While working on my assignment, I analysed my previous year student classwork task (I usually take snaps of my classroom activities and students’ performance to later show them to parents in PTMs). I found a student note in which he asked me a series of questions about the question I asked during the session on Crusades. I smile for a moment because suddenly, the whole school term just flashed into my eyes, reminding me how different and curious today’s generation is. I wonder, what makes them question the question or even question the reason? Is it a student’s way to explore reasons for the reason, or is it just a time-killing strategy?
Research suggests that critical thinking, i.e. asking questions, is a hidden force that drives learning, innovation, and reasoning. Educators and psychologists call this ability’ curiosity’. The journey of being curious is a lifelong phenomenon in human life since the time of Adam. The human mind is always thirsty for new knowledge, and that thirst is curiosity. Either in the form of investigating concepts, searching for the meaning of the complex ideas about human culture and nature, or simply reading the whole in one go to know the story’s epilogue.
Teachers like me believe that curiosity supercharges learning. However, we also know that many students can achieve good grades without even being curious. One may argue that attaining good grades proves that a student well learns the concepts taught in the classroom? Because high grades could be achieved by understanding the system of test-taking and dutifully doing their homework. Well, it’s a whole new debate. Children with a curious mind do not care about marks and grades but ease their inner urge to find the answer to their questions. They often spend a significant amount of time reading and acquiring knowledge because they sense a gap between what they know and what they want to know.
Research published in Science Daily in 2011 suggests that curious students can become complex and competent individuals in the long run that also helps them to achieve early success in their careers. Another study by Cell suggests that curiosity helps young minds to retain and remember the taught information over more extended periods. Moreover, the research also highlights the importance of being curious from an early age by connecting it to students’ positive behaviour such as a high level of tolerance of anxiety, being an optimist and being positive during pressured environments such as exams and class tests non-critical or non-complex attitude, etc.
Psychologists view curiosity as a life force vital to happiness, intellectual growth, well-being and the heart of lifelong learning. Marilyn Price-Mitchell, a researcher, speaker, author, and Fellow at the Institute for Social Innovation at Fielding Graduate University in Santa Barbara, CA, highlighted some areas that parents and teachers need to be work on to enhance and stimulate students’ curiosity.
- Value and Reward
- Notice when Kids feel confused or puzzled
- Teach students how to ask questions (quality one)
- Encourage students to tinker
- Let them be aware themselves of the current/updated events around the world
- Lets them explore the variety of different cultures and norms
- Teach students to be sceptics
- Model them curiosity
Remember, curiosity not only gives students an advantage in school but also lets them think beyond the boundaries of their thinking. So, when was the last time you become curious?