Feel the fear…

Today was the first day of our school year. This morning, our Principal told us a story about her holidays and explained how her experience could be used in our teaching.

Our Principal is afraid of deep water (not alone there). However, as she and her family have a boat and had recently purchased a ‘sea tyre’ which is towed along behind the boat, she knew that she was going to have to ride on the tyre with her grandchildren. The grandchildren were very excited and showed no fear, so not to ruin their excitement, she pretended she was excited as well.

Logically, she knew that nothing could go wrong. Everyone was wearing life jackets, there was an observer on the boat, the boat could quickly turn around if needed. In fact, everything went well and she had a great time.

So in terms of learning, the idea is that even if we are afraid of teaching or learning something new, as long as we scaffold the learning to support our students, they can take what they perceive as risks and will come to no harm. Once the perceived risky learning has been successful, our students will become more confident and willing to take further risks.