Being curious is about how we relate to our thoughts and feelings. It’s not about whether we pay attention but how we pay attention to what is happening in the present.
~TODD KASHDAN, author of Curious?: Discover the Missing Ingredient to a Fulfilling Life.
In Curious?: Discover the Missing Ingredient to a Fulfilling Life, renowned psychology professor Todd Kashdan reveals how cultivating curiosity is the road to happy, healthy, and meaningful living and the true key to falling in love with life.
As a high school chemistry teacher, Ramsey Musallam expands curiosity in the classroom through multimedia and new technology.
The student questions are the seeds of real learning
The truth is, I’ve been teaching for 13 years now, and it took a life-threatening situation to snap me out of 10 years of pseudo-teaching and help me realize that student questions are the seeds of real learning, not some scripted curriculum that gave them tidbits of random information.
In May of 2010, at 35 years old, with a two-year-old at home and my second child on the way, Ramsey Musallam was diagnosed with a large aneurysm at the base of my thoracic aorta. This led to open-heart surgery. He found surprising moments of comfort in the confidence that his surgeon embodied.
Where did this guy get this confidence, the audacity of it?
So when I asked him, he told me three things.
He said first, his curiosity drove him to ask hard questions about the procedure, about what worked and what didn’t work.
Second, he embraced, and didn’t fear, the messy process of trial and error, the inevitable process of trial and error.
And third, through intense reflection, he gathered the information that he needed to design and revise the procedure, and then, with a steady hand, he saved my life.
Now Ramsey Musallam absorbed a lot from these words of wisdom, and before he went back into the classroom that fall, he wrote down three rules of his own that he brings to my lesson planning still today.
Rule number one: Curiosity comes first.Questions can be windows to great instruction, but not the other way around.
Rule number two: Embrace the mess.
And rule number three: Practice reflection.What we do is important. It deserves our care, but it also deserves our revision.
Complement Curious? with Building curiosity with Lego.