The key to curiosity? Asking the right questions

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Behind every “Eureka” moment of researchers and great thinkers is a question that sparks curiosity to find answers. Still, education focuses more o students answering questions, not on making them.

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The primary motivation behind every inventor, great thinker, philosopher, and artist throughout history, has been a sense of wonder. How can teachers spark the same type of curiosity in their students?

As Pablo Boullosa told The Observatory, in an interview: “Curiosity is like a spring that pushes you to know more things, to see beyond, further, to not conform.” The writer, educator, and journalist said that curiosity “is a natural desire to know and that natural desire is something we can not lose; we should never lose.”

So, how can teachers help students stay curious? Rebecca Zambrano, director of online faculty development at Edgewood College, suggest starting by invoking questions.

Questions imply wonder and investment in finding an answer that may lead to more questions, it sends people on a quest to learn more. It is a learning tool that can indicate the level of curiosity of the student, their current knowledge, and engagement

Here are questions that Mrs. Zambrano suggests to ignite wonder in teachers and students:

  1. What specific subject about what you teach makes you wonder? Is there a way you can transmit that feeling of passion and curiosity to your students?

  2. What are the biggest questions in your field? The ones that not even the experts know. Are there ethical?

  3. Is there any paradox in the field? Maybe some studies that contradict each other that makes it hard to find the answers.

  4. What made the first thinkers and founders of your field dedicate their life to find answers? How can you recreate this feeling for the students? Maybe hiding pieces of information and sending them on a quest to find them?

  5. How can you use analogy or metaphor to spark curiosity about the link between different subjects? How can different fields relate?

In her article, Rebecca Zambrano admits that sometimes is hard to show students that teachers do not have all the answers and that that can be a good thing, it can make students want to research and find answers the educator doesn’t have.

On the other hand, Boullosa explains that curiosity is a vice, and a natural one, we always want to know more, so it is crucial for teachers to understand how to help students want to explore, to have a “eureka” moment that makes them want to ask more questions.