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Risk Assess — What’s Safe? What’s Not? Why?

by Roslyn Duffy
July/August 2010
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Article Link: http://www.exchangepress.com/article/risk-assess--whats-safe-whats-not-why/5019486/

" Situation "

Standing at a fork in the forest path, the trail guide, in her soft Scottish brogue, advised us to
‘risk assess.’

On your right, the trail rises steeply. There are ropes to use as handholds. The trail to our left is longer but gradual. Please ‘risk assess’ and decide which trail is right for you.

Within a few minutes several Norwegians, a handful of ­Americans, and one Nepalese man opted for the right-hand trail. An East ­Indian woman, after ­considering her need for a cane, decided that maneuvering less steep terrain would be a more comfortable ­option, and headed to the left.

" Solution "

‘Risk assess!’ The words sound like a verbal stop sign. Stop! Think! Consider! My example uses adults, because it is with us, the adults, that ‘risk assess’ and all of its implications begin. What is my (the adult’s) attitude towards risk? How do I handle risk and how do I communicate my attitude to children?

My example came from a nature education conference in Crieff, Scotland, that I attended as part of an international group of educators* seeking ways to increase children’s experiences with nature. But the sub-theme of the conference was risk. The idea is that ...

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