Curiosity plays a key role in learning. It is a hidden force that drives learning, critical thinking, and reasoning. “Curiosity is central to students’ joy of exploration,” said Kay Alcorn, M.A. who was speaking as a keynote speaker at the recent English Language Program titled “Activating Student Curiosity through Interactive Strategies at Sampoerna University on February 29th, 2020.
Kay covered some crucial issues at the event. She spoke lengthily about what curiosity really means, the connection between curiosity and the brain development. Curiosity manifests in exploring our environment, devouring books and information, manipulating data, searching for meaning, connecting with people and nature, and seeking new learning experiences, Kay said. “It’s all about the brain wanting to make order out of something that does not currently make sense,” she emphasized.
We should kindle curiosity in us especially in students as “curious brains are better at learning”, said Kay. It can even help brains learn incidental and boring things.
Kay shared some of strategies that she considered effective to be applied in classroom settings in order to activate curiosity. “This can be done by incorporating elements of mystery, surprise, and ambiguity,” added she. This is what happens when students see a puzzle. They feel intrigued to figure it out.
Another strategy that is worth applying is find or create the hook in every topic while learning in class. She advised that teachers find ways to make any topics more compelling for students. “You can find an honest yet engaging way to create interest in students’ mind,” she explained.
Kay Alcorn holds a M.A. TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) degree from School for International Training, Brattleboro, Vermont, United States of America. She has an extensive experience of teaching in a number of countries around the world, from South Korea to Japan. She is now serving as an English Language Fellow at Sampoerna University in Jakarta, Indonesia. (*/)