A curious intellect

Curiosity is at the heart of our educational endeavour. For me curiosity has been the driving force of my life – it really has. Right back at school (yes, that was a long time ago!) I clearly remember standing in line waiting to go to my Year 10 English class (yes, we lined up then) reading a book on psychology – a new topic I had discovered. My English teacher Mrs Ferguson (yikes, we didn’t like her much) simply looked at the book and stated “you have a curious intellect”. Was that a compliment or a criticism? I was never quite sure, but I never forgot that moment. Somehow my burning curiosity rated a mention!

What I now know is that as a teacher I have to take pride in curiosity and creativity, and to harness that natural enthusiasm through creating new opportunities for learning.

I’ve lived with curiosity all my life – and I’m sure you have too! It’s gotten me into mischief more times than I like to admit. It’s gotten me into strife more times than I like to admit. But I love it nonetheless :-)

Seth Godin‘s short video about curiosity hit home for me the importance of curiosity. He says:

For 7, 10, 15 years of school, you are required to not be curious. Over and over and over again, the curious are punished.

Scott McLeod at Dangerously Irrelevant recommends that every educator (and other change agents) should see Seth’s speech at TED.

One thought on “A curious intellect

  1. After reading this entry I am reminded of my 8 year old daughter. She is extremely inquisitive and relishes asking questions that I have no clue what the answer is. The important thing is that she continues to ask the questions (however difficult they may be to answer). I think that we all start out thinking in this mode; however, somewhere along the way we stop asking why. What causes the shift? The answer probably lies in the way that we are taught. Like Godin states in his video, we are taught to probe problems with a jaundiced eye, rather than approaching the unknown empirically. I suppose that this is lessened in the area of the pure sciences, but even there if you look at the fields of Bio./Genetic Eng. and Human Stem Cell research belief systems are the main stumbling blocks to progress in those fields. I think that curiousity can get you in hot water from time to time, but we must continue to ask the tough questions.

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