Risk Taking as Acts of Trust

Trust by Ibrahim lujaz (CC BY)

Trust by Ibrahim lujaz (CC BY)

As I have mentioned in previous posts, I am currently completing course work on Connected Coaching. Our recent conversations have been around building trust in online spaces and a colleague shared an interesting TED video by Amanda Palmer on The Art of Asking. While her talk is framed in the context of her work as a musician, one theme in particular stuck with me that seems very relevant in education circles, taking risks and trust.

In the TED video, Amanda notes that what some consider risks on her part, she views as acts of trust. As I thought about this point in the context of education, risk taking and trust work in parallel. There is the trust that we must have in others in our community. I am sure we have all experienced environments in our lives where our willingness to step beyond our comfort zone was made much easier because of a high level of trust in that setting. There is also the experience in which one could be a part of a highly functioning community and not engage in any risk taking at all. It seems then, that risk taking is also rooted in the act of trusting in one’s self.

Can our schools and communities benefit from thinking of risk taking as acts of trust? I have only begun to scratch the surface, so I am left wondering:

  • In schools, what would it take to shift our perspective of risking taking to acts of trust?
  • How can this shift allow us to create deeper relationships and more creative, inclusive, and energizing learning/teaching spaces?
  • What do our schools look, sound and feel like when we there is a high degree of trust and risk taking?

What do you think? I would love to hear your thoughts and stories.

2 thoughts on “Risk Taking as Acts of Trust

  1. Dawn,
    I really appreciate your thinking deeply on this perspective– as your post has caused me to pause and consider also–

    As I’m mulling this over–

    risk taking is also rooted in the act of trusting in one’s self.

    I hadn’t considered that before and I think you have identified something important here– your questions are powerful ones and this one

    In schools, what would it take to shift our perspective of risking taking to acts of trust?

    in particular seems critical to me. As you’ve written this, my sense is you have some ideas about this? Might you share them?

  2. Dawn Imada Chan says:

    Hi Lani,

    Thanks for reading and my apologies for the delay in my comments. Some initial thoughts as I work through this idea lies in the power of school culture and language. What if as educators we framed risk taking as a deeper conversation about trust? Trust in others but more importantly in our own belief and potential. Something about changing the language we use and engaging in deep converations as to what is at the core of risk taking seems to strike me.

    When I was an elementary/early middle school student, I was extremely shy and hated taking risks. In fact, I avoided do things I knew I was not good at. Luckily for me, very wise teachers were able to get through to me and helped me to change the picture I had in my head and my own language about myself. It wasn’t immediate and it didn’t happen overnight, but through the years, I found myself taking more risks. I started to internalize that no matter what, I’d having nothing to lose and a lot more to gain from the learned lessons.

    So in addition to trying the shift the language around risk taking to trust, there has to be an environment built to support this kind of work which is not only focused on building trust among the community, but also working to build whole educators wherever they might be at in their journey. I have worked alongside amazing educators who think they have little to offer beyond the classroom. What if we gently stretched and supported their growth in branching out? I could imagine many wonderful possibilities for increasing their positive influence well beyond their class.

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