This weekend I had the pleasure and privilege to attend a Kath Murdoch workshop in Singapore. The title of the 2-day fest of learning was “Nurturing Agency through Inquiry”. It was an inspiring weekend where I was able to reconnect with an old friend, explore an amazing city, and learn from the master of inquiry herself.
I was also confronted with myself a few times during the workshop. My first uncomfortable moment was when Kath asked us all to write down a recent wondering and frame it like a question. I blanked. Total brain fart. My head had never felt this hollow before.
I immediately went metacognition on myself. This is how my inner dialogue went:
“Wondering, wondering, wondering. What have I been wondering about? Darn, I can’t think of anything.
Why can’t I think of anything? I must have been wondering about something? Why can’t I remember what I have been wondering about?
Do my students feel like this in my class? What could Kath have done differently to help me be more successful with this task? She did give a clear example of how she has been wondering about those birds in front of her hotel room. How can I use her model for my own question?
Have I been thinking about anything natury lately? Not really. Should I just make something up about Lao wildlife? Nah, that wouldn’t feel right.
Was the question maybe too open for me to cope with? Would it have been easier to write down a wondering about the building relationships activities that we just did?
OK, think back about everything that happened in the last 24 hours. Hmmmm…… Oh, wait. Yesterday. Singapore airport. I was wondering why there was a bag check as there hadn’t been one when I came here in January. I thought that maybe someone had been tipped about a smuggling situation or something.
Now, make it into a question. “What caused the extra security check at the airport last night?” That should do the trick.
I hope this is the kind of question Kath was looking for. Why is it that even as an adult I want to please my teachers? Especially since that is a disposition that I don’t like to see in my students.”
Because I was in this fast paced workshop setting, I did not immediately reflect on all this thinking that had happened. I certainly didn’t realize at the time that there was this constant stream of questions and wonderings going on in my head.
Inquiry classrooms are places where curiosity is nurtured.
If one believes in the importance of nurturing curiosity in the classroom (which I do), then how does one do this? How do we nurture curiosity in our students, and as importantly, how do we cultivate curiosity ourselves? How does one become more curious?
Here are a few strategies that I am going to try in the coming weeks.
Notice, name and share
I am making it my mission to become more aware of my wonderings by naming, noticing, and sharing them with others. I think that often I do not realize that I am questioning or wondering. I want to become more aware of when I do, by pausing in those moments and labeling my question. Sharing the question with the people I am with, writing the question down, or simply sharing it with my inner voice will cultivate a new habit of wondering. I especially want to make an effort to regularly share my wonderings with my students.
The next step is to start a little wondering journal. A little notebook that I will carry with me and that I will use to note the wonderings I am having throughout the day. The idea is to then look at those wonderings at the end of the day and celebrate the curiosity I am cultivating in myself as a learner and teacher.
What have you been wondering about lately? Share your wonderings below in the comments and start your own journey into becoming more curious today.