Healthy Risk Taking
This week, I have been impressed by our students’ willingness to take healthy risks. Student Council representatives have eagerly taken on making announcements at the weekly assemblies (and are finding their voices more each week), 3rd graders braved their first overnight trip with glee, and even just this morning, I worked with first and second graders who tackled reading new words and writing creative stories with vigor.
One of the skills our English teachers work on throughout the program is encouraging students to be healthy risk takers. Whether it is phrased as “have a go”, “give it a try”, “make your best guess”, or by asking students to share their work, we ask students to push themselves to try new approaches, to share their thoughts, and to be independent. While there is great value in precision, neatness, and accuracy, so many students get stuck trying to do it “right”. Letting some of that go allows students to access material that is a bit deeper inside, and to show even themselves their capabilities. In our bilingual immersion school, students see more ways that tasks can be completed, and their toolboxes grow exponentially.
As educators, we model, guide, and scaffold for students in order for them to feel the comfort needed to take healthy risks. Helping students to be independent learners is a skill that transcends disciplines, ages, and types of schools. So instead of always doing it for them, or always needing it to be correct, there is great value in giving children the space and time to give a task their own thoughts and attempts, and to express what lies within. It puts a smile on my face to see the smiles of the students as they reach out and accomplish beyond what they think they can do.
*In 2020, the International School of the Peninsula (ISTP) formally changed its name to Silicon Valley International School (INTL) to better reflect its bilingual programs, location, and international values.