Curiosity is the engine that drives learning
Yesterday I had the great pleasure of going on an excursion to the musesum with our Foundation students. As Principal, it is easy to get tied up with constant future planning, problem solving and management tasks. All of these tasks are vitally important to the school, however it is also important to regularly step out of this mode and step into the classroom (or in this case go on the excursion) to tap into the excitement and vibrancy of student learning. This helps me to maintain my own motivation and strive to continually making the school a better place.
Building and maintaining student motivation is also a crucial part of our role as educators. Having a highly differentiated and challenging curriculum for our students is key to this, as is creating an environment and situations that stimulate curious thinking. Curious students are motivated, stimulated and energised to search for solutions, ask questions and challenge the status quo. Curiosity enables learning to be powerful and to go deep.
Curiosity fuses three elements that support powerful learning
- Positive Emotion: Curiosity stimulates our students to respond to unfamiliar or challenging information.
- Intrinsic Motivation: Curiosity drives the impulse to learn. It leads our students to operate as self-directing, autonomous learners who shape and self-regulare their learning activities.
- Pursuit of Knowledge: Curiosity gives learning and thinking a focus or direction.
(Munro, John; Curiouser and Curiouser)
As you can imagine, the Foundation students were highly excited and extremely curious whilst at the museum yesterday. This was not just the excitement of the excursion, it was also due the fact that they were surrounded by artefacts, images, sounds and experiences that were intellectually stimulating and highly engaging. The beauty of the museum is not that it our answers all of our quesitons, but that it makes us ask lots of questions. This is our aim within the daily classroom environment and we need to continually measure our success as a school by not just the answers students give, but by the questions they ask.