Curiosity in School

Jan 27, 2008

Following up on my last two posts on curiosity and mystery, I want to pose the question about schools. In schools, we are being taught information – knowledge, facts, theories, etc. But students are rarely taught to question. We’re taught to answer questions, instead of ask them.

But in today’s world, with the internet and all, the information and facts and theories can be found easily, can’t it? Just a quick search on Google. What we need, as Seth Godin pointed out, is curiosity. Knowing information, and being able to apply it to solve problems is all well and good. And yes, we need a certain amount of that. But in order to push towards the future, we need to encourage our students to question more, don’t we? We need to learn to question things that are commonly accepted. We need people who aren’t afraid to go against societies limits, and push the boundaries of innovation.

And that’s one area where schools fail, I think. In school, we are taught to follow the rules. We are taught to use the “correct” answers, instead of questioning whether the answers are indeed correct. And if we do question, or if we go against the commonly accepted ‘correct’ answers, we get punished for it (graded poorly, etc).

That’s no way to encourage curiosity, is it?