Cultivating Curiosity

For most of us, curiosity means a sense of inquisitiveness. Studies suggest that curiosity has a deep impact on learning. Researchers at the University of California, Davis found that brain activity increased when participants were more curious about certain questions, resulting in better quick recall as well as in long-term memory.  What’s most meaningful is the path, not the destination. There is something powerful in being to hold our sense of wonder for awhile. Teachers can help students discover that, while technology can make a search easier, finding an answer is often less satisfying than the struggle it took to get there.

  • Use what and how questions to help students think outside the box.
    “What would you like to learn about (how a computer works on the inside, ants communicate with each other, etc.)?”
    “What would happen if ____?”
    “How do you think we could ______?”
  • Set aside time for students to explore or play with ideas and materials that they are not familiar to them.
  • Challenge students to look beyond traditions and practices to rethink historical ways of doing things.
  • Have students practice developing thoughtful questions and incorporating them into a learning experience for each other.
  • Get curious about your students. What experiences have they had that could help you learn?
  • Make sure that technology supplements but doesn’t replace face-to-face interactions with you or their classmates.