How can we cultivate curiosity in our classrooms?

Which learning disposition do you think is the most important to cultivate in learners?

As a Learning Power practitioner, this feels like a pretty key question to ask.

Ideally, through a variety of learning experiences and approaches in and out of the classroom, children will get a “full Learning Power workout” – They will stretch their collaboration muscles in some contexts, get better at persevering in others, refine their questioning skills in others – And, often, in the very best of learning experiences, exercise the “full set” (play is a melting pot for exercising learning muscles – like a top notch gym for learning – that’s a whole other blogpost though! I’ve touched upon how play can develop habits for learning in this blogpost here)

When I asked Twitter this question, here were the results:

I found these results really interesting.

Would you agree?

Why might cultivating curiosity be so key to learning?

I could make a case for each of them to be honest! Could you?! Wouldn’t that be a great exercise for a learning powered team – make a case for “collaboration”, now “empathy”, now “curiosity” – Go!

Curiosity is the oxygen of learning

In the Learning Pioneers recent “live” event and inquiry into how to develop creativity in our classrooms (which you can access here), Bill Lucas described curiosity as the “oxygen for learning”.

Would you agree? Is cultivating curiosity the key to motivated, hungry to learn children?

And if this is the case, wouldn’t it make sense to pay conscious attention to how we are developing curiosity in our classrooms and schools?

Exploring Learning Habits in more depth

So, how do we go about curating learning to deepen, broaden and strengthen learning habits? When I reflected on this question, I realised what a nuanced job we have as teachers in weaving together a classroom culture that focuses on developing lifelong learners. Take a look at this visual below, depicting all the areas of our practice we need to consciously develop in order to develop a climate for learning.

In order to create the impact we desire, we need to purposefully design learning in all of these areas:

Lesson structure (including curriculum)

Learning environments


Learning with and valuing parents

Developing rich language

Walking the journey with all adults involved in children’s learning

And more! I’d love to know what you’d add to that list.

It’s a tricky balance to strike! And if we “get it wrong” it can be confusing for the children and frustrating for us – something just doesn’t “add up”.

Aligning our values and our approach

So, what if we could align all of these areas.

What if:

We purposefully cultivated a mindset that encouraged challenge, valued collaboration, developed empathy, cultivated curiosity?

Our classroom environment nurtured and enhanced all of these learning habits?

Our lesson structure and curriculum purposefully developed these learning habits over time?

We had rich language that modelled, deepened and valued these learning habits.

We could walk the learning journey with parents, so that our learning approaches were aligned?

Wouldn’t that be cool?! Wouldn’t we feel aligned with our values?! Wouldn’t there be more flow in our classrooms?

Diving deeper, gaining conscious competence in our practice.

I am keen to share a follow up blogpost on how we might go about developing curiosity through each of the areas above. I would love to hear from you in the comments:

  • How does your curriculum foster curiosity?
  • What lessons have you taught that really captured children’s curious minds?
  • How have you curated your learning environment to stimulate curiosity?
  • How have you walked the journey with parents and involved them in developing their own and their child’s curiosity?

Share in the comments or on social media- We’d love to hear from you!

P.S. We’d also love to invite you to this “live” event with Kath Murdoch and Guy Claxton exploring exactly this question.

I can’t think of two better minds to come together to share ideas, wonderings and practical ideas to foster curiosity in our classrooms.

There’s a small handful Early Bird Tickets available here. Can’t wait to see you there! Oh, and it’s recorded, so if you can’t make that time, we’ll send you the recording afterwards.


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