Sometimes, being called a risk-taker has a negative connotation. It might be assumed that a risk-taker is reckless or careless, but in reality, risk-taking is a skill that students need to develop in order to become well-rounded adults who are decisive and confident.
To call an IB student a risk-taker is a compliment. Students who are risk-takers are willing to step outside their comfort zone and try something new in the hopes of gaining new knowledge or additional skills. They are comfortable being challenged and welcome opportunities to explore new ideas.
Why is the Risk-Taking Trait Important?
When children are young, they are natural risk-takers. They want to explore, they are curious, and they love to discover how the world works. However, as they get older, they may quickly become intimidated by the idea of taking a risk. When children take risks, they know that there is a possibility that they might fail. The longer they avoid taking risks, the harder it will be for them to take on challenges in the future. This is why we provide students with opportunities to be risk-takers at every stage of their development — we want our students to feel comfortable and confident with the idea of trying something new, even if it means they may fail.
The reality is, most students find that when they take a risk, they are successful. This success provides them with an extreme confidence boost, one that often leads them to take more risks in learning in the future. At the same time that they are building their confidence, students are also learning new skills that they will use in various situations throughout their lifetime.
The key to developing this trait in students is to provide them with a supportive environment in which mistakes are encouraged. When students are in a classroom where mistakes are welcomed — and are considered to be learning opportunities — they do not fear the idea of failure. Instead, they know that they will be surrounded by teachers who will empower them to keep trying.
How We Build This Attribute in Students at OWIS
One World International School is a popular international school among expat families in Singapore for our IB PYP and IB DP curricula. We build the risk-taking attribute in our students in a variety of ways, such as:
- Hiring IB-trained teachers who know how to foster this trait in students. The teachers at OWIS are not only familiar with the IB PYP and IB DP and the philosophy behind the IB curriculum, but they are also passionate about it. They actively seek ways to develop all of the traits in the IB Learner Profile in their students.
- Building opportunities for risk-taking into the curriculum. Risk-taking does not always happen organically, which is why we actively create opportunities for students to take on new challenges.
- Encouraging student agency gives students a voice and choice in their learning experience. By catering to the individual’s learning style, the teachers at OWIS allow every student to feel comfortable and confident in their learning environment. We promote student agency by offering different hands-on activities for students based on their learning style and by giving meaningful, customised feedback to students based on their progress.
- Celebrating student achievements in the IB Learner Profile. When students show signs that they are becoming risk-takers and developing the other attributes of the IB Learner Profile, we recognise them and showcase their success. This instils a sense of pride in our students and motivates them to keep working toward their goals.
- Encouraging a growth mindset among all students. At OWIS, we don’t look at mistakes as failures. Likewise, we don’t consider a lack of knowledge or information a sign of incompetency. Instead, we tell our students, “You don’t know it — yet!” In addition, there is signage around the school that encourages students to adopt a growth mindset.
- Cultivating a culture of kindness. We believe that everyone’s view is valuable and that everyone should be respected. By actively creating a culture of kindness, we take the fear out of risk-taking and allow students to feel confident when they step outside of their comfort zone.
Learn More About the IB Learner Profile at OWIS Today
Risk-taking is just one of the traits focused on at OWIS as part of the overall IB Learner Profile. We use the IB Learner Profile to help our students succeed both personally and academically. For more information about the IB Learner Profile and the opportunities to become a risk-taker at OWIS, a leading IB World School in Singapore, set up a virtual tour of our Nanyang or Suntec campus today.
This blog was originally written in collaboration with Jasween Gill, former Admissions and Communications Director, OWIS Nanyang and Suntec.