Why curiosity is the lifeblood of success

Every day, technology drives the world to change faster and faster. This rate of progress means that future graduates need to be lifelong learners and quick problem-solvers in order to respond to the shifting demands of their industries. Mentone Grammar English Teacher, Cameron Wilson, discusses how curiosity is key to success and how he fosters a ‘hungry mind’ in his students.

Curiosity is one of the most defining attributes of humanity. The drive to know more has driven people throughout the centuries to discover new places, learn new things and uncover the mysteries of the universe. However, curiosity is not merely something reserved for the best and brightest amongst us. Rather, it is something that all of us can embrace to help us continue to learn and grow throughout life.

Let curiosity guide you

As a Teacher, it is important for me to role model the attributes I want to foster in my students and they can attest to the fact that I regularly share my astronomical adventures. When I got my first telescope last year, I found taking it out for the first time to be a somewhat daunting experience. I had the whole universe at my finger tips and frankly I wasn’t sure where to start looking. After a bit of playing around, I found my first target and saw for the first time Saturn and its rings. I can honestly say that this was the second most beautiful sight I have ever seen, the first of course being my wife on our wedding day. That one moment ignited my curiosity about space and has driven me to learn more and more. Today, I can confidently find and name ten stars in the night sky and each night that I go out, I make it my mission to learn just one more. This experience clearly illustrates that curiosity isn’t just about the big leaps but also the small steps, be they for mankind or just for me.

Fostering curiosity in the classroom

The classroom is the frontline of igniting curiosity, and Teachers are always looking for more opportunities to help spark this in our students. As a Greenways Mentor, I am lucky to be able to help foster curiosity in my students through their Personal Project. This project offers students the opportunity to explore a topic that matters to them. It is a wonderful thing to help students uncover new knowledge and skills about an area that they may not have been able to fully explore before. Likewise, within my English classes I consider it important to try and explore as much as possible the tangents that our class discussions can sometimes lead us down. When students are asking questions or challenging their assumptions, it is important we embrace these teachable moments and help them continue to explore these interests. By embracing these moments we help to foster the thinkers of tomorrow. 

Becoming a lifelong learner

Every parent has experienced the time of ‘why’ in their child’s life, when their curiosity knows no bounds and they are driven to know more. Children are infinitely curious of the world around them when they are young and this is something we must encourage and support at every turn to ensure they become lifelong learners. The importance of this was highlighted to me while listening to astrophysicist, Neil deGrasse Tyson, speak about how if you leave school and you “are not curious, then your education has ended. But if you remain curious then you will continue to learn for the rest of your life”. Therefore, as adults and role models for the next generation we need to ensure that we model this desire to continue to learn by exploring our own curiosities and sharing those with our children. There is no better gift that we can give to those who come next than for them to be infinitely curious. Surely nothing else will take them further in life than continuing to ask ‘why’.  

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