The current state of intellectual curiosity in our schools today is dormant, for the most part. No matter what extrinsic motivators exist (e.g. good grades, better letter of recommendations, etc) intellectual curiosity should be from within, and as I prepare, teach, learn and repeat infinitely I encounter very few students who are curious intellectually. Why? Will it ever change? Is it promoted in classrooms? In schools? At homes?
From the perspective of a Computer Technology Instructor in an urban setting, I want to see the end result. Will the students use the skills they have learned in my courses? Will the faculty use the various 2.0 technologies I promote? These are but a few questions that enter my mind, but in the background I am promoting intellectual curiosity for all.
What does promoting intellectual curiosity entail? Well for one, open-endedness. I am open-ended when I approach education; i.e. I ask open-ended (OE for all intended purposes) questions and will take nothing but elaborate thought our responses. Additionally I am OE as a learner. I start every day thinking about what I am going to learn just as much as what I am going to teach. With an emphasis on the teaching, I have a path of where I want to go with my instruction and (at least) what I would like my students to get from my courses.
However, I also have reach goals for my students. For instance, one goal (subsequent to our first Intro to Programming class) is to spark an interest, a challenge, or some type of curiosity in them that they didn’t know was there. Sometimes I am vocal about this goal and other times I promote it through my rapport with the students and my infectious curious nature. To teach them the concept of riding the bicycle with the training wheels and show them the future of riding something bigger like a motorcycle. If students learn the basics of programming and it catches their interest who is to say that interest won’t stop when it comes to exploring with app development, other classes, other classmates, and a possible career?