Why Should Educators Promote Curiosity?

{36 Comments}

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

36 Comments…

 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. Your article is very useful, thanks for sharing this with us.

  10. 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.

  11. Your article is very useful, thanks for sharing

  12. 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.
    Curiosity is the basement of science, science wouldn’t exist without the curiosity most human beings share about how things work.
    gelang karet

  13. Why Should Educators Promote Curiosity? : to learn new things.

  14. 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.
    Curiosity is the basement of science, science wouldn’t exist without the curiosity most human beings share about how things work.

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

  16. Great post! Kids do what we do, not what we say. How parents and teachers model curiosity (or what we like to call Curiosity Skills: being present to listen, choose how to listen, ask curious open questions to learn and understand self and others) will have a far greater impact on kids and how they show up as leaders later in life than anything we can teach them.

  17. I have found the site very informative! I only recently came upon it, and wish I’d seen it sooner. It does a great job of pulling different topics/disciplines/perspectives — something unique and valuable here. Thanks — hope you keep it up!

  18. So if a teacher is able to arouse students’ curiosity about something they’re naturally motivated to learn, they’ll be better prepared to learn things that they would normally consider boring or difficult. For instance, if a student struggles with math, personalizing math problems to match their specific interests rather than using generic textbook questions could help them better remember how to go about solving similar math problems in the future.

  19. Great post! Kids do what we do, not what we say. How parents and teachers model curiosity (or what we like to call Curiosity Skills: being present to listen, choose how to listen, ask curious open questions to learn and understand self and others) will have a far greater impact on kids and how they show up as leaders later in life than anything we can teach them.

  20. I really like these tasks to develop considerations. I remember when I was still at university, we had one very interesting lecture. The instructor gave us an unusual task. He gave us clean sheets and colored pencils. The task was to draw the teacher by portraying him in the way we see him and in a certain place wich we had to choose. After 40-50 min, of course, it was necessary to explain why we see the teacher exactly in such a place and show our drawing.
    (I drew it in the guise of a noble Supreme Demon who trains legions before the battle). That was very interesting and unusuall.
    P.S. That had to be math lecture))

  21. Been looking at many blogs and websites looking for details, stumbled upon this and I found this little gold mine! The material here is really helpful. In short, a smart and simple read! Thank you for your posts. I expect your next one.

  22. Great post! Kids do what we do, not what we say. How parents and teachers model curiosity (or what we like to call Curiosity Skills: being present to listen, choose how to listen, ask curious open questions..

  23. very important post. thanks a lot.

  24. Blogs like this is what makes things worth it. Keep sharing valuable information!

  25. Excellent blog. I will follow it more often. Normally you only find blogs that copy and paste information.

    Thanks!!

    Alessandro P.
    http://www.solucanarias.com

  26. So if a teacher is able to arouse students’ curiosity about something they’re naturally motivated to learn, they’ll be better prepared to learn things that they would normally consider boring or difficult. For instance, if a student struggles with math, personalizing math problems to match their specific interests rather than using generic textbook questions could help them better remember how to go about solving similar math problems in the future.

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

  28. Congratulations on your blog! Really interesting topics!

    The following thought by Bernard Baruch came to my mind while reading the post: “Millions saw the apple fall, but Newton asked why.”

    Keep sharing such information and raising topics that actually provoke thinking! :)
    Greetings!

  29. 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.

  30. Curiosity is what drives us to learn new things, which is why curiosity is essential in the education process.

  31. According to research, curiosity makes our brains more receptive for learning.

  32. Of course Educators should Promote Curiosity. Curiosity is something that makes us want things, want us to get involved. This post and photos makes us get involved. Such a great time and fun !!! It motivates learning and inspires.

  33. 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.

  34. It might seem obvious that curiosity and learning go hand-in-hand, but the scientific community sees it differently. Until very recently, there hasn’t been much published researched on how curiosity works in the brain. It’s a difficult phenomenon to describe, let alone study. But the latest neuroscience tells us that one mental process in particular benefits from curiosity, a process crucial to learning and education in general, and it just so happens to be the missing part of the conversation

    ~Jason Toss
    https://www.wordpresssoft.com

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