Sometimes when you start noticing something, it seems to pop up in your life more often. Maybe there's a name for that? Well in my brain lately, a trending topic has been Curiosity. I don't have any new revelations to make about it, but I thought I'd share the connections that are starting to form and the people and/or resources that have led me to them. Certainly some, if not all, of the work done around Curiosity has implications for learning... and therefore matters for our schools.
- This past August, Ramsay Musallam came to Jackson County, MI to share with us his message: Sparking Curiosity. I love his mantra that as the teacher "We need to absolutely be the most curious person in the world".
- I read and listen to a lot of Todd Henry. He is an advocate for setting aside time each week for "unnecessary creation," which is "an outlet for passion and creativity". For me, that might mean making a podcast or playing around with other digital media. In Henry's 2nd book, Die Empty (notes), he goes on to describe how we need to give ourselves permission to "bring back a sense of wonder" in order to avoid being "busily bored" with the day-to-day tasks of life and work.
- Apparently Amazon founder Jeff Bezos believes in setting aside time for exploration as well. In Manage Your Day to Day (notes), Scott Belsky tells the story of how Bezos has two unstructured days a week blocked off for free thinking and letting ideas or questions lead him down new pathways. Making curiosity a priority on your calendar might seem really hard to pull off...but if you do, the results can pay dividends. I try to do this first thing in the morning...before email, before the weight of the day causes any fatigue.
You cannot imagine what could be if you are constantly concerned with what already is. -Scott Belsky
- There are no better people on television for modeling the power of "What if?" than the crew over at Mythbusters. In an interview on the TED Radio Hour podcast, Adam Savage describes curiosity that leads him to learning as "a moment of interest that you turn into a moment of understanding". [hat tip Keith]
- Those moments turn out to be something that people have been trying to describe for a while. A modern interpretation comes from the Shots of Awe guy Jason Silva: "When we connect patterns we experience an exhilarating neurostorm".
- Which brings me back to Ramsay, who points to a David Foster Wallace quote that includes how there is an "explosion of associated connections revealed" when just enough information is withheld in storytelling.
So how do we make classrooms a space where it's MORE than OK to be curious? To wonder? Where serendipitous moments of awe are more frequent than hours of boredom?
As I sat thinking about wrapping this post up, I glanced over on Twitter and realized I have never changed the background on my feed. It's been 4 years and I know some people (including my wife) think the eyeball is "creepy". I'm not sure where I found this image from, but every time I read that quote it reminds me that the world is too amazing to ever be bored. Perhaps the cure for a lot of things in education is in fact, Curiosity.