The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.
The Importance of Curiosity
Necessity may have been the mother of invention in Plato’s day but I would argue it is curiosity that drives invention today.
When newborns start to crawl, they become little explorers who are ready to investigate the world around them. They do not mind falling over or getting hurt because the world is their wonderland to explore all its hidden marvels. And because of this curiosity, they learn a lot through this process.
Teaching at SkoolOfCode
In my coding sessions, students are intrigued to know what they will learn in SkoolOfCode’s Pro Gaming course or Master of Scratch course. Today, most children play online games and already know the fundamentals of gaming. For example, using WASD keys or how to overcome an obstacle. When it is their turn to create games themselves, they are super-excited. It is wonderful to teach these young, curious coders. The more curious a coder is, the easier the learning becomes.
Curiosity is a wonderful treat for the brain. Our brain loves it. It prepares the brain for learning. It gives you a “feel good” response. It is the same feeling that you get when you eat your favorite food or after a good workout.
My Own Curiosity
I would like to share my own example of curiosity driving my learning. I was always a curious child and as an adult that curiosity never died. When I decided to do my post-graduate studies in Computer Science, it was not that I loved Computer Science as a subject. To be honest, I never had the opportunity to study computers before. However, because India was going through a technological revolution, IT companies like Infosys, Wipro and TCS were getting recognition on a global stage. As a result I was intrigued and wanted to know that how this “idiot box” worked. I was dying to study the machine! It was curiosity that sowed the seed of learning a new subject in my mind, at that time.
Tips for Cultivating Curiosity
As a child grows, parents and teachers have the great responsibility to keep this curiosity alive, nurture it and most importantly cultivate it. So here are a few tips on how you can improve a child’s curiosity as a teacher and as a parent:
Ask Open-ended Questions:
Ask open-ended questions, as it gives the child a chance to think, contemplate and analyze. Open-ended questions start with a “why”, “how” or a “what if”. For instance, in Scratch class, a teacher can ask “how can we make a sprite spin?” rather than asking “Can we use the ‘turn 15 degrees’ block to make the sprite spin?” Let the students analyze the situation themselves first. We can of course give cues to the child if needed.
Focus on the Problem:
Place focus on the nature of the problem, rather than directly giving the solution. For example, the teacher can ask “What should I do if I want to do this action forever?” rather than telling the child to go to “Control” and pick up the “forever” block. This will improve their reasoning ability and analytical thinking.
Relate concepts to real life:
What more can we do? Challenge them to go further. For instance, “How can you take the maze game to the second level?” We can also relate the educational concepts to real life, to ignite their interest in learning. For example, as part of our Ecosystem Project, our teachers make climate change a focus as well as coding.
When our children create something beautiful from their imagination, we can acknowledge their efforts and encourage them to continue being curious and creative.
These are some tips that I offer as suggestions and a starting point. I am sure you will be able to come up with even more ideas to nurture your child’s curiosity. Here at SkoolOfCode, we as teachers and mentors, always try to foster this ability to create, to imagine and most importantly, to be CURIOUS.