Creating and Sustain Cultures of Curiosity

Without strong questioning skills, you are just a passenger on someone else’s tour bus. You may be on the highway but someone else is driving the bus ~ Jamie McKenzie a la

Curiosity is an important trait of a genius. It is a common trait in all intellectual giants in every field. Questions focuses our thinking, provides a drive to know new things, and fires up the neuroplasticity of the brain - the forming of new neural connections essential for learning all disciplines of human study. Curious people always ask questions - their minds are always active, investigating, exploring, wondering, inquiring AND learning. Asking questions is the A-B-C of thinking, creativity, engagement of attention, and problem-solving while making sense of the world – significant 21st century skills. The art of questioning should be considered the CORE technology that will serve us all in mighty ways as life-time learners. This session will rehearse strategies that fortify participants present work in encouraging students to become serial questioners committed to pursuing important questions until capable of making sense of their worlds and capable of fashioning smart answers to life’s challenges.

Building a culture of curiosity is the foundation that will fortify student of all ages for life-long learning. Who owns the questions also owns the zest and craftsmanship of GREAT questions reaping the rewards of a healthy body (physiology of thinking), mind and successful life that lives the quest of learning! Cognitive challenging questions increases content "stickiness" as well as sharpens the mind for 21st Century Skills!

Strategies for Fostering Curiosity

  • use thought-provoking questions or surprising statements at the beginning of a lesson which serves as a primary motivator;
  • use Think - Puzzle - Explore Thinking Routines a la Costa at beginning of learning;
  • rehearse problem-solving strategies using Fermi Questions;
  • rehearse creating and posting Fermi Questions;
  • introduce a conceptual conflict when possible and allow pupils to explore and resolve the conflict via DEBATES;
  • rehearse thinking with dialogue techniques promoting deep listening and logic-based thinking;
  • create an atmosphere in which pupils feel comfortable in asking questions and testing their hypothesis through discussion and brainstorming;
  • provide adequate time for pupils to create their own OPEN questions;
  • use wait time to check on who agrees with answers given BEFORE declaring right/wrong;
  • allow pupils to choose topics that are of their interests;
  • introduce contradictions, novelty, uncertainty and complexity with no right answers;
  • encourage pupils to explore actively;
  • allow exploration and discovery to be its own reward;
  • model curiosity by asking OPEN questions, engaging in specific exploration to resolve a question posed, and demonstrating enthusiasm.

Question Resources