How many of you believe in the power of curiosity? If you’re a teacher you must know how it feels to struggle with students’ attentiveness or deal with their frequent disengagement. Naturally, children are curious, however as they grow and embark on their school life, the trait of curiosity starts diminishing.
How many of us believe in the power of curiosity? If you’re a teacher you must know how it feels to struggle with students’ attentiveness or deal with their frequent disengagement. Naturally, children are curious, however as they grow and embark on their school life, the trait of curiosity starts diminishing.
That wouldn’t be a major concern, but a lack of curiosity can lead to higher demotivation and also limit exploration. During school life, there are times when learners become demotivated, stressed, and they may even find it hard to continue pursuing their studies due to several other reasons.
Inculcating a skill of curiosity can help students thrive academically despite the challenges. Even for the sake of educators. There is nothing exciting as entering a classroom and being welcomed by enthusiastic students. It ideally cuts down the chances of burnout or being fearful of where to begin every day.
As educators, we have the power to lead students into new dimensions by leveraging the power of curiosity. Having a curious classroom is motivational and empowers teachers to introduce intricate topics without hesitation. If your students lack morale or aren’t curious enough, here are some of the best ways to cultivate an attribute of curiousness in them.
Generally, a curious class tends to be open to whatever topic you introduce, they like surprises, are interactive, and aren’t afraid to ask questions or be wrong. They also tend to be fully aware or present (psychologically), however when you see all this disappearing, then it’s time to strategically drive curiosity in your learners. Here is where to begin.
1. Add Life to Your Class or Boring Topics
This is one of the best ways to drive greater learning curiosity in students. Students are like any other being. They sometimes show greater enthusiasm, and willingness to learn whereas other times, they are the opposite. They will tend to bore you, nag you off, or even become intentionally unbothered by whatever you say. This could happen due to classroom-related issues like anxiety, and home or personal problems.
By the way, even intricate topics can reduce student morale. So what do you do? Find new ways of introducing new topics or adding life to your classroom. Some of the best approaches to adding new life to any class include;
Restructuring the Learning Environment: Have you seen kindergarten classrooms? These classrooms tend to be attractive, enticing, and beautiful. There is no definite way to restructure your classroom but it could be renovating it, putting up a few motivational phrases, and captivating drawings among others. The environment you teach from matters a lot driving interest and curiosity in what you teach or in your students.
Revisiting Topics: You can choose to do it whenever possible, especially when the new concept is related to the old topic. Doing this rises curiosity and your students will become interested in what you are going to teach. It also helps them understand concepts better.
Ask Questions: Do you feel like your class is unprepared for the lesson or are demotivated? Begin with asking life-related questions. For example, what their dreams are or what difference they would love to make in the world and when. Doing this will help them set SMART Goals and stay focused on them.
Where possible, you can also change where you teach from. If it requires you to teach students from the playground or use experimental objects then do it. It will surely add life to your class.
2. Incorporate Challenging Projects
Learning never stops, but most times, our prior knowledge helps us solve life challenges and puzzles. Whenever students learn something new (out of the box), they will automatically become more curious the next time. They will even start asking what new thing you will teach them.
However, deep learning isn’t always guaranteed with simple tasks. It’s the most challenging task that drives creativity and problem-solving skills. One of the best ways to increase curiosity in students is to introduce complicated concepts. These concepts will teach them how to think critically and even out of the box.
STEM Challenges: STEM activities are hands-on experiments that drive creativity and interest in science and technology. Our world today is driven by technology and skills. People who possess the knowledge and know-how to apply it in daily life earn more opportunities. There are different types of STEM activities and experiments for all types of learners. These can be conducted individually, virtually, or in physical classrooms.
STEM challenges like oil spills can teach students about nature and how to safeguard it. They also cultivate curiosity which increases their interest in science and the engineering field. So, always ensure to bring up a challenge among your students to engage them and drive curiosity.
Another approach is to introduce group projects. Group projects render everyone accountable and help learners coordinate efforts towards a common goal. A 2016 report indicates that students’ projects shouldn’t only be challenging, but should also inculcate interdependency. They must be experimental and centered around group inquiry. This helps in building knowledge and curiosity, especially in science subjects.
3. Teach Them to Take Initiative
As learners obtain knowledge and skills, they build understanding which also leads to greater learning engagement. They become curious about how things come into existence and how they react in different situations or conditions. We normally see this with children. When a child observes a guardian doing something, there are higher chances that you will find the child doing the same thing the next time you leave him alone. That is called initiative.
A better understanding of what is learned comes about when the knowledge is applied to real life. This leads to new explorations, which leads to new concepts or innovations. Teaching students to volunteer or take initiative raises their curiosity in any field of interest. They will learn to take risks and explore beyond normal boundaries.
4. Help Them Increase Their Self Awareness
When a student is aware of their strengths, they become motivated to grow in that area. When students focus on themselves, they are able to learn their strengths and weaknesses and they can put in more effort to become better. In today’s world, self-awareness is very important as it helps to identify one’s emotions, control them and learn how to relate with others.
Students who are aware of themselves have the power to make better decisions to drive success academically. However, those who are unaware of themselves or their potential hardly make adjustments to positively impact their overall life. They tend to procrastinate and are unwilling to take risks. Being self-aware can lead to self-improvement, especially in students with bigger dreams.
5. Promote a Growth Mindset
I guess we are all aware that it’s not only those who score highly in class who become successful. Success highly depends on one’s mindset. A growth mindset is that where one isn’t limited by his or her natural capabilities but believes that his skills can be improved or can develop better skills.
Curiosity drives the impulse to learn and students with a growth mindset aren’t limited by failure or poor grades. They believe that they can make it in life and it’s all about sharpening their skills. The term growth mindset was originally coined by Carol Dweck, a psychologist, professor, and researcher at Stanford University. Carol explains that a person exhibits a growth mindset when they believe they’re not limited by inherent traits or abilities.
Students with a growth mindset also tend to be curious since they have the urge to explore new things or make a difference in their lives. They are also more likely to take the initiative to work during their student life. They are the ones who normally become independent at a young age.
Are you a teacher concerned about your students’ curiosity levels? Curiosity is a key driver for student engagement and participation in class. Cultivating an inquisitive mindset in students can not only make them express themselves, but it is an approach to active learning. More so, it helps them build interest in studies, and think critically or logically. For the case of a teacher, there is nothing motivating like having a lively class!
Jessica Robinson loves to write interesting and knowledgeable blogs regarding business management, education, and life to satiate the curiosity of her lovely readers. Currently, she is serving as a content manager at the ‘Speaking Polymath’. Every piece of content that she writes demonstrates her immense love and passion for her profession.