The joy of exploration – a hidden force that drives learning, critical thinking & reasoning is an ability called as-‘Curiosity’.
We recognize it in children when we see them exploring their environment, devouring books & information, asking questions, investigating concepts, manipulating data, searching for meaning, connecting with people & nature and seeking new learning experiences.
Benefits of instilling curiosity in children-
- Prepares the brain for learning–
When children have been piqued by the right question, they are better at learning and remembering information. This is because curiosity puts the brain in a state that allows it to learn and retain any kind of information.
2. Makes subsequent learning more rewarding–
This circuit is the same one that lights up when we get something we really like, such as candy or money, and it relies on dopamine, a “feel-good” chemical that relays messages between neurons and gives us pride.
3. Makes mind active instead of passive–
Since the mind is like a muscle which becomes stronger through continual exercise, the mental exercise caused by curiosity makes mind stronger.
4. Makes mind observant of new ideas–
When children are curious about something, their mind expects and anticipates new ideas related to it. When the ideas come they will soon be recognized.
5. It opens up new worlds and possibilities which are normally not visible.
Curious children often spend a great deal of time reading and acquiring knowledge because they sense a gap between what they know and what they want to know – not because they are motivated by grades but they wish to explore the grounds of knowledge with freedom.
Promote curiosity by-
- Valuing and rewarding curiosity–
When you praise students by describing how their questions, explorations, and investigations are contributing to their own or classroom learning, you let them know that they are valued for their motivation, regardless of the grade they achieve.
2. Teaching students how to ask quality questions–
Quality questions are a vital medium for curiosity. Good questions contain “why,” “what if,” and “how.”
3. Noticing when kids feel puzzled or confused–
Is there a “teachable moment” that will spark a desire to search for answers? How can you invite students to see problems as mysteries waiting to be solved?
4. Encouraging students to tinker–
Tinkering might be constructive play with feelings, concepts, ideas, and materials. How can students create a new widget, essay, blog article, poem, science experiment, service, or product from their explorations? Tinkering with materials, thoughts, and emotions stimulates curiosity and leads to innovative outcomes.
5. Spreading the curiosity around–
Create opportunities for more-curious and less-curious students to work together in project based learning. Curiosity is contagious in groups working toward a real-world common goal, helping to cross-pollinate questions and new ideas. By exploring their interests, expanding upon their ideas, and engaging them in meaningful dialogue about what matters most- curiosity is modeled.
6. Encouraging curiosity at home–
Help parents understand the importance of curiosity in their child’s development and suggest ways that they can foster it at home. Supportive caregivers can have a tremendous impact on developing curiosity and other essential abilities.
And even more impressive, curiosity is linked to highly adaptive behaviors including tolerance of anxiety and uncertainty, positive emotions, humor, playfulness, out-of-box thinking, and a noncritical attitude -all attributes associated with healthy social outcomes. It points students toward the knowledge, skills, relationships and experiences that they need to live full and productive lives.