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November’s Lifeskill – Curiosity

Date: November 21, 2010 Author: admin Categories: Parent Updates, Tips

During the month of November, our lifeskill is curiosity – “To wonder or
imagine. A desire to understand.”

In a study conducted by Dr. Laura Schulz of MIT, she found that “there are
two different things that can provoke curiosity. The simplest one is a
violation of your prior beliefs. You go into an experience with a certain
expectation that “this is the way the world is,” and then you see some
evidence that’s inconsistent with that.” When this happens, Schulz says:
“You have to do something with that evidence. You can deny it. You can try
to explain it away. You could realize that your beliefs are wrong and that
they have to change. But one way or another, you need more information to
figure out what to do. So that’s a condition under which you should
explore.” (“Mind in the Making: Seven Essential Lifeskills Every Child
Needs” by Ellen Galinsky, )

Two groups of college students, one on the East Coast and one on the West,
were given the exact same paper and instructed to read it attentively because
they’d be tested afterward. There was one difference: the group on the East
Coast was told that the information in the paper might not be true. That
group ended up scoring significantly higher on the test than the other group.
Why? Because uncertainty engages the mind. — Jay Cross and Clark Quinn,
The Value of Learning About Learning

Here are some simple ways to support a child’s curiosity.

1. Allow time each day for your child to wonder, daydream, think and

2. Notice what your child is curious about.

3. Listen and ask questions but allow your child to be in the “driver’s
seat” when he/she is seeking answers.

4. Notice with your child, what kinds of words and phrases people use
when they are curious about someone or something. Have fun keeping
a running list of curious words and phrases.

You might enjoy reading one of the following books with your child.

Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin
The Brand New Kid by Katie Couric