Growing Curiosity and its Relationship with Education

What is Curiosity?

Curiosity can take many forms in the brain, and be explained in many different ways.  However, one indisputable opinion is that curiosity is essential to becoming your own self.  If you seek a straightforward definition, you will find that curiosity is defined as “a strong desire to know” (Webster).  Having a curious mind can lead to being a successful student and to developing a mind that aspires for knowledge.  This blog will dive into how curiosity is related to education, looking at how it is implemented in the early stages of schooling, as well as how it is fostered in higher education.

Fostering Curiosity

As children grow up, a sense of curiosity can begin to drift away.  This could be from stress, an overly busy schedule, or just by a lack of excitement for learning.  Luckily, there are a growing amount of resources that help rekindle that love for learning.  At the university level, it is being discussed that students need to have an active role in their learning process.  An article from Arizona State University discusses this topic in a conversation they call “Habits of a Curious Mind”. This dives into a process of how to generate thought, which they exhibit as a never-ending cycle of asking, investigating, creating, discussing, and reflecting. 

Creating the Drive to Learn

From a young age, students ask many questions.  Perhaps, they want to know what makes it start raining or how the school bell rings at the exact same time every day.  However, it is an increasing challenge to keep students engaged and still wondering “why” as they grow up.  An article by Amy Eva in the Great Good Magazine explores why maintaining a curious mind is necessary.  Eva explains that having a “hungry mind”, which is how she refers to a curious mind, actually “appears to be a force within us that not only enhances learning but opens us up to more positive perspectives and experiences”.  Further, she addresses the fact that everyone will have their own forms of being curious. To categorize this, she presents five different dimensions, or approaches of curiosity: Joyous Exploration, Need to Know, Social, Accepting the Anxiety, and Thrill-Seeking.  For example, Accepting the Anxiety addresses the feeling of discomfort that comes with starting something new.  It can be incredibly stressful to start something new and step into that unknown territory, so understanding what that feeling is can be very beneficial.  Further descriptions of these approaches can be found in her article, linked here. Image-based teaching is a teaching style that looks at fostering curiosity and engaging students.  While images have always been used to some extent in the classroom, image-based teaching touches on visual literacy skills. This form of education is very beneficial, as students today are growing up in a media-rich environment. 

It is essential that students continue to grow their curious minds. While growing up and moving into higher levels of education, the demand for time, understanding, and a sense of self becomes extremely heavy. Truly, it is evident that the state of curiosity must be created and fostered throughout a student’s life, as it will have an impact on who they become and how they get there. At Tutor Zone, we encourage parents to utilize the summer and encourage curiosity by exploring new activities like museums, and art exhibits, or perhaps signing up for a course like “El Verano at Tutor Zone”, which focuses on learning a second language. These are activities that may be tougher to engage with during a busy academic year.

Written by Hannah Mangold

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