We learn by engaging and exploring, asking questions and testing out answers. Yet our classrooms are not always places where such curiosity is encouraged and supported. In this webinar, Dr. Wendy Ostroff will help participants plan out a student-centered environment that allows for openness and surprise, where inquiry guides authentic learning. We will consider current cognitive science and neuroscience findings showing that curiosity releases dopamine, and activates the hippocampus (remembering) and prefrontal cortex (executive functions); sustains intrinsic motivation; and showing that extra curious children exhibit related cognitive gains.
We will discuss ways to cultivate curiosity for diverse learners, including sharing power via emergent curriculum; modeling student curiosity through exploration, novelty, and play; for allowing autonomy, intrinsic motivation, imagination and creativity within structure; for supporting questioning and critical thinking; and for bolstering experimentation and problem solving by deliberately opening up time and space. This workshop will challenge the notion of a hierarchical classroom, and instead generate ideas to harness the powerful drive in all learners—the drive to know, understand, and experience the world in a meaningful way.