Chatsworth Hills IB Values – Risk-Takers
Like Alice in “Alice in Wonderland” discovered, taking risks almost always brings change and enlightenment. That’s why at our premier Los Angeles private school, the Chatsworth Hills Academy staff loves the International Baccalaureate World School’s value of “risk-taker” so much. Risk-Taker is one of ten IB program attributes promoted at CHA.The old adage that we learn from our mistakes is never so true when it comes to the world of education. Students must feel safe enough in our classrooms to experiment, problem-solve, and make decisions without fear that being wrong equals failure. CHA is the only International Baccalaureate program offering both an Early Years and a Middle Years program and risk-taking is at the core of our learning:
“We approach uncertainty with forethought and determination; we work independently and cooperatively to explore new ideas and innovative strategies. We are resourceful and resilient in the face of challenges and change.” ~ IB Learner Profile
How Does Chatsworth Teach Students To Be Risk-Takers?
Like adults, children who are afraid to take risks will likely never try anything at all. This might be the safest approach, but it certainly doesn’t bode well for fun, or learning. Risk-taking is the ability to venture out into the unknown, to try something new or different, to make a guess without fear. Chatsworth Hills Academy prepares its students to be successful members of the global economy. As such, we believe that students need to have the ability to make decisions and solve problems, both on their own and in collaboration with others. Taking risks such as these requires that we teach students that failure is a positive learning experience. Here are a few ways Chatsworth HIlls Academy promotes risk-taking:
Developing A Culture of Trust In The Classroom
At CHA, you’ll find the most highly educated and qualified staff ready to take your child to new educational heights. That starts with knowing how to create a classroom environment where students feel safe to take risks. This type of risk-taking environment is created at CHA by embracing an attitude that communicates that each student in the class is a valuable person with important ideas. Each day our students and teachers enter their classrooms with great anticipation and expectations for the learning that is getting ready to happen. This environment offers an unconditional, positive feeling for each individual. Acceptance does not depend on meeting the expectations of others but rather on the simple fact that our students are capable of learning in an environment that allows them to do so in unique and different ways. Conforming to pre-established norms is not demanded; instead, nonconforming behaviors are accepted, encouraged, and enjoyed. Students at our Los Angeles private school are given choices, their decisions are respected, and they learn to recognize the consequences of their decisions.
Planned Curriculum & Activities
The teachers at CHA spend countless hours planning what they know will be the most effective learning activities related to teaching the curriculum for each class. Within these activities are nestled the keys to incorporating risk-taking into every lesson. Activities are selected for a variety of learning styles so that all CHA students will develop confidence in learning the material in the way that is best for them. Teachers utilize techniques like “think-pair-share” to encourage collaboration and facilitate confidence among all students. CHA ensures that a variety of materials are available for students to promote risk-taking, both in kind and level of difficulty (e.g., easel painting with brushes of various sizes; collages made on construction paper, cardboard, wood, or computers/tablets; lined and unlined paper to write titles to drawings or student-authored books as well as digitally-authored books; and word-list picture books and books that challenge children’s comprehension and analytical thinking). Other materials are more free-form to give students the chance to explore and experiment in their individual ways (e.g., clay used without cookie cutters or rolling pins; a variety of music for creative dance; discarded clothing for dramatic play; chalk, crayons, felt pens, ink pens, and calligraphy pens, and pencils for drawing on paper, sidewalks, wood). The classroom environment that encourages risk-taking will develop good decision-makers and effective-problem solvers. When these abilities are established early, they will lay the foundation for a lifetime of learning.
Asking The Right Questions
While it’s tempting and much easier to use the awkward “good effort” comment when a student gives a wrong answer, the teachers at CHA know better. Rather than give positive reinforcement for a wrong answer, CHA teachers are skilled at asking more in-depth questions that facilitate learning and allow students to recover from an incorrect response. Some questions that might be asked include: “That’s an interesting answer, can you tell me what thinking led you to that response?” Or, ask the class to help out with a question like, “Who can help us dive deeper?” Or, “Who can help us add to/adjust that answer.” We positively recognize students who take the risk to give an answer to the class, sincerely thanking them for their contribution.
Sharing Teacher Thinking & Mistakes
Our staff members are not afraid to share their learning, thinking, AND mistakes with our students. During the modeling process for many lessons, teachers have and use the opportunity to not only model the correct response or procedure, but they model what their thoughts are as they walk through the process. Students find this important in connecting the work with the thinking. When teachers struggle, or make a mistake, they admit that out loud as well to show students that making mistakes is all part of the learning process.
Love Taking Risks At Chatsworth Hills Academy
We find that most students entering our Early Years program are uninhibited and analytical risk-takers. Other students – young and old – are more inhibited. We strive to help those natural risk-taking behaviors remain as a permanent part of our student’s learning styles and help those less willing to take risks regain and rediscover risk-taking. If you want a private school in the Los Angeles area where your child is encouraged to take risks as he or she learns and grows, Chatsworth Hills Academy is the place for you. Give us a call at (818) 998-4037 or use our online appointment form to request a tour and visit to our beautiful campus.
Want to learn more about the The International Baccalaureate® (IB) learner profile? Click on the links below for more information. The profile aims to develop learners who are: