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How to encourage curiosity in the classroom

Teaching practices have changed significantly over the years. It was once expected that children learn in silence without any discussions, but that’s no longer the case.
Each class still needs structure, but nowadays teachers are encouraged to engage, motivate them, ask questions and to bring curiosity into the class.
By inspiring curiosity teachers can create an environment that encourages a student’s desire to learn. It might not always be as simple as it sounds. What might stimulate curiosity in some students might result in anxiety for others so teachers need to find a balance for each class depending on the students and subject.
Here are some useful tips to help create curiosity in the classroom. Let us know on Twitter what your tips are for encouraging a child’s curiosity.

Work space


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Start with the classroom, is it a bright, engaging and inviting place?
The walls may be bare at the start of the year, but make sure they become places for students’ to learn, develop ideas and model work.
Additionally, at the start of the school year you could create a ‘what you’ve got to look forward to’ board with pictures and topics from the previous year as a little taster.
The configuration of classroom furniture also promotes conversation and learning from each other. Arrange the tables in small groups so students are facing each other.

Question time


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Start the lesson with a thought-provoking question or a visual aid so it will peak the students’ curiosity.
You need to make them think about the topic and ask open-ended questions rather than just giving the students all the information straight away. Rather than saying ‘This is what happens when…’ – try ‘What do you think would happen if…?’

Confidence


Kirkby High School Students Slide

As a teacher you need to create an atmosphere where learners are comfortable and feel safe about asking questions. Some children may not understand a subject but don’t have the confidence to ask, so questions in class need to be a normal occurrence.

Make time


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You need to make sure that if you’re discussing a topic, especially a new one, that you’ve allowed enough time for learners to explore the subject matter.
You don’t want to engage all the students in a topic but then have to cut the class short to move on to something else.

Engage all children


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You’ll always have the children that are ready and happy to answer any questions, and that’s great, but you also need to make sure you engage other students too.
Don’t put them on the spot or under pressure but try and make sure all the students are engaging in the subject because it will also help build their confidence.

Limit information to create curiosity


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If you’re starting a new topic then initially just give the learners enough information so it engages their curiosity and they want to find out more.
Then challenge the students so they have to ask questions to discover the answers.

Give them choice


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Children are more likely to enjoy a subject and engage in the class if it’s a topic they like.
If you have a writing task, let them choose what to write about, their favourite activity maybe or dream holiday, something they can really put thought into and will motivate them.

Create discussions


Hawkely Hall High School Students

As a teacher you need to let students know it’s good to collaborate in groups, express theories and opinions, analyse and brainstorm subject matter.
This energises students as well as building their confidence in talking to each other and saying what they think.
Children are more likely to remember facts and details, as well as gaining greater understanding if they’ve spent time discussing the subject in depth.