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Monday, November 30, 2009

It's all in the name

Further reflection on my post earlier this month on learning and risk suggests that by using the word, "risk" I might be missing the point. This reflection was prompted by Peter's comment on my post and some interesting conversations with other learning professionals. The best of these yielded this gem of a quote attributed to a brigadier in the British army,

"Often the wrong idea executed with extreme violence turns out to be the right idea"

The trouble with the term "risk" is that it means too many different things to too many people. Moreover, it is perhaps against the zeitgeist of the credit crunch to exhort people to take more risks so that they can learn more. That was, of course, not what I was trying to say but I can see how it might be understood this way.

I proffer "attitude to uncertainty" as an alternative. Less pithy, I know, but perhaps a tighter definition.

Is our attitude to uncertainty the thing which best defines our ability to learn? You can have fun with the word uncertainty. The future is uncertain but when you come to think of it so is the past. We only think we know things.

"It ain't so much the things we don't know that get us into trouble. It's the things we know that ain't so. " Artemus Ward [found on Peter Edstrom's blog for which thanks]

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