The Curiosity 2
The aim of our programs is to inspire students to achieve the highest levels of human thought by engaging in a variety of fun, hands-on activities within a psychologically safe environment where students can learn the fundamental skills of curiosity and creativity through play and practice.
The first goal of the Curiosity to Create Curriculum is to activate learners’ curiosity by challenging them to move from their comfort zone, which is familiar and safe, and into the curiosity zone, where they are intrinsically excited to find things out.
Using the momentum created by curiosity, our next goal is to teach students how us their innate creative thinking to achieve exciting results. In short, to use their curiosity to then create! In doing so, we provide students with the kinds of creative problem-skills that set them up for success in life and work.
Creativity as the highest level of human thought
In 2001, a notable change was made to an established, revered educational model known as Bloom’s Taxonomy. The word “create” now appears, and creating is presented as the most complex form of thinking--above remembering, understanding, applying, analyzing, and evaluating. In other words, creating is seen as the highest form of thinking and the most desired action for students (Anderson and Krathwohl, 2001).
Research has consistently shown that curiosity supports learning (Gruber et al, 2014). If learning is evident at every level of Bloom’s revised taxonomy, from remembering to creating, we conclude that curiosity is important to support all levels of thinking, including creativity.
Breadth curiosity is about being interested in many things. Having wide interests means there will be more times when you are open to learning, you will have more background knowledge to help you with problem-solving and more bits of information in your head for making connections.
Speaks of joy, which means students can drop their guard and enter into an activity without resistance.
Fun is connected to interest and intrinsic motivation, possibly the biggest factor in creativity (Amabile, 1989, 1996). When we like something, we want to do it, we want to do it well and we are motivated to learn whatever we need to continue having fun.
This is where students are allowed to use their hands and their bodies to interact with spaces or materials. Students can engage with the lesson by moving their bodies (like moving from station to station), doing constructive things with their hands (assembling a robot), and essentially being allowed to use their sense of touch in addition to listening, speaking, and hearing--and sometimes smelling!
Experiential learning is related to this. We tend to remember and learn more when we are directly involved in the experience (Kolb, 1984).
No judgment zone
Openness to ideas, mistakes, and failure
For curiosity and creativity to thrive, the right environment must be in place (Fleith, 2000). By this, we mean there needs to be a psychologically safe environment (Rogers, 1962; Maslow, 1970), which is a learning space where participants feel safe to share what they are thinking, to ask questions, and openly wonder
Judgment Free Classroom
A no-judgment zone is an aspect of a psychologically safe environment. It is not helpful to judge ourselves or each other during certain stages of our development and learning. In this zone, it’s ok to try and fail, try something out that you’ve never done, or make a prediction--and be totally wrong (but maybe pleasantly surprised!?). In fact, you can make 1,000 mistakes and there are no negative repercussions. The important thing is to keep learning, thinking, trying, retrying.
Learning Through Play
Play and practice are intimately connected. Play allows someone to practice new skills in a safe space with low risk, where it’s possible to get things wrong and bounce back! (Isbell & Raines, 2007)
Making mistakes while playing games has no real repercussions yet what we learn can be applied to our real lives in a meaningful way.
Play is also one of the factors that influences divergent thinking. Many ideas can spring from brainstorming sessions that welcome humor! Since divergent thinking is an essential skill to our program, this is just one more reason to encourage a playful atmosphere.