3 ways to foster curiosity

Blog: Sara Castledine, Director of Primary

3 ways to foster curiosity

Posted: 27/06/14

‘Education’s purpose is to replace an empty mind with an open one.’ Malcolm Forbes

An ability to be curious, to ask questions and have an open intrigue about the world is a more modern way of assessing intelligence than simply assessing known facts. Teachers now face the task of not just imparting knowledge but developing an insatiable appetite for learning in their pupils. But how do we stimulate in students, this continuous and lifelong desire for acquiring knowledge? We start by encouraging keen questioners and active thinkers in the classroom.

A perfect pupil may be defined as having many qualities: good behaviour, active listening, natural intelligence; the list goes on. But many educators are now citing being unafraid to ask questions as a key ingredient to the perfect pupil. With these three steps, we believe you can stimulate the curiosity that leads to children becoming life-long learners.

  1. Establish a safe rapport with children
    Children may not ask questions because they lack confidence, do not feel safe sharing their thoughts or fear getting it wrong. Create a safe environment, where questions are encouraged. Give children explicit thinking time ‘take 30 seconds to think about it’; use ‘talk partners’ so children can partner up and discuss their thinking with a less intimidating character than the teacher.
  2. Model how to ask questions and encourage them to answer their own questions
    Ask questions that will help develop children’s thinking, such as ‘What other examples might there be?’, ‘Can you expand on that?’, or ‘What else do you know?’
  3. Give time for children to ask questions
    Plan opportunities for children to pose any questions that may be on their mind. In a classroom situation, you may also plan to give pupils the ‘answer’ and get them to come up with the question

We would love to expand this resource and help more parents, teachers and role models foster curiosity. Have you got any further questions or tips to share with us? Or examples from your classroom?

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