Why risk is good
Teachers have to spend a good chunk (or at least some) of their time limiting risk. After all, keeping children safe is at the heart of a teacher’s duty of care and limiting the amount of risks they face is one way to do this. It could be done subconsciously, such as simply organising how children move around school or the classroom, or consciously, completing a formal risk assessment for a school trip.
Is all risk bad?
Dictionary.com defines risk as:
1. exposure to the chance of injury or loss; a hazard or dangerous chance: It’s not worth the risk.
Risk taking can be thought of in another way though. Not the kind of risk that exposes children in your class to the chance of injury, loss or danger, but instead the kind of risk that gives children the confidence to try something new, even if they might well fail.
As I understand it, risk management and taking is one of the major skills in enterprise education, which is something I have personally had the opportunity to become more familiar with. In Learning to take risks, learning to succeed, Heather Rolfe talks about the importance of risk taking:
Risk taking is essential to innovation: anyone developing a new product, service or idea risks the possibility that it will not work, that someone else will get there first or it will be met with disinterest. Young people entering work in the twenty-first century will need to take risks to find these solutions, and addressing everyday challenges also involves complex decision making and evaluation of risk.
Risk taking is becoming a core skill. Employers now need people who can communicate, work in teams, take decisions, be adaptable and take risks. Despite the demand for skills of innovation and enterprise, and despite recognition of the value of invention and original thinking, the role of risk taking in preparing young people for the future is often overlooked by educators and policy makers. In the context of young people’s lives, risk is seen as largely negative, linked to danger and regarded as something to be avoided.
- Public speaking at ‘proper’ events like Learning Without Frontiers and The BETT Show
- Being given the freedom to experiment in science
- Applying for roles as digital leaders
- Running enterprise businesses to raise money for charity
- Organising and staging a fashion show to raise money
These are some of things that I’ve been part of, which popped into my head when thinking about encouraging children to take risks in school. But I have a feeling this is just the tip of the iceberg and with a Tim Ferriss-like approach, even greater risks and successes might be possible.
What do you think? How have you encouraged children to take risks? Can it go further?
man on wire by image munky