Curiosity is the wellspring of creative thought, imagination and development. Deep thinking and proactive learning is important.
It’s in the deep application and understanding of something of interest to you that true insight, innovation and ideas lie.
Your child who trusts the system, is repeatedly told to toil hard and put hours and hours of effort into meeting expectations is cheated out of one of the most precious gifts the human brain has which is to be curious and ask questions to learn.
The education system with its focus on learning from textbooks and regurgitating that information in exams takes away from children the power to delve deep and explore to come up with more questions of their own, make multiple connections, figure out answers themselves and make contextual meaning and sense out of the content they discovered in the process.
As I interact with children across age groups at Sparkling Mindz through our Young Achievers Program, through the TED-Ed Clubs, I see a shift in the attitude towards learning. Most of them trivialize learning, want to run away from it, don’t think it is useful or meaningful in their lives and those who put in hours of effort too only know how to figure out the answers for questions in the text book so they could excel in exams. When you run on the treadmill of exams there is little time for anything else.
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The world, however, has higher expectations from your child. The world expects your child to discover and nurture their uniqueness, develop an opinion, a voice that they can use to stand up for not only themselves but the community and world at large, to solve problems bigger than themselves and how are you training your child to develop these skills?
The classic moment was recently when I asked a bunch of children, “What do you learn English for?” pat came the answer, “For exams” and after a moment of silence I heard one of our Young Achievers’ voice, eyes shining, she said, “For communication.” and the room lit up in awe. I would think every child should have thought of and known the answer to that question as most of them learn the English language for well over 16 years as a subject!
Another interesting conversation I had was with a 14 year old. He was quite angry with the fact that his mother thought that video games were a waste of his time. He loved to play them and saw a future in the industry. However, according to the mother not wrongly so, no exams, no marks, no future so he should study and keep the video games aside for a while.
He took it up as a challenge to prove to her that video games were not so bad. It took him a while to research the pros and cons, articulate what he felt, figure out what to use/discard from the research and eventually change his stance to “too much of anything is bad” and pick up and analyze examples of learning from games that he liked. Much of that too was researched data, the child did not yet know/understand how to add a layer of own insight into the research.
Diving deeper into topics results in children discovering their own interests, passion and a sense of identity like nothing else does. Like everything else in life, it is a matter of choice to empower your child with the skills to go deep and discover themselves or skim the surface of learning where everyone else remains too.
At Sparkling Mindz, it’s our mission to nurture and develop children’s curiosity and make them confident learners.