5 Ways to Inspire Curiosity in Students

Curiosity prepares students’ brains for learning. When students are curious, their brains are more engaged in learning and they can retain more information. Curious students are more motivated to learn and more tuned into what they are studying. Curious students are better able to make sense of the world around them and to respond to complex, unfamiliar, and unanticipated challenges. Research indicates that curious students are more open-minded, express more positive emotions, demonstrate lower levels of anxiety, have greater life satisfaction, and are more psychologically stable. Moreover, curiosity is linked to higher levels of academic achievement. 

Yet, many students express that they are not curious about what they are learning in school these days. In fact, students these days are often so overwhelmed by their workload that they are just trying to get through everything that is on their plates. 

So, how can teachers and parents inspire students to be curious? We suggest these 5 ways to inspire curiosity in students. 

  1. Model a curious nature. Children should live curiously every single day. They should approach each new situation with excitement and anticipation. Typically, this is what separates children from adults, as adults are usually more reserved. But in the classroom, when encouraging an intellectual curiosity, teachers and parents must encourage and model this curious nature. Teachers and parents should approach every new lesson and experience, as an opportunity to see it through the eyes of children, students. By becoming as enthusiastic as the teachers and parents hope their students will be, the students will be more open to new ideas and experiences. 
  2. Ask questions. Questions inspire curiosity. If teachers and parents introduce a topic to students through questions, the students will be more likely to be engaged as they anticipate the answers. Asking questions empowers students to process concepts and the ways in which they interpret information. Thus, the more questions teachers and parents encourage students to ask, the more questions teachers and parents pose to students, the more likely they will encourage students to become more open-minded and curious about the world around them. Therefore, it is important that teachers and parents pose information in the form of questions, forcing students to think about everything that is being said to them. This also reduces the monotony of lectures. Rather than being talked at, students are being asked to think, to contemplate various viewpoints, and to open themselves up to a more inclusive, global worldview.
  3. Listen actively and encourage your students to do the same. Active listening requires body engagement, ability to recognize non-verbal cues, eye contact, and attention to verbal cues. If the teacher or parent is actively engaged, students are typically put at ease and called upon to focus and participate. As such, they can become more curious about everything being taught. Teachers should encourage students to keep their heads up, to maintain eye contact, to actively acknowledge what is being discussed by nodding or smiling or raising their hands to ask questions. Finally, teachers and parents can encourage students to summarize or paraphrase information to ensure that they fully understand everything taught. If students understand what they are learning, they are more likely to be curious and open to learning more.
  4. Encourage students to explore. Giving students the opportunity to explore areas of interest encourages curiosity. Students become more likely to engage in the learning process if they are curious. When teachers and parents encourage students to dig deeper in any area of vague or intense interest, they foster curiosity and a desire to learn. Furthermore, encouraging students to explore gives them opportunities to think, investigate, problem solve, inquire, and make inferences about situations. Students should be encouraged to slow down, to take time to soak up anything they see, read, hear, learn. Teachers and parents should ask children to explore multiple answers to varied problems, encouraging the students to be curious about different perspectives. 
  5. Normalize uncertainty and making mistakes. It’s always easier to know the right answer. So, when students are curious, when they open themselves up to uncertainty and failure. Teachers and parents can encourage students to be more curious by normalizing making mistakes and not knowing the answer. Encourage students to take more risks so that they can learn more. By normalizing uncertainty and making mistakes, teachers and parents will help students develop a growth mindset. And students will become more comfortable challenging themselves and being more curious about the world around them. 

Working in a one-on-one environment, with parents, peers, and tutors, students can develop a greater level of comfort and open themselves up to new ideas and perspectives. They can explore the world and embrace their interests. They can be comfortably curious. 

As always, GAMECHANGER Tutoring Connection is here to help inspire curiosity in students.  


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