Monday, January 28, 2008

Who Killed Curiosity?

Anyone who has spent more than 15 minutes alone with a preschooler understands that these little kids love to ask questions. Not just a couple sporadic inquires but rapid fire bursts, salvo after salvo, probing for more as if they are insatiable learning machines gobbling up new bits of information.

Why? Because kids ENJOY learning…

Enjoyment comes from going beyond the pre-programmed needs and desires to achieve something unexpected. It is characterized by a sense of accomplishment. After an enjoyable experience we can sense a change in ourselves for the better.

Isn’t that how school is? When we give kids homework they shout…
We Love it…We Love it…We Want more of it!!!

No? Then perhaps the question we need to ask ourselves is not how do we motivate kids to learn but who killed curiousity?

Tom Chapin describes it best in the lyrics of his song below:
If you've never heard, it is definately worth the download.

Flowers are Red

The little boy went first day of school
He got some crayons and started to draw
He put colors all over the paper
For colors was what he saw
And the teacher said.. What you doin' young man
I'm paintin' flowers he said
She said... It's not the time for art young man
And anyway flowers are green and red
There's a time for everything young man
And a way it should be done
You've got to show concern for everyone else
For you're not the only one
And she said...
Flowers are red young man
Green leaves are green
There's no need to see flowers any other way
Than they way they always have been seen
But the little boy said...
There are so many colors in the rainbow
So many colors in the morning sun
So many colors in the flower and I see every one
Well the teacher said.. You're sassy
There's ways that things should be
And you'll paint flowers the way they are
So repeat after me.....
And she said...
Flowers are red young man
Green leaves are green
There's no need to see flowers any other way
Than they way they always have been seen
But the little boy said...
There are so many colors in the rainbow
So many colors in the morning sun
So many colors in the flower and I see every one
The teacher put him in a corner
She said.. It's for your own good..
And you won't come out 'til you get it right
And all responding like you should
Well finally he got lonely
Frightened thoughts filled his head
And he went up to the teacher
And this is what he said.. and he said
Flowers are red, green leaves are green
There's no need to see flowers any other way
Than the way they always have been seen
Time went by like it always does
And they moved to another town
And the little boy went to another school
And this is what he found
The teacher there was smilin'
She said...Painting should be fun
And there are so many colors in a flower
So let's use every one
But that little boy painted flowers
In neat rows of green and red
And when the teacher asked him why
This is what he said.. and he said
Flowers are red, green leaves are green
There's no need to see flowers any other way
Than the way they always have been seen.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Is Tom Chapin Harry Chapin's brother? If so I've seen him.

We are not encouraged to be curious. Being around a curious person is hard work and may reveal that you don't know everything. Children are encouraged to color inside the lines, completely fill in the bubble of the standardized test we feed them, and engage in bianary thinking.

It would just take too much time otherwise.

Pub Ed said...

Yes, Tom is Harry's brother. Must have been great to hear live.

Almost every public school teacher I work with is concerned about the amount of time they have to teach.

Why? NCLB...

Although the corpse of creativity had long gone cold before G.W. took office, NCLB has certainly done nothing to revive the creative spirit in our public schools.

Lauren said...

"The whole art of teaching is only the art of awakening the natural curiosity of young minds for the purpose of satisfying it afterwards."

- Anatole France

Steve said...

Creative thinking needs to be nutured and grown in the youth. Dare your students to be creative and dare yourself to follow.

I love when a college professor tells me, "I am not here to entertain the students." If juggling and dancing guarantees my students will be successful throw me the balls.

We're through being cool
Eliminate the ninnies and the twits
Gotta go to the moon
Too late to be a clone
Time to show the in crowd that it's out

They might be giants

Steve said...

It is almost a miracle that modern teaching methods have not yet entirely strangled the holy curiousity of inquiry; for what this delicate little plant needs more than anything, besides stimulation, is freedom

Albert Einstein

Pub Ed said...

Steve, I agree wholeheartedly in your stance and love the way in which it is phrased.

The problem remains, as educated Americans, we ARE the IN-Crowd.