Looking back at memories in my life from two decades ago, I remember bugging my parents with a lot of questions ranging from “Why is the moon following us everywhere?” to “Who invented numbers”? Never once, my parents brushed off these questions but instead they led me towards the answers with the right tools, which in a pre-internet era meant books. The Grolier book series consisting of encyclopedia was a popular series back in the 90’s and I guarded them like my entire life depended on it!
Curiosity can be seen as an innate quality of many different species including humans, apes and cats. Early definitions cite curiosity as a motivated desire for information which of course has now evolved to suit different fields. The first few months when I started feeding solids for my son, he never kept the food on his plate. He started throwing them in the air at different angles and distance to see if the food still returned back to the floor which shows that he is exploring the concept of gravity or trying to test my patience. I choose to believe it’s the former!
I truly enjoy being an educator simply because I love hearing questions from my students which stemmed from their curiosity. Their questions make you seek knowledge you never knew you needed in the first place. It’s amazing how the human brain works differently in every individual. One important practice at Pasxcel is student-led learning whereby our teachers lead the student towards the answer with questions. With every answer to the questions by teachers, they get closer to the answer for their original question. To give you a perspective of this, let me share a story from my Biology class.
The other day, I was teaching them about symptoms of diabetes and my student, Hamdi asked why diabetes causes increased thirst. I didn’t give an answer directly but instead asked him a series of questions. The first being “How does hyperglycemia affect the water potential of blood?” for which he replied, “It will lower the water potential of blood plasma (liquid part of blood) since glucose is transported in the plasma”. I followed up by asking him about the consequence of a lower water potential for which he replied that “Water molecules move from a higher to lower water potential down its gradient so in this case the blood plasma would need water molecules coming in which has to be from the water we drink right?”. I smiled at him for managing to crack the answer on his own.
When we learn from textbooks, the knowledge given is compartmentalized and it gives absolute ends when in fact even in science you can have outliers. For example, it is mentioned that fishes live in water so why is a whale a mammal even though it lives in water?
Therefore, let’s encourage these curious young minds to ask questions for without them, we wouldn’t have found Newton’s laws, penicillin or even vaccination which has saved millions of lives! I will never put an end to the endless possibilities of my student’s learning curve for who knows what the future beholds. Maybe they might be able to create standardized drugs for viral infections or even put an end to the sewage disposal issues in developing countries as every solution to problems in this world started with a question.
Written by Ms Devina, Master Teacher of Pasxcel Academy