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How Risk Taking is Part of a Creative Process that Leads to Success.

13 January 2014

“Creativity involves breaking out of established patterns in order to look at things in a different way.” - Edward de Bono

We rightly often hear about the importance of routines, structure and practice as educational elements of a child’s development. Some of our High Performance Learning values however also encourage our students at all ages to be creative and to take risks. We need our students now and in the future to be able to create original ideas and we must allow a child to divert from accepted existing ideas and encourage flexibility, originality and the ability to generate new solutions to problems they are posed.

We see creativity and freedom to express yourself take place all the time in primary classrooms yet as a child progresses up the school the chances to be impulsive and expressive reduce as the pressure understandably mounts to prove academic progress.

The process of being creative and impulsive are not however a problem or a barrier to good learning. If your child is showing impulsiveness and at times over excitability it may be that they are in the middle of a creative process. Psychologists have done research that suggests that if the adult is aware of a young person’s creative impulses (often it is linked to being excited) they can help them to experience their emotions within acceptable behaviour boundaries. If a child feels comfortable in recognising their creative impulses, they will control themselves and what they produce will ultimately be of a higher standard and this can only be a positive thing.

Being creative is very closely linked to risk taking and allowing children to make mistakes. It is natural for children to get things wrong and it is natural for young people to challenge whether the adult’s way is the only way or the right way.

We need to encourage young people to take risks and make mistakes but equally important is to reflect and learn from them. Safety is of course always paramount, but where a child takes risks and fails in an acceptable environment, adults should help them to learn from the experience. This takes place in classrooms daily where pupils are given challenge based problems and it is good to be reminded that there is more to life than the path that is used by everyone else.

Being there to pick students up where they have taken a wrong road is more important than trying to stop them finding their own path to success. Creativity can be solving a maths or science problem, attempting a new move in sport, working out how a person thought in history, making up a story in English or the traditional creative arts that allow you to express talents and emotions in music, drama and art. We encourage our students to try new things and new ways of thinking and not be afraid of failure, because many will ultimately succeed as a result of it.  

- Chris Share, Head of Secondary

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The British International School Shanghai, Puxi

111 Jinguang RoadHuacao TownMinhang201107Shanghai


金光路111号华漕镇上海市 闵行区201107

Nord Anglia Education

4th Floor, Nova South
160 Victoria Street
LondonUnited Kingdom

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