3 Ways to Inspire Curiousity in Your Students
Albert Einstein wrote: ‘It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education.’ There are many challenges to fostering curiosity in the current educational model. However, curiosity is an essential component to learning. Research by the Association for Psychological Science (2011) has indicated that that curiosity is critical to academic performance.
Curiosity is, in essence, a thirst for knowledge. As educators, we have ample opportunities to inspire curiosity in our students. If educators are successful in fostering curiosity in their students, this automatically translates into a desire to learn. This fostered love of or desire to learn can translate into students who are engaged in the learning process and take ownership of their learning.
Why Foster Curiosity?
According to Marianne Stenger in her article Why Curiosity Enhances Learning curiosity prepares the brain for learning and makes subsequent learning more rewarding.
Furthermore, Erik Shonstrom discusses how curiosity is essential for students to want to learn in the first place.
The book "Why Don't Students Like School?: A Cognitive Scientist Answers Questions about How the Mind Works and What it Means for the Classroom" by Daniel T. WIllingham is a great read and shares further insight into how students learn from a cognitive standpoint and what this means for teaching and learning.
Ways to Foster Curiosity In The Classroom:
Have a Good Hook-and ask the right questions!
Students respond to questions that inspire or engage them. Try to first get to know your students and discover issues, hobbies and activities they are passionate about and try to make connections between these things and the questions you choose to spark curiosity in your students. Furthermore, ask questions that are open-ended in nature (ie. not “Googleable”) to inspire curiosity in your students
Integrate Project Based Learning in The Classroom
Curiosity is about seeking answers to questions and exploring. As a result, incorporating project-based learning in the classroom results in the optimal environment to foster creativity by starting with a driving question and having students seek answers and develop solutions. For more information on incorporating project-based learning in the classroom The Buck Institute website has some great free resources for getting started! For more information on the benefits of Problem-Based Learning check out my previous blog post here.
Provide Opportunities for Students to Explore Their Passions
I often get complaints from students that they do not know what they are passionate about. Provide multiple opportunities for students to explore issues and topics that interest them. The way I define passion to my high school students is what do they choose to do when they are procrastinating on their school work? Also, I always send out a survey using Google Form at the beginning of the term in order to get to know my student interests and ensure I respond to each one to show students I value their interests and input.
I then use this acquired date to incorporate student interests into the classroom.