I was prompted to write this post after reading a piece this morning in Scientific American about a very intriguing study. The S-A article is titled Openness to Experience and Creative Achievement.
The article is a big confusing — at least, to a layperson like me. Fortunately, however, the author links to another study that supports his conclusions, and that study was much more accessible to me.
To quickly summarize it — at least, my understanding of its conclusions — both studies find that achievement (academic and otherwise), and especially creative achievement, require three qualities: intellect, conscientiousness and intellectual curiosity. It’s that last quality that you don’t hear much more — intellectual ability and “grit” get a lot of attention, but what the second study calls having a “hungry mind” hasn’t been written about nearly as much.
I think that this finding has some potential for use in the classroom, especially when we work with students on the importance of asking good questions. I know that I always have a disproportionate number of students, for example, who aspire to be video game designers, and incorporating these studies in a life skills lesson sure wouldn’t hurt!
Here are some other resources on the importance of curiosity:
How Can Teachers Foster Curiosity? is from Ed Week.
Research Says / Curiosity Is Fleeting, but Teachable is an excellent piece by Bryan Goodwin.
Curiosity: It Helps Us Learn, But Why? is from NPR.