“We keep moving forward, opening new doors and doing new things, because we’re curious, and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” Walt Disney
The story of Alice in Wonderland is a clear demonstration of the power of curiosity. From tumbling down a rabbit hole and exploring the myriad of whimsical environments and characters, Alice certainly allows her curiosity to take her on an amazing, yet precarious, adventure. Her curiosity leads her to see the world in a different way and encourages her to keep searching for answers. Alice’s mind is constantly active, and whilst her curiosity often gets her into trouble, she needs to think critically and creatively in order to move forward.
Curiosity comes naturally to children as they try to make sense of the world around them. It starts from very early on, as we fearfully watch babies put everything in their mouth, to toddlers and the ‘why’ questions. Research shows that a curious nature impacts learning in positive ways. Students who are curious, desire to learn more. They display self-motivation and initiative in exploring to find the answers, often demonstrating a deeper connection with what has been learned.
Sadly, we run the risk of diminishing this natural curiosity with the way in which we as adults respond to children. I know as a parent myself, I can resort to ‘just Google it’, when asked a particularly tricky question that I perhaps don’t know the answer to. Upon reflection, this is a complete shut down, rather than an opportunity to let my curiosity also unfold. The power of modeling that we too don’t know all the answers, and the vulnerability that comes with that honesty, is profound.
A part of the intentional planning for our Units of Inquiry, is the inclusion of provocations. These are designed to pique interest and engage students with the learning to come. At times these provocations seek an emotional response, of which we have found the most powerful connections amongst students. Students are invited to develop curiosity and wonderings, and to frame this using questions. These questions become the basis of their investigations, whether individual, as a small group or a whole class.
In a world that is rapidly changing, curiosity is key. We need our children to continue to wonder in order to become active participants in the future.
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