Taking Responsible Risks
What is it? – Drawing on past knowledge, being thoughtful about consequences, accepting uncertainty and risk of failure as a normal part of the process.
Sounds like – “I wonder what will happen if…” “What would I learn from stretching myself on this?” “I think I will attempt to….”
Looks like – Reaching for the next bar on the jungle gym. Watching to see what to do in a new situation, then trying it if safe. Accepting challenge because of what could be learned.
Feels like – I knew I could make it to the top. Wow!, I did it! I can ride my bike without training wheels!
When people hold back from taking risk they miss opportunities. Some students seem reluctant to take risks. They hold back from games, new learning, and new friendships because their fear of failure is far greater than their desire for venture or adventure. Some students are more interested in if their answer is correct or not rather than being challenged by the process of finding the answer. They are unable to sustain a process of problem solving and finding the answer over time, and therefore avoid ambiguous situations. They have a need for certainty rather than an inclination for doubt.
We hope that students will learn how to take intellectual as well as physical risks. Students who are capable of being different, going against the grain of common thinking and thinking of new ideas (testing them with peers and teachers) are more likely to be successful in an age of innovation and uncertainty.
“There has been a calculated risk in every stage of American development – the pioneers who were not afraid of the wilderness, businessmen who were not afraid of failure, dreamers who were not afraid of action.” Brooks Atkinson
Information on Habits of Mind are taken from the book Habits of Mind by Costa and Kallick.