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FightBack Pedagogy

Material for strengthening young people's skills for coping with adversity

The FightBack material is targeted especially at high schoolers from fifteen years old. It seeks to build young people's self-confidence and grow a mindset that is needed for overcoming adversity.

Finland 100


HundrED has selected this innovation to

Finland 100

Web presence






March 2017
I remember thinking in the hospital bed that I should have run a marathon when I was in good shape. I would have been able to do it then. I can’t do anything anymore, I thought at first. Then I thought about it again. I paused for a moment and saw that hey, my toes move. And since my toes move, I will somehow learn to run one day.

About the innovation

What is it all about?

Everyone encounters adversities of different magnitude in life. FightBack pedagogy helps students to find ways to face and deal with difficulties. FightBack helps young people become aware of the good things they can be grateful for in life, to take responsibility for their lives and help others. This will help teach young people the joy of working together.

FightBack's goal is to help young people identify their strengths and resources and strengthen the skills they need to tackle difficulties. FightBack skills include, among other things, a positive attitude, persistence, perseverance, hopefulness and resourcefulness. Students practice these skills by becoming aware of them, observing them, using them and through repetition.

In addition to these skills, a healthy and regular lifestyle is also important with good nutrition, sufficient and high quality sleep, and effective relaxation. However, this material mainly focuses on emotional resources and strengths.

The FightBack material has been put together so that young people have room for contemplating, recognising and discussing key themes together. FightBack pedagogy is based on Pekka Hyysalo's recovery from a serious downhill skiing accident. FightBack is a survival story about the power of perseverance.

Impact & scalability

Impact & Scalability


With the help of positive psychology FightBack has transformed a survival story into material that can benefit all young people.


Students have the tools for handling and overcoming adversity.


The material can be used in several subjects, is easily accessible, and the skills that are subsequently built are necessary and helpful for all children.

Implementation steps

Introduction to Pekka Hyysalo's story
Pekka Hyysalo’s story is an example of how major adversities can seem too overwhelming to overcome. This story is the foundation of the FightBack method.

Start by going through the story. You can find plenty of sources on the internet on Pekka Hyysalo.

Below are a few you can start from - some of the material can be used in the classroom:

Get your FightBack material
The material includes, among other things, the theoretical basis for how perseverance, resilience, and the role of a positive attitude can help to overcome difficult situations.

In addition to the theory, the material contains practical exercises that teachers can use in the classroom.

>>The FightBack material will be available for purchase fall 2017.

Using the FightBack material
Decide which classes you will use the material in and how much of it you will go through.

FightBack pedagogy is a unit that is not related to any particular subject and therefore can be used in many different classes.

You can build a multidisciplinary unit or use the material for just a few lessons. You could also have different teachers use the material during their lessons to give the class and themselves different perspectives. The material includes simple dialogue exercises that introduces different themes to be discussed in class. For the best results, use the material systematically for a longer period of time. This will give students time to think about, reflect, and observe the issues in their own lives.

Using and repeating the simple exercises regularly will help to tie your FightBack skills into everyday workflows.

Spread of the innovation

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