Curiosity is a crucial indicator of integral growth and is a defining factor for student success. A newborn child is innately curious and will inherently seek out to learn about the world around him. As caretakers, we can seek out to stimulate the child to potentialize his success and foster his natural curiosity.
Our guidance will eventually help the child gain confidence in himself. In turn, this is a motivating factor to continue exploring the magical world around him. A curious child is a child eager to learn, and a child enthusiastic about taking an active role in his growth. Above all, the beauty of this process is that learning is a lifelong experience.
Even at a ripe old age, one will never stop learning if he continues to feed his curious soul. How do we do this? We need to allow children to ask questions to nourish curiosity.
How many times have we been bombarded by the challenging questions of a young child?
Questions lead to deeper understanding, which is then followed by more open-ended questions. And the cycle goes on. How can we, as parents and educators, foment this cycle? How can we encourage children to be as curious as to their heart’s delight? We need to get children to ask more questions.
“Schools are killing curiosity: Why we need to stop telling children to shut up and learn” by Wendy Berliner found that schools are doing the exact opposite. Under observation, she noted that children ask fewer questions, the more they advance in their educational experience. For example, after a question from one of their students, a teacher was observed responding that “it was time for learning and not a time for questions asking.” How deeply saddening and counterintuitive.
The situation mentioned above “could be a scene in almost any school. Children, full of questions about things that interest them, are learning not to ask. Against a background of tests and targets, unscripted queries go mainly unanswered. Learning opportunities are lost…As soon as they are at primary school, they have to shut up and learn.” The blame of this does not rest on teachers, but more on the systematic approach of schools in general. Schools pressure teachers to meet targets and manage classrooms with ratios larger than they should be.
It is up to us to maintain the curious flame in children rather than inadvertently extinguish it
Curiosity can be quickly killed by not allowing or providing the opportunity for students to express themselves in class. Typically students are impulsive with their interests and will tend to want to express themselves immediately. As educators, we may find ourselves forced to be more focused on classroom management and achieving specific merits than taking the time to entertain curiosity. Unconsciously we kill their curious spark. It can be easy to immediately detain the child by requesting that they raise their hand to maintain classroom protocol. Doing so deflates that instant urge of expression and curiosity that opens windows to other questions. There needs to be less of a focus on reaching standardized merits and more in feeding that beautiful curiosity that sparks deep learning and understanding.
Curiosity needs to be a priority.
“Promoting curiosity is a foundation for early learning that we should be emphasizing more when we look at academic achievement.” Berliner recommends that curiosity sparking needs to be addressed from top-down, as a “systematic approach” that enhances “creative possibilities.” “Children should be prompted and encouraged to ask questions even though that can be challenging for the teacher.” There needs to be allocated time in the day set aside expressly for questions. “There is not enough time in schools for creativity and following up on curiosity.” Nourishing curiosity needs to be the number one priority.
Below some tips on inspiring curiosity
We need to make a conscious effort and take the time to stop and enjoy the wonders of the world.
Please remind yourself to look at the world as if a newborn baby, all you need to do is put yourself in the child’s shoes. Moreover, we need to remember what it is to look at the world through a child’s perspective. Life can, at times, feel mundane. Our own life experiences have possibly left us jaded to specific experiences. Seeing the world and its lessons from fresh eyes can genuinely bring new perspectives, skills, and can lead to innovation. That is to say, your curiosity about the world and desire for knowledge and exploration will serve as a model for their own.
Allow some time for our students to lead their learning by offering choices for exploration.
Time for investigation is fulfilling since we have an inherent need to satisfy our cravings to know deeper. Digging into the unknown will foster and strengthen their natural interests. You can make this personal by posing questions that will force the child to dig into deeper levels of understanding.
Allow ample time for questions.
Please encourage your children’s students to pose them. Ask them their thoughts on the matter before providing an answer. Or even better invite the child to research the answer. Inevitably more questions will arise. This process is sure to drive more profound levels of understanding on all fronts. Above everything, we must allow children to ask questions in order to nourish curiosity.
Ask questions yourself.
Questions lead to inquisitiveness. Allow children to see your inquisitive nature. Somewhere in here, we can ignite their curiosity. View your teaching experience as an opportunity to learn and grow together and not just as a moment to guide and inspire young minds.
“Curiosity is the tool that sparks creativity. Curiosity is the technique that gets to innovation.”― Brian Grazer, A Curious Mind: The Secret to a Bigger Life
Berliner, Wendy. “Schools are killing curiosity: Why we need to stop telling children to shut up and learn.” The Guardian. www.TheGuardian.com
To become inspired, please take a look at The Earth Needs Action! and Empowering children to become action driven global citizens. Please read it with your children as well!
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