Friday, September 01, 2006

Taking a Risk for the Sake of Learning

Bud has a post where he references a piece of writing he published in the Fort Collins Coloradoan.
I basically gave myself their first writing assignment and was able to model for them what I wanted them to do -- take an experience from their lives and relate it to writing -- while getting their feedback and participation in my process. Real life workshopping in action.
I think this is a great idea - both giving yourself the same assigment you give your students, and writing in a public space as a model for your students. I think you should read the article. But I also really liked the quote Bud attributed to a colleague of his:
A colleague of mine always thanks her students for "taking a risk for the sake of learning," meaning that they take a chance and face their fears.
I think that may be my latest favorite saying (although "Refuse to think for your students" and "It's their education, not ours" are still way up there). I think we need to ask our students, our colleagues, and ourselves to take a risk for the sake of learning. And we need to do it repeatedly.


  1. FYI, I know Bud pretty well. We are both active members of Colorado Language Arts Society (Colorado's affiliate of the National Council for Teachers of English). Perhaps the 21 C group would be interested in a field trip to his high school (an alternative school)? I could talk to him about it if you think so.

  2. I'm wondering if my students think of publishing their writing on a blog as "taking a risk." I'm not sure they believe they really have an audience out there, and I'm looking forward to the first time that one of them gets a comment from someone other than a classmate or me. At this point, I get the impression my students think of blogging as just another assignment.

  3. Hmmm . . . taking risks. I recently commented about this on my blog. My greatest fear is that I will challenge my students so much on controversial Social Studies issues that someone in their life (their parent, state or national representative, etc.) won't be able to handle it. Yet, if I wish to help my students learn to think critically, don't I have to challenge them in this manner?