Why Should Educators Promote Curiosity?


Building the tallest paper cup tower.
Building the tallest paper cup tower.

In what ways can educators promote curiosity?

Amina and three classmates are given ten minutes to build the tallest tower they possibly can with paper cups. What academic content, reasoning, and social skills might be sparked by this group challenge?

Educators must work with curriculum standards and school schedules as they make their teaching choices, but taking the time to consider challenging open-ended questions as provocations for critical thinking and social dynamics can motivate learning.

Wheelock College faculty and community partners came together for the Curiosity and Learning Conference (October 1, 2016) to share ideas using everyday materials and provocations to facilitate thinking on how to promote curiosity, learning, and collaboration.

What did you learn at the conference? What connections are you making? What will you try in your setting?  Share your ideas so we can continue to learn together.

Post a comment or email us at curiosityconference@wheelock.edu.

Curiosity and Learning Hands-on Station
Curiosity and Learning Conference Hands-on Station
Curiosity and Learning Conference Hands-on Station
Curiosity and Learning Conference Hands-on Station


 Share your views
  1. I attended this years Hawkins’ inspired Curiosity and Learning conference in the role of workshop presenter and was grateful to have the time to visit many of the other presenters’ stations.
    I was particularly drawn to the amount of enthusiasm and passion coming from each person offering a workshop. This was most clear to me the further away the session was from my own interests. I brought to the event an open-ended drawing inquiry activity. I was very personally excited about how the ongoing drawing might evolve over the day. When I visited an area that focused on robots, I was surprised by the hustle and hum and business coming from those at that worker space—the excitement there. I was struck at that moment by how little interest I have in robots.
    I have always been curious about what motivates learning. Watching this “un” conference unfold reinforced my understanding that interest and curiosity are highly personal, and what one is able to investigate when driven by curiosity depends so much on how that curiosity is respected and supported.
    I often consider ways that a system might support individual passions, curiosities and questions—as did this conference. My thoughts align with ideas outlined in Howard Gardner’s Multiple Intelligence Theory, which I began reading about in the early 1990s. It seems clear to me that embracing individual interest, as does MI Theory, has the ability to support us as a society. We need multiple abilities and expertise. Schools, especially lately, tend to focus on highly specific and highly refined “knowledge”. Curriculum seems designed so that the interest comes from outside the learner, and assessment seems to judge the learner’s competency based solely on the external curricula. Connections between the material and the learner are forced at best, non-existent often. Very often the measured competency is disconnected from the learners’ interests, which seems, in the long run, to disconnect the learner—the individual—from having an authentic, enjoyable, perhaps even passionate connection to her or his adult existence.
    This brings me back to Saturday’s conference. People (adult learners) had the opportunity to float to sites of interest, engage when ready, and spend liberal amounts of time (hours) individually and in groups at each station. The connections between and among people and materials were spontaneous, almost always challenging and exciting, and often collaborative and joyful.
    The enthusiasm, spontaneity, focused involvement, questioning, frustration and reward of the learning that I watched this weekend so strongly related to what I see in very young children. Learning happens so easily when interest of the learner, supported by an equally interested mentor, is embedded in the educational system, whether that system is formal or informal. This has always been clear to me. What else is apparent is that we really don’t all have to learn the same thing—we are different in our interests because society NEEDS diverse expertise to function smoothly.
    (See the essay “I, Thou, It” in The Informed Vision: Essays on Learning and Human Nature, by David Hawkins and Making Learning Visible: Children as Individual and Group Learners – at: http://www.pz.harvard.edu/resources/making-learning-visible-children-as-individual-and-group-learners#sthash.iW78pFMC.dpuf)

  2. It is really a good post. The post is very informative and I really liked it. Keep sharing more useful and informative articles. Thank you.

  3. Very interesting I like the article author, good learning good information. Thanks for share

  4. Nice post, very inspiring..useful information

  5. Albert Einstein said once: “The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existence. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery each day.”

  6. Curiosity is the basement of science, science wouldn’t exist without the curiosity most human beings share about how things work.

  7. just came across to this post completely by coincidence.
    enjoyed it very much though.
    interesting points are raised.
    thank you!

  8. There isn’t much professional development in promoting curiosity in the classroom. Especially for schools that serve students from socioeconomic backgrounds that are traditionally under performing.

  9. Nice article , thanks for sharing to me.

  10. Thanks for share good article.

  11. Thanks for share good article.

  12. The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existence. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality.

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