Strategies that Promote Curiosity in Learning

20 June, 2020
Maximizing curiosity in a positive and constructive way is a great path to personal growth. In today's article, we'll suggest a series of strategies that promote curiosity in learning.

Curiosity is a natural instinct that puts some species at an advantage when it comes to survival. It offers knowledge about the environment and encourages adaptive behaviors. Curiosity is crucial when it comes to the learning process. And that’s why we want to suggest several strategies to help you promote curiosity in learning.

When something concrete is capable of stirring up our curiosity, our positive emotions awaken and our attention grows. What’s more, this curiosity promotes decision making and causes us to have an interest in our goals.

Teachers who manage to spark the curiosity of their students are able to give them a much more satisfying learning experience. What’s more, the results that these teachers obtain are better than those of teachers who don’t cultivate curiosity.

But, is it possible to promote curiosity in learning? This is one of the biggest design challenges of our educational systems – the creation of content and curriculum.

Any current system of teaching methods should, at the very least, be aware of what does and doesn’t stimulate curiosity. Furthermore, today’s educators must understand that succeeding or failing to promote curiosity in learning can affect the overall academic experience.

Strategies that promote curiosity in learning

Model curiosity in all of its forms

“Curiosity is a human instinct but like most instincts, it can be refined through observation and practice.”

– Terry Heick –

Strategies that Promote Curiosity in Learning

Example: Encourage your students to reflect out loud. They can do so while they read a book, watch a video, or even while having a conversation. By “taking a moment” to “think out loud”, students can explain how, what, and why they’re thinking what they’re thinking. They can express any questions they may have or things that have caught their interest. And, most importantly, they can have the courage to follow that curiosity wherever it takes them.

Make curiosity the center of the teaching-learning process

For example, you can create research-based learning units that don’t work if students aren’t curious. One example could be a QFT session (quoted for truth).

QFT is an expression of agreement and support. You can design an activity in which students can willingly stand up next to their teachers during one of their declarations. This method is especially useful with topics where opinions may lead to a debate. It allows students to choose what side they’re on in an argument. If someone “QFTs you”, then it means that they are in agreement with your stance.

Curiosity and everyday events

You can start your classes by presenting an everyday problem in order to promote curiosity in learning right off the bat. For example: “Today in the courtyard there are some new areas with wooden boxes painted green. Why do you think that is?”

It’s important for them to expose their experiences

In every learning process, repetition is fundamental in order to consolidate knowledge and abilities. But we shouldn’t focus only on that. Rather, it’s also important to try to provide students with as many experiences as possible.

We can encourage them to talk about their own experiences that have to do with the topic at hand. To begin you can start with a personal experience of your own.

Strategies that Promote Curiosity in Learning

Focus on questions, not on answers

“A good question can open minds, shift paradigms, and force the uncomfortable but transformational cognitive dissonance that can help create thinkers. In education, we tend to value a student’s ability to answer our questions. But what might be more important is their ability to ask their own great questions – and more critically, their willingness to do so.”

– Terry Heick –

Questions are an excellent indicator of curiosity. They demonstrate curiosity and are useful as an assessment tool as well. Question don’t just reveal that students are curious. They also demonstrate background knowledge, how much confidence we’re giving our students, and how interested they are in the subject matter. So, encourage your students to ask questions.

In schools, we often forget how important it is to promote curiosity in learning as we go about our lesson plans. But, if we make an effort to focus on this natural instinct that all humans share, the teaching-learning process will function better and more naturally.

  • Boctor, Lisa. (2013). Active-learning strategies: The use of a game to reinforce learning in nursing education. A case study. Nurse education in practice.