Classrooms Must Accommodate Curiosity and Questioning

Article Tools
  • PrintPrinter-Friendly
  • EmailEmail Article
  • ReprintReprints
  • CommentsComments

To the Editor:

It is incredibly important that we discuss curiosity's place in our educational policies, structures, and practices. This is especially true in schools that serve students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

I was struck when Erik Shonstrom wrote in his Commentary, "Curiosity, it can appear, is a luxury the poor can ill afford." As someone from a disadvantaged background who works on encouraging critical thinking, questioning, and curiosity in the classroom, I am saddened by the attitude Mr. Shonstrom describes.

I strongly agree with the big idea of the essay—that all students, especially the most disadvantaged, deserve the opportunity to ask their own questions and have educators who foster their curiosity. I would simply add one point that must be emphasized for this shift to actually happen in classrooms: Educators must create space and opportunities to explicitly invest in building students' capacity to ask their own questions.

In an educational system where answers have been (and continue to be) the measure of success, simply providing time for questions to be asked will not be enough.

Educators can teach students to ask their own questions using techniques such as my organization's question-formulation technique, even within the constraints of a test-based environment.

Lavada Berger
Deputy Director
Right Question Institute
Cambridge, Mass.

Vol. 33, Issue 37, Page 26

Published in Print: August 6, 2014, as Classrooms Must Accommodate Curiosity and Questioning
Related Stories
Notice: We recently upgraded our comments. (Learn more here.) If you are logged in as a subscriber or registered user and already have a Display Name on edweek.org, you can post comments. If you do not already have a Display Name, please create one here.
Ground Rules for Posting
We encourage lively debate, but please be respectful of others. Profanity and personal attacks are prohibited. By commenting, you are agreeing to abide by our user agreement.
All comments are public.

Back to Top Back to Top

Most Popular Stories