As part the process of embedding our High Performance Learning (HPL) agenda at Dąbrowskiego, we have been working with our students on developing the values, attributes and attitudes (VAA) needed to make them successful in their learning journey.
One of the VAA’s we have been looking at is risk taking; we have simplified it for the students so that they understand that it simply means “I am brave enough to give it a go”
As teachers and assistants we have been looking at changing the way we praise our students. Instead of only praising them for being clever and getting things right, we have shifted some of our focus on praising them for the personal qualities they display. Qualities such as effort and persistence, the originality of their ideas, the way that they are able to think through their options before making a decision or when they ask really interesting or unusual questions.
More challenging for us as teachers is to model risk taking but we know the ultimate best way to help teach our students about taking risks is by example. It is great when our students see us trying out new things, overcoming our fears and then not worrying too much if it all goes pear-shaped. It is powerful a strategy and it creates a non-threatening atmosphere that is conducive to teaching and learning.
You may wonder why we are teaching our students to be risk taking. When children learn how to take thoughtful risks, they will learn how to think independently as well as be better equipped to leap at life’s opportunities and to bounce back from life’s disappointments.