Risk Taking in the Classroom

Taking a risk is something that every individual handles in a different way. Some people just go all in right away, and some people are more hesitant. Either way taking a risk in our lives is a great way to open ourselves up to new experiences and ideas but most of all taking a risk is a chance to learn about yourself

I like this quote about taking risks in our life. We can’t sit idly by and wait for something great to happen. One needs to take life by the horns and do something outside of the box in order to achieve what they really want to achieve. Risk taking involves many positive qualities in a person. It involves strength, courage, intuition, and passion. All of these characteristics and more can translate when taking a risk in the classroom

In the classroom taking a risk is sometimes referred to as “teaching in the margins.” The “margins” come from an ecological term that represents the areas between land and sea, areas between woods and fields, areas between prairies and forests, and many more examples. Whatever the margin may be, in ecology the margins are a place of great biological diversity and activity.

This is because margins are those in between areas that may not be as fully developed as the main ecosystem. The biota that exist in the margins must take risks and live life differently in order to survive. This notion translates directly to the classroom, but particularly in science classrooms.

Things such as field trips are an example of teaching in the margins. A field trip involves taking the students out of a normal classroom environment and creating an experience for them based around a specific topic. Teaching in the margins is creating learning experiences so that your students will be able to retain the knowledge they have obtained, because they now have an experience along with the knowledge that gained.

Jack Black’s character in the movie ‘School of Rock’ Dewey Finn, a substitute teacher brought his students to the margins by using musical instruments as a means of disseminating information while also creating an experience and bringing his class closer together

Now it is important to distinguish between teaching in the margins and a teachable moment. A teachable moment is something that can occur spontaneously and fairly often in the classroom.  An example would be when a student asks a teacher “Why do we get Veteran’s Day off of school?” and then the teacher proceeds to explain the trials ans tribulations and everything involved with being a service man or woman in our country. This is different from the margins. Teaching in the margins creates experiences that can be recounted and held on to for years.

Now if you have been paying attention throughout my blog, you may have noticed that one word has been emphasized more than others. And that word is EXPERIENCES. Teaching in the margins creates experiences, and tangible memories of a topic for the student to go back to in order to recall information. Having an experience gives the student the chance to participate in hands on learning, and we learn by doing more so then almost any other method. Creating these experiences involves taking risks in your methods of teaching and is an important part of being an exemplary science teacher.

Science is often a tough subject for some students. In some cases topics need to be taught in alternative ways (the margins) in order for the concept to be learned by the students. Taking students to the margins creates an experience. With this comes conversation, activity, and group work all factors which contribute to a topic sticking with a student more so than it would in a classroom. Creating these experiences gives the students information in many different mediums which makes the information easier to retain.

https://twitter.com/MrRadford_Sci here is a link to my twitter account where I will be reposting the links to my weekly blogs along with other science and education related tweets!