Best Practice

Embracing risk in the classroom

Fearing that learning today has become too 'safe', teachers at King Edward VI Grammar School developed a strategy to bring more risk, excitement and challenge into their classrooms.

At first glance, skateboarding and teaching don’t have much in common.

But the head of a grammar school in Essex reckons that teachers could learn a lot from the determination, persistence and mutual support shown by skateboarders. 

“If you are in a traditional school with traditional approaches to learning, skateboarding would be deadly,” explained Tom Sherrington, who has been headteacher at King Edward VI Grammar School in Chelmsford since 2008.

“The teacher would take control of the lesson by saying ‘okay guys, line up. Here’s the safety briefing, get your helmets and pads on, do this, do that’. The teacher would control everything and try to move everybody forward, without doing anything too dangerous or risky. But how would these students perform compared to the kids at the skate park next door who were allowed to do what they liked, feed off each other and construct the experience entirely for themselves?

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