by Jenn Hayhurst
At the start of this school year, not one of us could have imagined how strange and unfamiliar the educational landscape would appear to us today. A pandemic has changed our educational speak to include words and phrases like: distance learning, Google Classroom, Microsoft Teams, Zoom, mute your mic, remember to sign in, turn on your camera, and virtual… well just fill-in-the-blank on that one. Our classrooms are no longer physical spaces, they are virtual, and filling those spaces, is very different from what was before.
How do we make the most of our “new normal”? As we use the eye of our cameras to enter into students’ homes we can embrace their interests, encourage their questions, and find lots of ways to celebrate them and all that they are. We are also inviting them into our homes. With curious eyes, they are learning about our interests, and this experience, I believe is helping them to get to know their teachers in new and powerful ways. We can use this distance from our students to help them see their world through curious eyes. So as we close out the 2019/2020 school year, #G2Great educators came together to discuss curiosity and what we really want for our students.
We Want More Happiness!
As we dug a little deeper into curiosity we found that it glistens as a bright light for happiness. Curiosity is the thing that feeds our hearts and motivates us all to live more satisfying lives. This is true for us and it’s true for our students. How do we do make the most of it? We can embed curiosity into all aspects of the gradual release: the “to” “with” and “by” for instruction:
We Want More Creativity!
In my mind’s eye, I imagine looking at curiosity as a gemologist may examine a precious stone through a jeweler’s eye. How do we estimate its value when it comes to creativity? One way would be to celebrate the high levels of engagement creativity generates. Another would be to consider the high levels of critical thinking that goes hand-in-hand with a curious mind. Writing, building, and brainstorming ideas are all products of creativity that is unearthed through curiosity:
We Want More Self Reliance!
Teachers are able to sift through the silt of the academic day and find nuggets of curiosity. They find them, they shine them up and put them on display for all to admire. This is how they build a culture of curiosity, one with a strong foundation of self-reliance. These classrooms are not hard to identify, just look to the students
To see the world through the eyes of a curious learner is perhaps the best perspective we may offer our students. I for one have been reminded of how important it is to keep curiosity close to inform my teaching. Let’s make a pact just as we might have when we were kids. Say it with me: I promise to try to look for ways to increase curiosity and happiness! I promise to find ways to be creative and find curiosity in everyday life! I promise to celebrate self-reliance and curiosity every step of the way! Indeed curiosity is a hidden gem that we may take with us for having gone through this experience. Use it well.