We all know the saying: “Curiosity killed the cat.” This article sheds a different light on that age-old adage, highlighting the premise that curiosity might be a better attribute than knowledge. It is commonly stated that we are living in the information age. Information, also known as knowledge, is there for the taking. We can search on Google, ask Siri or look up something on Wikipedia, and we will get an answer within minutes if not seconds.
If we simply want an answer to a question, those tools will provide the answer and the quest is finished. However, if we want to make connections, think further or wonder “what if,” that is only the beginning. In other words, if we are curious, we need more than the initial response to our questions and our thoughts. We need to think. We need to connect ideas and ask more questions. We need to wonder, to dream and to be curious. Knowing the multiplication tables is an attainable goal and one that schools hold important for children in elementary school. Connecting that knowledge to wonder about why yet another ice cream shop is going out of business if so many of the people walking on the boardwalk on a hot summer’s day are eating ice cream requires curiosity. It’s not simply looking at what exists and looking for a simple answer. Curiosity is going beyond that thinking to consider the “why,” the “how” and the ways in which one can make a difference by connecting those ideas.
Schools need to continue to help students gain knowledge; it is necessary to maintain an educated populace. However, it is imperative that they also instill a culture of curiosity. Children who are encouraged to think harder, try various ideas and adapt the results using a variety of tools are building skills needed for their future. They need to be given the time to think freely, wonder and guide their learning. Curiosity may be a problem for cats – not so for students. Allow it to thrive.