Professional and Organizational Development Network in Higher Education



Date of this Version

Fall 1989


A PUBLICATION OF THE PROFESSIONAL AND ORGANIZATIONAL DEVELOPMENT NETWORK IN HIGHER EDUCATION. Distributed courtesy of: CENTER FOR TEACHING EXCELLENCE, University of Hawaii at Manoa, 1733 Donaghho Road, Kuykendall 108, Honolulu, Hawaii 96822


If Learning Involves Risk-taking, Teaching Involves Trust-building, by MARILLA SVINICKI, UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS-AUSTIN

The premise of this article is that learning, like all other creative acts, will flourish in an atmosphere in which the learner is willing to take risks, and it is the task of the instructor to create such an atmosphere for learning. If we accept this view of learning as risk-taking, we can begin to confront the factors that discourage students from taking risks and build a class environment where learning becomes less of a risk, or where the risk-taking in learning becomes valued instead of dreaded. Both of these directions require that instructors develop a trusting relationship with students. When students trust an instructor, they will believe in the instructor's ability to turn any situation into a learning opportunity; they will expect the instructor to value their efforts; they will be willing to take the chances that lead to learning and to view failures as learning opportunities. What, then, might be the characteristics of an instructor who would support student risk-taking?

The Professional and Organizational Development Network in Higher Education