Curiosity – Foundation for Inquiry

Every adventure begins with curiosity. Simply put, curiosity is the desire to know more, to learn and to
explore. Students possess a seemingly infinite well of curiosity. They are focused on asking questions
rather than thinking they know all the answers. It is not that they aren’t extremely knowledgeable; it is the
fact that they know their individual growth depends on continuing to ask questions and learning from
others. Even the best scientists and explorers have the attributes of kids! They often have a sense of
wonder, always asking questions such as who, what, where, why, when and how? Just like a five-year-old

Students, who are curious by design, often ask questions about the things they don’t understand.
This is what fuels their growth, both academically and beyond. It is no secret that curiosity makes learning more enjoyable. As such, every teacher should aspire to instill students with a strong desire to learn. A child’s curiosity helps them build concepts, acquire new skills, improve their vocabulary, and shape their understanding of the unknown. Parents, teachers and guardians can all help to channel this curiosity in a positive way.

Studies show that curious people tend to excel in their education, careers and lives in general. Research confirms that they are more satisfied and even find more meaning in life than their counterparts

Everyone wants to see their children succeed in life. However, there are cases where these dreams are limited by factors such as financial constraints and socio-economic hurdles. This was the case for James (not his real name), who came from a humble background. Due to a lack of funds during his formative years, James started school at the age of 10. Upon reaching the third grade, he struggled to keep up with his peers. He had difficulty tackling simple equations and struggled with basic addition. For James, mathematics was a hard nut to crack and at the time, it made him feel anxious, withdrawn and even frustrated. He would often shed tears in class as his self-esteem took a beating on account of his poor performance in the subject.

This all changed one fateful day when he decided to step out of his comfort zone. He got curious, itching to know how others were succeeding where he had failed. He approached a classmate, and asked her to shed some light on a procedure he was having trouble with. On question lead to another and another; James was eager to learn. He asked questions and many of his peers helped him. He showed intellectual humility and persisted. Little did he know that these decisions would were his turning point. James tested his progress by taking on assignments and giving them to his teacher to review. To his joy, he gradually got better. He could not believe it. This fuelled his curiosity. James started seeing mathematics in everything around him!

His confidence grew. He would raise his hand in class and take intellectual risks. As time went by, he became the best mathematician in his class and even developed a passion for it. His newfound confidence saw him perform better in other subjects as well. He went on to help his classmates never once forgetting that they were there for him.

Teachers can promote a culture of inquiry by sharing (digital) resources that prompt students to ask questions and seek answers through inquiry. In our next post, I will discuss a framework for digital inquiry.