Home > Uncategorized > Cultivating Curiosity in Our Students as a Catalyst for Learning

Cultivating Curiosity in Our Students as a Catalyst for Learning

By Maryellen Weimer

There’s not much pedagogical literature on the topic of curiosity. In fact the article referenced here is the only piece I can remember seeing on the subject, which is a bit surprising because curiosity does play an important role in learning. One of the definitions offered in the article explains how the two relate. “Curiosity, a state of arousal involving exploratory behavior, leads to thinking and thinking culminates in learning.” (p. 53)

Curiosity is the quest for new ideas and information. Folks who are curious aren’t satisfied with what they already know or have figured out. They go after what they don’t know or can’t understand—and that missing information can become a driving need to find out. “Curiosity’s most distinguishing characteristic is its open willingness to explore….” (p. 55)

Curiosity connects with learning in two important ways. It is a source of motivation, as these descriptions indicate, and it’s powered by questions. Small children begin life intensely curious about everything and they express their curiosity with questions—enough questions to wear out even the most dedicated parent. “What makes the car work?” “Why is the sky blue?” “Where do the chipmunks sleep at night?” But that level of curiosity doesn’t last, which brings us back to education. “Inherently, we are curious from the very beginning. Although in time, education—with its focus on the delivery of knowledge, being content versus thinking driven—causes questions to recede in favor of answers.” (p. 56)

Visit: http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/teaching-professor-blog/cultivating-curiosity-in-our-students-as-a-catalyst-for-learning/

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