Tonight’s Conversation about Curiosity (22/365)

Tonight, I’ll be moderating the EduCon opening panel at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia. Stephanie Sandifer, Antero Garcia, Rafranz Davis, and Milton Chen will join me for a conversation about curiosity with special consideration of how it relates to schools and education.

My hope is for the panel to be a true conversation. With such a varied and experienced group of folks, I’m more worried about how to get out of the way than anything else.
Below are some of the questions I’m considering. Please add your suggestions in the comments.
  • Is curiosity always good?
  • What are you actively curious about at the moment?
  • What key components of curiosity that traditional public education gets right?
  • How might a re-framing of how we think about curiosity along the lines of gender and sex bring equality to those narratives?
  • What are simple moments in regular practice where we could be leveraging the power of curiosity and are not?
  • What might be the effect of streaming and bingeability on the curiosity of children and adults?
  • If curiosity is free and cultivating it is free, why are we less likely to see students living in poverty be encouraged to follow their curiosity than their peers in the middle and upper classes?
  • Jal Mehta’s recent piece “A Pernicious Myth: Basics Before Deeper Learning” makes an argument for giving students bigger tasks or what David Perkins calls “the whole game” what would it actually take to move people in your various systems to embrace such a philosophy?
  • Considering the story of William Kamkwamba as recounted in The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, as well as some remarks from this same panel a few years ago, is there an argument to be made that limitations are fertilizer for curiosity?
  • What’s to be done in encouraging teacher curiosity? Are their things you’d argue are most important for teachers to be curious about? What practical steps can schools and school systems take to make this happen?
  • How do we navigate our and our students’ curiosities about darker or prickly topics?
  • How do you keep your curiosity from becoming complacent?