“Go out on a limb. That’s where the fruit is.”
— attributed to Jimmy Carter
You may have considered trying a new career, a new sport, a different vacation spot, only to talk yourself out of it. Maybe because it will be a risk or you’ll have to learn to “think differently”. As a society, we tend to talk about risk as a bad thing.
However, “(t)here is a need for people who are geared toward collaboration, team risk taking, and finding ways to offer unique contributions” (Knott, 2009). If your kids ever watched Magic School Bus, you know that Ms. Frizzle always says, “Take chances! Make mistakes! Get messy!” It sounds like a recipe for disaster but it’s also a recipe for learning.
Luckily, Saint Brigid School is full of risky behavior — the kind that creates critical thinkers and problem solvers. We are blessed with teachers who shake things up and try new things, sending the message that mistake-making, mess-making, and chance-taking are part of the learning process.
This year I have the privilege of collaborating with several of these teachers before and after school, as we find our way down the path toward technology integration within the classroom. Mrs. White, Ms. Rodriguez, Mrs. O’Brien, Mrs. Found, Mrs. Halpin, and Mrs. Newman and others are learning new ways of teaching tried-and-true subjects, all with the goal of keeping students engaged, excited, and enthusiastic about everything from adverbs to eskers (a glacial landform). There are savvy teachers using this class time to consider how to keep students curious (think Genius Hour). We also have a number of teachers who consider themselves tech-averse but are still putting in the time and the brain power to learn something new every time we meet.
We know that trying new things comes with risk, even when we’ve tested and retested, and done everything right. We are not afraid to endeavor and we know that our risks are your students’ gains.
Knodt, J. S. (2009). Cultivating Curious Minds: Teaching for Innovation through Open-Inquiry Learning. Teacher Librarian, 37(1), 15-22.