Over Christmas I had a grandfather’s delight of reading Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland to my grandson. The story follows the adventures of a girl transitioning from childhood into a never-seen-before world. Alice talks about her experiences in this new environment as ‘curioser and curioser’.
It got me thinking about the importance of curiosity in education. As I was reading the book, I began to see it in the context of the slow shift from industrial to contemporary schooling. Many schools have made their way down the rabbit role in search of new experiences for students. This brings with it new challenges. The alternative though is that we continue along the path of the familiar and the ordinary.
American biochemist and Nobel Prize winner Paul Berg (1980) said ‘…I realise that nurturing curiosity and the instinct to seek solutions are perhaps the most important contributions education can make.’
As we know the demands on teachers and the expectations on schools today leaves little room for curiosity and exploration to flourish. Yet if we don’t transform schooling, then our students will not have the capacity to seek solutions in new and creative ways.
That’s why we’ve chosen to focus this year on curiosity and it will give us a springboard for future years. To do that requires open hearts, open minds and a commitment to creating new mindsets and new realities for schooling in today’s world. This is the essence of educational transformation. While that may be daunting for teachers and leaders, the good news is that we go down the rabbit hole armed with good theory and evidence about what works.
Wouldn’t it be fantastic if all schools could open up new and exciting worlds for every learner, every day!