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.