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Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained

Embracing Risk

March 14, 2019

This picture was taken in the UK, in Manchester’s Moss-side in the 1980s by acclaimed photographer Stuart Franklin.  It’s a wonderful photograph by anyone’s standards, and I would defy anyone to look properly at it and not be struck by a million and one different thoughts and ideas – after all, that’s what great photographs do: pose questions.

The ones that jump out at me as someone working in the field of entrepreneurial education are mostly to do with the breath-taking naturalness with which children approach risk.  And of course, completely intermingled with those thoughts, the breath-taking terror of that risk-taking for adults who live and work with them.

Every child in this picture is learning, maybe not what you’d ideally want them to, but with a vigour and engagement that every good teacher would recognise straight away.  And that learning is clearly highly entrepreneurial – it involves pushing yourself to achieve and testing personal limits, trial-and-error exploration, investigation, a kind of extemporising creativity, independence and most clearly of all, a willingness to fail. Interestingly, too, all of the figures are taking turns and emphatically not getting in each other’s way or threatening mockery as they so often do in the classroom if everything, as it clearly might, goes horribly wrong.

So how to harness this in a way that doesn’t involve the potential of long-term paralysis for children and full-blown panic attacks for adults.

This is a question that every teacher must try to answer if they want to really teach children to make their ideas happen.

Embracing Risk

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