Students bring curiosity into the classroom with them simply because they are kids. They have an inherent need to figure out the world, to explore new topics and see how things work. They desire to learn new things because they want to know about their world, and they seek connections between ideas to make sense of that world. They are children, and their canvas is blank. The best way to fill that canvas is by quenching the thirst created by curiosity.
When students are allowed to learn about topics that pique their curiosity, they are motivated to learn, and they are excited. They will remain engaged as they chase down the information they are seeking which allows them to think more critically and with more depth. The pursuit of an idea will inevitably lead to finding other ideas along the way and thus, children are exposed to many new thoughts. They become more creative in their thinking due to the fact that their base of knowledge grows which gives them the ability to make cognitive connections. With those new connections, which the students will be excited to make because they are curious people anyway, a different way of viewing the world is created. The next step is innovation.
Curiosity allows innovation to flourish, which is what the business world desires in its workers. Curiosity creates a passion for learning and leads to asking good questions. It is those good questions that are the driving force behind the success that curiosity yields. People who are curious spend a lot of time reading and working on models to find answers to help them understand the world. As they do so, their minds are active and are creating knowledge. Through curiosity, deeper critical thinking and creativity are fostered, and those combine to produce the arena for innovation. That innovation can lead to new methods of doing things, a new or improved product or ways to solve problems. Curiosity allows kids to become better thinkers and problem solvers. It is through curiosity about the world and the subsequent path that curiosity creates for people that all innovative inventions are made.
Imagine a world where no one was curious. We would know nothing about life, but that is impossible because people have an innate drive to figure out their surroundings; they can’t help but be curious. Children have strong senses of curiosity, and teachers have to take advantage of that and use that superpower to charge instruction. Once kids’s curiosities are stimulated, then ample time needs to be dedicated so that the topic can be explored and investigated. That is where the problem arises in public education: time. It takes time to satisfy curiosity, but the drive to complete all the standards and be ready for every assessment that comes down from above stifles the curiosity of our young ones. The only reason for that tragedy is because the time isn’t there to sufficiently allow curiosity to thrive. Yet, the risk of extinguishing children’s curiosity is too high, and public educators have to find the time to allow students to pursue the things that interest them. It is through curiosity that interest in the educational process is increased and students are allowed to construct their knowledge in a motivational manner.
Education claims to want curious students. My district even had curiosity on the report card for a brief time. However, education often suppresses the process of students who try to develop their curiosity and seek the answers to their questions. Young people who are just beginning to learn how to work with their curious minds are often inefficient in doing so, and it is risky to allow the golden minutes spent in a classroom to potentially be wasted. Those minutes are wasted only if the judgment on that time is that a product is manufactured. The most value is in the process of working to find the information that satisfies the curious mind. Children need guidance to perfect working with their own curiosity, and that requires time. For some, reading may be the course needed to answer the quest of curiosity, whereas others may need to find video to explain their topic and others yet, may need a hands-on, build a model approach. Curiosity is a unique phenomenon to each individual, and so is the path toward satisfying one’s curiosity. Thus, it will take time to develop all the strands involved in enhancing and heightening the curiosity of students. It is in our country’s best interests to invest that time. Just look at what curiosity has done for Google. Whereas useful information may not be created in the short term as a child seeks answers, it is the long term in which we are investing.
When children are in the throes of motivational work, they are so preoccupied with learning that they get lost in the process. That is what we hope for our students. We want them so engaged in searching for answers that they lose track of time with the end result the only focus they have, just like when they play video games! Developing a curiosity program has incredible potential for students. In addition to the increased depth of thought and the critically innovative thinking that is created, students have a greater memory for the information that they find, and that includes the incidental information that is learned along the way. It’s been shown that being conscientious and having curiosity impacts performance as much as having a high degree of intelligence. So, it’s time for schools to see that developing curiosity is crucial to educating a child, and curiosity needs to be included the curriculum. Let kids have the time to seek their passion and try to satisfy their own curiosities. We are lucky if the time is given and a student does not quench his or her curiosity. That is the sign of a truly curious young person.
For further reading:
Parents: Encourage Your Kids to be Curious
Strategies to Promote Curiosity in Learning
Creating Curious Thinkers
Children need the time and opportunity to explore their world and develop their curiosity.
There may be nothing more important in their cognitive development.
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