from The Global Achievement Gap by Tony Wagner
The Seventh Survival Skill: Curiosity and Imagination
The words curiosity and inquisitiveness are almost always mentioned when I ask leaders to tell me what skills matter most today. Creativity and innovation are key factors not only in solving problems but also in devloping new or improved products and services. And so today’s employees need to master both “left-brain” skills – such as critcal thinking and problem solving, accessing and evaluating information, and so on – and “right-brain” skills such as curiosity, imagination, and creativity. It’s not enough to just be trained in the techniques of how to ask questions – as lawyers and MBAs often are, for example. Employees must also know how to use analytical skills in ways that are often more “out-of-the-box” than in the past, come up with creative solutions to problem, and be able to design products and services that stand out from the competition. In other words, they have to be new and improved knowledge workers – those who can think in disciplined ways, but also those who have a burning curiosity, a lively imagination, and can engage others empathetically.
The library is the perfect place to encourage curiosity, but I wonder if we are promoting it as such? Do we let kids know that the library is the place to find the answers to all the questions that they have – not just about school subjects, but about football, dance, Bigfoot, cartoons, spiders, dating, rockets, pets, and whatever else they might be interested in? So often, we see kids’ natural curiosity about the way the world works extinguished by the time they are in 3rd grade. The library is one place in the school where we can encourage curiosity to grow and flourish instead.
In what ways are you encouraging students to be curious?