Over the last year I have been thinking and talking at length with our faculty and students about curiosity. Developing curious young people is at the core of our mission. Developing and measuring curiosity are difficult things, but both are worth doing. I have had numerous parents tell me that they have not seen the level of curiosity in their students that they see in their students at Dublin since their child was in third grade.
I think we develop curiosity at Dublin in a number of ways. First and foremost, our faculty like to listen to students more than they like to talk at students. If you have spent any time around teenagers you will quickly learn that they have opinions and ideas, and they appreciate when adults take those opinions and ideas seriously. My son’s preschool Waldorf teacher taught me a great lesson when she asked me if I ever thought my son was asking me so many questions because he really wanted me to ask him questions. The next time my son asked me a question I turned the question around on him and boy was I surprised! He was ready with an opinion and excited to be asked for it.
A number of our teachers use a Dublin version of the Harkness method in their classes. They sit around an oval table and ask students carefully constructed questions related to their homework. The students take the learning from there and listen, talk and challenge one another over the course of forty—five minutes. They come away from these discussions excited, and I would like to believe, curious to learn more.
I have much more to say about this and will continue to blog about it, but will stop for now to ask you what your thoughts are about developing curiosity?