can be fostered amongst teachers in order to sustain their well-being and commitment to quality education. This study examined the effects of a training programme focused on resilience and well-being, targeting in-service Portuguese teachers. This paper reports a study using a quasi-experimental design involving 59 teachers (35 in two experimental groups and 24 in a control group). The effects of the professional learning programme were assessed using the following measures: motivation, global resilience, commitment to the profession, self-efficacy, school support, positive and negative experiences, work well-being, and work meaning. The experimental group participated in an 18-hour professional learning programme. Results showed the effects of the professional learning programme over all the variables, with the exception of Teacher Commitment to the Profession and School Support. These findings contribute to the growing body of research conceptualising teacher resilience as a multidimensional construct and have implications for teacher professional learning programmes.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2


  1. 1.

    In the Portuguese School System, Basic Education comprises three cycles of studies: the First Cycle or Primary School includes the first four grades, the 2nd Cycle comprises the 5th and 6th grades, and the 3rd Cycle covers from 7th to 9th grade. Secondary Education comprises three school years, from 10th to 12th grade. In the Portuguese Education System in Primary School, one teacher is assigned to each class teaching all subjects, whereas from 2nd Cycle students have one teacher for each school subject


  1. Ainsworth, S., & Oldfield, J. (2019). Quantifying teacher resilience: Context matters. Teaching and Teacher Education, 82, 117–128. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tate.2019.03.012.

  2. Arnup, J., & Bowles, T. (2016). Should I stay or should I go? Resilience as a protective factor for teachers’ intention to leave the teaching profession. Australian Journal of Education, 60(3), 229–244. https://doi.org/10.1177/0004944116667620.

  3. Avalos, B. (2011). Teacher professional development in teaching and teacher education over 10 years. Teaching and Teacher Education, 27(1), 10–20. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tate.2010.08.007.

  4. Bandura, A. (1997). Self-efficacy: The exercise of control. New York: W.H. Freeman & Company.

  5. Beltman, S. (2015). Teacher professional resilience: Thriving not just surviving. In N. Weatherby-Fell (Ed.), Learning to teach in the secondary school (pp. 20–38). Melbourne: Cambridge University Press.

  6. Beltman, S., Mansfield, C., & Price, A. (2011). Thriving not just surviving: A review of research on teacher resilience. Educational Research Review, 6(3), 185–207. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.edurev.2011.09.001.

  7. Beltman, S., Mansfield, C. F., Wosnitza, M., Weatherby-Fell, N., & Broadley, T. (2018). Using online modules to build capacity for teacher resilience. In M. Wosnitza, F. Peixoto, S. Beltman, & C. Mansfield (Eds.), Resilience in education - Concepts, contexts and connections (pp. 237–253). Cham: Springer.

  8. Benard, B. (2003). Turnaround teachers and schools. In B. Williams (Ed.), Closing the achievement gap: A vision for changing beliefs and practices (pp. 115–137). Alexandria VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

  9. Benard, B. (2004). Resiliency: What we have learned. San Francisco: WestEd.

  10. Bolier, L., Haverman, M., Westerhof, G. J., Riper, H., Smit, F., & Bohlmeijer, E. (2013). Positive psychology interventions: A meta-analysis of randomized controlled studies. BMC Public Health, 13(119), 1–20. https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-2458-13-119.

  11. Bowles, T., & Arnup, J. L. (2016). Early career teachers’ resilience and positive adaptive change capabilities. Australian Educational Research, 43(2), 147–164. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13384-015-0192-1.

  12. Brouskeli, V., Kaltsi, V., & Loumakou, M. (2018). Resilience and occupational well-being of secondary education teachers in Greece. Issues in Educational Research, 28(1), 43–60.

  13. Brunetti, G. (2006). Resilience under fire: Perspectives on the work of experienced, inner city high school teachers in the United States. Teaching and Teacher Education, 22(7), 812–825. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tate.2006.04.027.

  14. Burns, A. B., Brown, J. S., Sachs-Ericsson, N., Plant, E. A., Curtis, J. T., Fredrickson, B. L., et al. (2008). Upward spirals of positive emotion and coping: Replication, extension, and initial exploration of neurochemical substrates. Personality and Individual Differences, 44(2), 360–370. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2007.08.015.

  15. Castro, A. J., Kelly, J., & Shih, M. (2010). Resilience strategies for new teachers in high-needs areas. Teaching and Teacher Education, 26(3), 622–629. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tate.2009.09.010.

  16. Clarà, M. (2017). Teacher resilience and meaning transformation: How teachers reappraise situations of adversity. Teaching and Teacher Education, 63, 82–91. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tate.2016.12.010.

  17. Cohen, S., Alper, C. M., Doyle, W. J., Treanor, J. J., & Turner, R. B. (2006). Positive emotional style predicts resistance to illness after experimental exposure to rhinovirus or Influenza A virus. Psychosomatic Medicine, 68, 809–815. https://doi.org/10.1097/01.psy.0000245867.92364.3c.

  18. Cook, C. R., Miller, F. G., Fiat, A., Renshaw, T., Frye, M., Joseph, G., et al. (2017). Promoting secondary teachers’ well-being and intentions to implement evidence-based practices: Randomized evaluation of the ACHIEVER resilience curriculum. Psychology in the Schools, 54(1), 13–28. https://doi.org/10.1002/pits.21980.

  19. Corkin, D. M., Ekmekci, A., & Parr, R. (2018). The effects of the school-work environment on mathematics teachers’ motivation for teaching: A self-determination theoretical perspective. Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 43(6), 50–66. https://doi.org/10.14221/ajte.2018v43n6.4.

  20. Darling-Hammond, L. (2006). Constructing 21st—century teacher education. Journal of Teacher Education, 7(3), 300–314.

  21. Day, C. (2008). Committed for life? Variations in teachers’ work, lives and effectiveness. Journal of Educational Change, 9(3), 243–260.

  22. Day, C., & Gu, Q. (2009). Veteran teachers: Commitment, resilience and quality retention. Teachers and Teaching: Theory and Practice, 15(4), 441–457. https://doi.org/10.1080/13540600903057211.

  23. Day, C., & Gu, Q. (2014). Resilient teachers, resilient schools—Building and sustaining quality in testing times. London: Routledge.

  24. Day, C., & Hong, J. (2016). Influences on the capacities for emotional resilience of teachers in schools serving disadvantaged urban communities: Challenges of living on the edge. Teaching and Teacher Education, 59, 115–125. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tate.2016.05.015.

  25. Day, C., Sammons, P., Stobart, G., Kington, A., & Gu, Q. (2007). Teachers matter: Connecting work, lives and effectiveness. Maidenhead: Open University Press.

  26. Diener, E., Wirtz, D., Tov, W., Kim-Prieto, C., Choi, D., Oishi, S., et al. (2010). New measures of well-being: Flourishing and positive and negative feelings. Social Indicators Research, 97(2), 143–156. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11205-009-9493-y.

  27. Ebersöhn, L., Loots, T., Eloff, I., & Ferreira, R. (2015). In-service teacher training to provide psychosocial support and care in high-risk and high-need schools: School-based intervention partnerships. Journal of Education for Teaching, 41(3), 267–284. https://doi.org/10.1080/02607476.2015.1044226.

  28. Fantilli, R. D., & McDougall, D. E. (2009). A study of novice teachers: Challenges and supports in the first years. Teaching and Teacher Education, 25(6), 814–825. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tate.2009.02.021.

  29. Flook, L., Goldberg, S. B., Pinger, L., Bonus, K., & Davidson, R. J. (2013). Mindfulness for teachers: A pilot study to assess effects on stress, burnout, and teaching efficacy. Mind, Brain, and Education, 7(3), 182–195. https://doi.org/10.1111/mbe.12026.

  30. Flores, M. (2018). Teacher resilience in adverse contexts: Issues of professionalism and professional identity. In M. Wosnitza, F. Peixoto, S. Beltman, & C. Mansfield (Eds.), Resilience in education - Concepts, contexts and connections (pp. 167–184). Cham: Springer.

  31. Flores, M., & Day, C. (2006). Contexts which shape and reshape new teacher’ identities: A multi-perspective study. Teaching and Teacher Education, 22(2), 219–232. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tate.2005.09.002.

  32. Fredrickson, B., Tugade, M., Waugh, C., & Larkin, G. (2003). What good are positive emotions in crises? A prospective study of resilience and emotions following the terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11th, 2001. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84(2), 365–376. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-3514.84.2.365.

  33. Fry, L. W., Vitucci, S., & Cedillo, M. (2005). Spiritual leadership and army transformation: Theory, measurement, and establishing a baseline. The Leadership Quarterly, 16(5), 835–862. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.leaqua.2005.07.012.

  34. Greenfield, B. (2015). How can teacher resilience be protected and promoted? Educational & Child Psychology, 32(4), 53–68.

  35. Gu, Q. (2014). The role of relational resilience in teachers’ career-long commitment and effectiveness. Teachers and Teaching: Theory and Practice, 20(5), 502–529. https://doi.org/10.1080/13540602.2014.937961.

  36. Gu Q (2017) Resilient teachers, resilient schools: Building and sustaining quality in testing times. In: Zhu X, Goodwin A, Zhang H (eds), Quality of teacher education and learning. New frontiers of educational research (pp. 119–144). Springer, Singapore

  37. Gu, Q. (2018). (Re)conceptualising teacher resilience: A social-ecological approach to understanding teachers’ professional worlds. In M. Wosnitza, F. Peixoto, S. Beltman, & C. Mansfield (Eds.), Resilience in education - Concepts, contexts and connections (pp. 13–33). Cham: Springer.

  38. Gu, Q., & Day, C. (2007). Teachers resilience: A necessary condition for effectiveness. Teaching and Teacher Education, 23(8), 1302–1316. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tate.2006.06.006.

  39. Gu, Q., & Day, C. (2013). Challenges to teacher resilience: Conditions count. British Educational Research Journal, 39(1), 22–44. https://doi.org/10.1080/01411926.2011.623152.

  40. Hong, Ji Y. (2012). Why do some beginning teachers leave the school, and others stay? Understanding teacher resilience through psychological lenses. Teachers and Teaching: Theory and Practice, 18(4), 417–440. https://doi.org/10.1080/13540602.2012.696044.

  41. Johnson, B., & Down, B. (2013). Critically re-conceptualising early career teacher resilience. Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, 34(5), 703–715.

  42. Jordan, J. (2006). Relational resilience in girls. In S. Goldstein & R. Brooks (Eds.), Handbook of resilience in children (pp. 70–90). New York: Springer.

  43. Kitching, K., Morgan, M., & O’Leary, M. (2009). It’s the little things: Exploring the importance of commonplace events for early-career teachers’ motivation. Teachers and Teaching: Theory and Practice, 15(1), 43–58. https://doi.org/10.1080/13540600802661311.

  44. Korthagen, F. (2011). Making teacher education relevant for practice: The pedagogy of realistic teacher education. Orbis Scholae, 5(2), 1–4. https://doi.org/10.14712/23363177.2018.99.

  45. Le Cornu, R. (2013). Building early career teacher resilience: The role of relationships. Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 38(4), 1.

  46. Leroux, M. (2018). Exploring canadian early career teachers’ resilience from an evolutionary perspective. In M. Wosnitza, F. Peixoto, S. Beltman, & C. Mansfield (Eds.), Resilience in education - Concepts, contexts and connections (pp. 107–129). Cham: Springer.

  47. Leroux, M., & Théorêt, M. (2014). Intriguing empirical relations between teachers’ resilience and reflection on practice. Reflective Practice, 15(3), 289–303. https://doi.org/10.1080/14623943.2014.900009.

  48. Luthar, S. S. (2006). Resilience in development: A synthesis of research across five decades. In D. Cicchetti & D. J. Cohen (Eds.), Developmental psychopathology: Risk, disorder, and adaptation (pp. 739–795). New York: Wiley.

  49. Lyubomirsky, S., King, L., & Dinner, E. (2005). The benefits of frequent positive affect: Does happiness lead to success? Psychological Bulletin, 131(6), 803–855. https://doi.org/10.1037/0033-2909.131.6.803.

  50. Mansfield, C., Beltman, S., Broadley, S., & Weatherby-Fell, N. (2016). Building resilience in teacher education: An evidenced informed framework. Teaching and Teacher Education, 54, 77–87. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tate.2015.11.016.

  51. Mansfield, C., Beltman, S., & Price, A. (2014). ‘I’m coming back!’ - The resilience process of early career teachers. Teachers and Teaching, 20(5), 547–567. https://doi.org/10.1080/13540602.2014.937958.

  52. Morgan, M. (2011). Resilience and recurring adverse events: Testing an assets-based model of beginning teachers’ experiences. The Irish Journal of Psychology, 32(3–4), 92–104. https://doi.org/10.1080/03033910.2011.613189.

  53. Peixoto, F., Silva, J. C., Pipa, J., Wosnitza, M., & Mansfield C. (2019). The multidimensional teachers’ resilience scale (MTRS): Validation with Portuguese teachers. Journal of Psychoeducational Assessment. https://doi.org/10.1177/0734282919836853

  54. Peixoto, F., Wosnitza, M., Pipa, J., Morgan, M., & Cefai, C. (2018). A multidimensional view on pre-service teacher resilience in Germany, Ireland, Malta and Portugal. In M. Wosnitza, F. Peixoto, S. Beltman, & C. Mansfield (Eds.), Resilience in education - Concepts, contexts and connections (pp. 73–89). Cham: Springer.

  55. Peixoto, F., Wosnitza, M., Silva, J. C., Pipa, J., Faust, V., & Schwarze, J. (2017). Impact of individual and contextual factors on teachers’ resilience and commitment. In G. Gratacós (Chair), Teachers’ adaptive resilience process at different career stages. Symposium conducted at the 17th Biennial EARLI Conference. Tampere: University of Tampere.

  56. Peters, J., & Pearce, J. (2012). Relationships and early career teacher resilience: A role for school principals. Teachers and Teaching: Theory and Practice, 18(2), 249–262. https://doi.org/10.1080/13540602.2012.632266.

  57. Ping, C., Schellings, G., & Beijaard, D. (2018). Teacher educators’ professional learning: A literature review. Teaching and Teacher Education, 75, 93–104. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tate.2018.06.003.

  58. Pretsch, J., Flunger, B., & Schmitt, M. (2012). Resilience predicts well-being in teachers, but not in non-teaching employees. Social Psychology of Education, 15(3), 321–336. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11218-012-9180-8.

  59. Proyer, R. T., Wellenzohn, S., Gander, F., & Ruch, W. (2015). Toward a better understanding of what makes positive psychology interventions work: Predicting happiness and depression from the person × intervention fit in a follow-up after 3.5 years. Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being, 7(1), 108–128.

  60. Raider-Roth, M., Stieha, V., & Hensley, B. (2012). Rupture and repair: Episodes of resistance and resilience in teachers’ learning. Teaching and Teacher Education, 28(4), 493–502. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tate.2011.11.002.

  61. Richards, K. A. R., Levesque-Bristol, C., Templin, T. J., & Graber, K. C. (2016). The impact of resilience on role stressors and burnout in elementary and secondary teachers. Social Psychology of Education, 19(3), 511–536. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11218-016-9346-x.

  62. Richter, D., Kunter, M., Ludtke, O., Klusmann, U., Anders, Y., & Baumert, J. (2013). How different mentoring approaches affect beginning teachers’ development in the first years of practice. Teaching and Teacher Education, 36, 166–177. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tate.2013.07.012.

  63. Rutter, M. (2006). Implications of resilience concepts for scientific understanding. Annuals of the New York Academy of Science, 1094, 1–12.

  64. Schaufeli, W. B., Bakker, A. B., & Salanova, M. (2006). The measurement of work engagement with a short questionnaire. A cross-national study. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 66(4), 701–716.

  65. Schwarze, J., & Wosnitza, M. (2018). How does apprentice resilience work? In M. Wosnitza, F. Peixoto, S. Beltman, & C. F. Mansfield (Eds.), Resilience in education - Concepts, contexts and connections (pp. 35–52). Cham: Springer.

  66. Silva, J. C., Pipa, J., Renner, C., O’Donnell, M., & Cefai, C. (2018). Enhancing teacher resilience through face-to-face training: Insights from the ENTREE project. In M. Wosnitza, F. Peixoto, S. Beltman, & C. Mansfield (Eds.), Resilience in education - Concepts, contexts and connections (pp. 255–274). Cham: Springer.

  67. Skaalvik, E. M., & Skaalvik, S. (2011). Teacher job satisfaction and motivation to leave the teaching profession: Relations with school context, feeling of belonging, and emotional exhaustion. Teaching and Teacher Education: An International Journal of Research and Studies, 27(6), 1029–1038. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tate.2011.04.001.

  68. Smith, T. M., & Ingersoll, R. M. (2004). What are the effects of induction and mentoring on beginning teacher turnover? American Educational Research Journal, 41(3), 681–714. https://doi.org/10.3102/00028312041003681.

  69. Svence, G., Majors, M. (2015). Correlation of well-being with resilience and age. Problems of Psychology in the 21st Century, 9(1), 45–56.

  70. Tait, M. (2008). Resilience as a contributor to novice teacher success, commitment, and retention. Teacher Education Quarterly, 35(4), 57–75.

  71. Theron, L. C. (2018). Teacher championship of resilience: Lessons from the Pathways to Resilience Study, South Africa. In M. Wosnitza, F. Peixoto, S. Beltman, & C. F. Mansfield (Eds.), Resilience in education - Concepts, contexts and connections (pp. 203–217). Cham: Springer.

  72. Tschannen-Moran, M., & Woolfolk Hoy, A. (2001). Teaching efficacy: Capturing an elusive construct. Teaching and Teacher Education, 17(7), 783–805. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0742-051X(01)00036-1.

  73. Ungar, M. (2012). The social ecology of resilience: A handbook. New York: Springer.

  74. Yonezawa, S., Jones, M., & Singer, N. R. (2011). Teacher resilience in urban schools: The importance of technical knowledge, professional community, and leadership opportunities. Urban Education, 6(5), 913–931. https://doi.org/10.1177/0042085911400341.

  75. Zautra, A. J., Hall, J. S., & Murray, K. E. (2009). Resilience: A new definition of health for people and communities. In J. W. Reich, A. J. Zautra, & J. S. Hall (Eds.), Handbook of adult resilience (pp. 3–29). New York: The Guilford Press.

Download references


This work is funded by CIE – ISPA, Research Centre on Education - ISPA projects UID/CED/04853/2013 and UID/CED/04853/2016, through national funds of Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (FCT/MCES-PT). The authors would like to thank Professor Susan Beltman for her helpful comments on an earlier version of this paper.

Author information

Correspondence to Francisco Peixoto.

Additional information

Publisher's Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Fernandes, L., Peixoto, F., Gouveia, M.J. et al. Fostering teachers’ resilience and well-being through professional learning: effects from a training programme. Aust. Educ. Res. 46, 681–698 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13384-019-00344-0

Download citation


  • Resilience
  • Teacher professional learning
  • Teacher well-being
  • Resilience programme