Episode 003: Academic Risk Taking & the Power of Being Uncertain
2014 North Carolina Teacher of the Year
In addition to teaching English II Inclusion and IB English, Karyn works with other educators in K-12 schools to help improve instructional practices. She is a district-level academic coach, an instructor for an English methods course at Guilford College, and a proud advocate of public education.
By her own admission, Karyn is not a natural risk-taker, but that changed when she began to view herself as a learner once again. Through inquiry-based and project-based learning, she embraced the idea that when students do the majority of the learning, as opposed to teachers doing the majority of the work, the innate creativity of students shines forth.
In this episode, Karyn talks with us about the importance of establishing a risk-taking culture in the classroom when teachers are transparent about their own mistakes and learning. She also helps us see that academic risk-taking affects everyone in the school, including administrators, who will start seeing classrooms that look different from the traditional models.
“Students have a tendency to ask questions that limit their own learning.” ~Karyn Dickerson
- “How long should this be?”
- “What should this look like?”
- “Is there a model we can see?”
The desire to be right can hinder their ability to learn and grow, yet the best learning can often occur when teachers do not hold their students hands and do not give them all the steps. From experiments in STEM classes to debates in liberal arts courses, Karyn Dickerson shows us the wisdom of Eleanor Roosevelt’s words, “Do one thing everyday that scares you.”
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