Stimulating Curiosity for a Seemingly Boring Subject
June 11, 2015
The importance of curiosity
Let say it right off the bat: curiosity is important! For starters, this is an issue that concerns many young students. We don’t have any statistics on this subject in Quebec, but in France, according to a survey carried out in 2010, 70% of the high-school students who participated in the survey claimed to be bored at school. The least we can say is that this number is much too high. Next, curiosity plays a fundamental role when it comes to the intellectual development of young people. Curiosity, which can be defined as a thirst for knowledge, cultivates an open mind and thus contributes to acceptance and tolerance. By being curious, we seek to understand the world, which leads to greater insight on the workings of our surroundings. Basically, curiosity encourages creativity. Lastly, it’s safe to say that more often than not, inquisitive people are also very smart. You may disagree, but the issue remains that if our youth is uninspired and has no thirst for knowledge, the world of tomorrow is in jeopardy. So what can be done to inspire young people?
Hand book for parents
“If something is boring, it is what it is.” Not so fast! There is an efficient way to stimulate interest in our surroundings, which are explored in many school subjects. According to French author Daniel Pennac, “Curiosity cannot be forced. It must be awakened.” That’s all well and good, but what can be done to awaken (and sometime revive) curiosity in a dormant state?
First, let’s relieve students from some of the weight on their shoulders. Often, when a topic is dull, it’s because the teacher is unable to inspire the students or to create a thirst for knowledge by making the subject come alive. In this case, students must work harder to develop their interest in the class subject despite the fact the teacher isn’t making the task any easier. But hope remains!
For most people, the thing that makes learning stimulating is the fact the knowledge being assimilated affects their existence directly. This is what we call giving meaning and authenticity to learning. Parents have a role to play in this process, which complements the teacher’s job.
By taking an interest in the topic that seemingly bores your children, you can make connections (to the best of your knowledge) with their surroundings. For example, take a wilderness walk and try teaching your children about the beauty and features specific to each variety of trees. You can make connections with the material they are currently learning in their ecology class. As another example, during a hockey game, draw their attention to the stats chart and highlight the importance of calculating league averages or player performance percentages. The variations are endless.
Your role consists in being the spark that ignites curiosity. Once you’ve awakened it, the children will seek the knowledge they desire on their own. Most of the time, it’s the initial effort that’s lacking. This may seem cliché, but NOTHING is boring. Being curious sometimes requires effort, but trust me... it’s definitely worthwhile!
An article by School Success