The Teacher Tip

It Starts With Curiosity

June 9, 2017

Adapted from The Curious Classroom: 10 Structures for Teaching with Student-Directed Inquiry By Harvey “Smokey” Daniels


Think back to a time you were really curious about something. This could be during your childhood, outside of school, or today in your adult life. Use these “symptoms” of curiosity to help you locate such an experience in your own life.

·       Felt energized

·       Got totally involved

·       Lost track of time

·       Was highly focused

·       Couldn’t be distracted

·       Stuck to it

·       Found extra time to pursue it

·       Felt pleasure of delight

·       Kept having more questions

·       Remembered what you learned

·       Later shared your learning with others

Got one? Great. Now consider these three questions on your own or with a study group.

·       What was your topic or activity?

·       How did you get hooked?

·       Where did this happen?

·       Was anyone else involved as a mentor or partner?

·       How did you feel emotionally?

·       How would you describe your state of mind?

As you recollect these conditions, compare them to your own classroom today and think about possible changes.

When teachers work through this exercise, most are struck by the power of curiosity to drive learning, engender persistence, and unleash accomplishment. It’s a great reminder that we can work from kids’ own questions backward to the required curriculum, not always the other way around.

To learn more about The Curious Classroom, and to download a sample chapter, click here.

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