What’s at the bottom of the sea? Why do we get dreams? How are doughnuts made? Who, what, where, when, why, how? Ma’am, do you have answers to my questions? To the despair of my teachers as a child, I used to ask a great deal of questions. Some would take great efforts to answer all of them while others would hush me up!
Albert Einstein once said, “I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.” Maybe this is what made him follow the pursuit of knowledge!
Great learners never stop asking questions! Children are innately curious and this nature begins during the early childhood years. Curiosity has proven to make children smarter and as they grow, they excel at seeking answers. As teachers and educationists, it becomes crucial for us to encourage them to do this. Intelligence is sharpened through constant learning and is continuous through life. This continuity is because of curiosity that needs to be used as a tool to inspire them towards greater learning.
Providing an atmosphere of curious learning is as important as answering children’s questions. It isn’t an arduous task to provide such an atmosphere. Some of the ways are; to build a framework of a quizzing technique in the classroom that inculcates interest in learning. Perhaps, a quiz is called so because it makes one inquisitive! Creating a curriculum where answers are worked out in a systematic way by fostering children to use their thinking skills. To question, analyse and process the information put forth and finally inferring out a conclusion. This kind of a systematic approach will not just teach the child to simplify and work out problems, it is sure to hone their critical thinking.
Another approach to instill curiosity is by, maneuvering them to the “Socratic Method of Learning.” Here, the teacher doesn’t merely rely on children to ask questions, rather she can curate a set of questions with workable clues and hints, and allow children to brainstorm answers. The questions can be in the form of texts, videos, audios, GIFS and images. This kind of learning builds a strong foundation for problem-solving skills in children. Research has time and again shown that our brain retains information better if we’re are curious about it, thus making it more receptive for learning.
A teacher is a significant individual to pique children’s curiosity. They need to act as a facilitator, observer, sculptor of children’s minds and a motivator to help them seek answers. Every classroom is teacher-driven! An excellent curriculum can’t get any better if the teacher in the classroom doesn’t possess the passion for teaching. She will always want to inspire children in the classroom. She wouldn’t shun their questions rather, make efforts to answer through explanation and riddling them further. She will go the extra mile to introduce various techniques of teaching that are suitable to tap children’s curiosity by adding an element of fun as well. A passionate teacher is curious herself, therefore igniting her children’s mind. Well, passion for learning is contagious!
Did you know, that learning begins when the child is in the womb itself? Thus, who plays a greater role in the initial stages of a child’s curiosity? Needless to say, it’s the mother! Hence parents play a pivotal role in their child becoming a curious learner. Parents need to provide various opportunities to explore and discover as this leads to mastering and acquiring new skills. This in turn, proves to enhance their sense of self-esteem and making them confident learners. Answering to the child’s queries; making a visit to the museum, zoo, parks, etc; doing activities; storytelling, playing educational games on phones and laptops (Psst! Limiting the screen time!) are some of the ways to nurture the child’s thirst for knowledge.
Besides, technology has proven to harness children’s innate curiosity. With easy access to search engines and educational apps, they get to research information at the click of a button. Virtual reality has made it possible for a stimulated and experiential learning. Online platforms like Google Museum and Google Earth give them an edge over exploring various places and game-based learning motivates them to learn more. The infiltrations of technology such as these are leading the education sector towards a new method of learning and it is sure to change how children learn permanently. There is no doubt that innovative Ed-Tech is going to rule the future of education. But the challenge would be to constantly keep the flame of curiosity burning through technology and for parents and teachers to navigate them in the direction to sustain it.
About the Author
Ranjeetha Golde Vincent is the Engagement Associate at Walnut Knowledge Solutions Pvt. Ltd. With a Masters in Human Development she is a part of the research and content team. Passionate about children, she was previously involved in working with children with special needs. Reliable and organized is what best describes Ranjeetha.