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Cultivating a Sense of Wonder in the Classroom

There is something magical and exciting that happens when you learn something new. Young brains are open to exploring and seeing things in new ways. There is a natural sense of wonder and delight that motivates us to understand and make meaning of the world around us. It is never too late to provide an opportunity for a young person to appreciate the joy of learning and discovery. To cultivate and encourage your students to look forward to learning with a sense of wonder try:

  • Model a sense of curiosity and wonder. Share your surprise and delight about what you are learning.
  • Make curiosity a practice. Find a way to bring curiosity into your classroom as a routine. This could look like noticing that there are multiple ways to a problem or answer a question or making space for students to ask a variety of questions to adults and each other.
  • Help them notice that sense of delight and pride as they master a new task or make a discovery. Say (privately), “You just ___. How did that feel?”
  • Explore perspective taking and being curious about how people arrive at different viewpoints.
  • Invite reflection. Use a “why” or “how” question that students can write or discuss and reflect on daily.
  • Take field trips. Out in the real world is best, but if you can’t afford that, you can now do this virtually. Imagine having a tour guide take you on a tour of Thomas Jefferson’s house. Use the experience to generate questions to answer to learn more. Do an internet search for virtual field trips.
  • Let them lead. Have them teach mini lessons on appropriate topics. Bringing in guest speakers who are using your subject matter in the real world.