They say that curiosity killed the cat, but is lack of curiosity killing our student's education? I believe children have an innate curiosity that must be fostered and not discouraged. I think one of the main reasons the curiosity and creativity of today's student is being diminished is due to the strict curriculum teachers must follow for state testing purposes. Teachers are under so much pressure to prepare their students for tests and meet standards that, more often than not, the teacher finds difficulty in finding time and ways to incorporate creativity into the lesson being taught. Children don't really have a chance to be curious because the "plain hard facts" are being poured into them like water into a cup. Unfortunately, teaching this way often produces a hole in that cup and as soon as a child is tested on what they have been taught, they forget it. The water drains out quite fast. Students are also made to feel like their questions don't matter or that there is no time for them to question something. They are not given a chance to form their own opinion. They are told WHAT to think and not given the opportunity to discover WHY they should believe it.
I think one way to encourage curiosity in a child's curriculum is to have more student-led learning. Students need to be given a chance to find some of the answers on their own. They need to feel excited about learning and feel a part of their learning process. Teachers must try to find a way to guide the student-led learning to make sure they are receiving appropriate answers and material to their questions. This could be aided through the use of digital kits. Digital kits are a collection of images, websites, videos and other digital sources that a teacher puts together. The kits can then be used by a student to research a topic. This way the student is still doing much of the learning on their own but the teacher is still guiding their process and is ensuring that they are receiving proper and correct information.
As far as creativity goes, a child must be allowed to explore their creativity and find out what they are good at. Creativity can be encouraged through engagement of the student. When the student is engaged, they are more likely to enjoy the learning process and actually absorb what they are being taught. Creativity allows a child to feel like an individual and to express their feelings and opinions on a subject. I think technology is a fantastic way to foster creativity. Things such as a smartboard will engage the child and get their creative juices flowing. Class blogs are another great way to foster a child's creativity. Blogging gives children a chance to express their ideas and opinions in a way that is fun and interesting. Through this, they are also learning how to navigate the web and technology which will no doubt benefit them in their future careers. Teachers need to educate themselves on the different uses of technology in the classroom. It is the duty of the teacher to provide the best environment possible for the learning of students. Just as a student is being taught something new constantly, the teacher must also try and educate themselves on a regular basis. Things change everyday and the teacher must stay up to date on new developments, especially in technology.
I feel the ideas I have offered would have no doubt aided in the growth of my curiosity and creativity as a child. Even as an adult, I still am just as curious as ever and love to express my creativity. Obviously one of my past teachers did something right. Schools need to back the teachers up on their ideas and help them. The teacher cannot do it alone. They need administrative and parental support. Unfortunately, this is not always given. I think many times people forget that, as cliche as it sounds, it really is all about the children. As future educators, it is our responsibility to learn now what we need to know to help change the future school system. Someone has to do it and it might as well be us.
"Curiosity in children is but an appetite for knowledge. One great reason why children abandon themselves wholly to silly pursuits and trifle away their time insipidly is, because they find their curiosity balked, and their inquiries neglected."-John Locke