Curiosity Is the Cat

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I’m becoming more curious about curiosity. I’m beginning to think it’s the only “C” that truly matters, and that it’s been badly disrespected in all the conversation around the 4Cs or 7Cs or howevermanyCs that people have been throwing around.

I mean really, when it comes to learning, what comes before curiosity?

Critical thinking doesn’t, because if you’re not curious as to whether something is true or fake or accurate or real, you won’t really think very hard about it.

Creativity doesn’t, because making stuff is borne out of the curiosity of “What if?” What if I try this note here? What if I apply this touch of paint there? What if I mixed these two things together, or built another arm on that robot, or…

Communication doesn’t come before curiosity, because if you’re not curious about your audience, if you’re not using curiosity-driven empathy to craft your message, it probably won’t get across.

And collaboration? Isn’t that rooted in the curiosity of what other people might know and contribute to your own learning? People don’t collaborate for the sake of collaborating…except in schools, of course.

Think of most skills, all the stuff that doesn’t show up on the report card, all the stuff that probably matters more than the stuff that shows up on the report card, and you’ll find they are steeped in curiosity. Problem solving, problem finding, persistence, cooperation, adaptability, initiative…(add your 200 more here). Which of those doesn’t require being curious first and foremost? Can you be any of that if you’re not?

Hard to find one.

Reality: Kids are curious as hell when they’re 3, 4, 5 years old. They’re not so curious any more when they’re 13, 14, 15, years old, at least not about what’s in the curriculum. And the discussion around why is long over: we kill it in schools.

Reality #2: The most “successful” (and you can define that just about any way you want) people moving forward will be the most curious. The ones who are constantly asking questions. The ones who are always wondering “What if?”

Reality #3: Connection amplifies curiosity. This Internet thing has been the greatest boon to curiosity ever. I mean think about having a connection and NOT being curious. Sad!

So, what are we doing in schools to develop curious, connected, learners? Because the first without the second ain’t gonna cut it in the modern world.

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Also published on Medium.

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