Friday, October 1, 2021

Here are some reasons students need intellectual curiosity to learn:


What is it that makes a student want to learn? What is the reason students seek course-specific knowledge?

In higher education, the standard procedure is to add students to a pre-built curriculum. This creates a learning environment. Planned activities and resources are available to students to help them engage in the activities. This helps bridge the gap between students' learning experiences and their own. Intellectual curiosity is a natural process that cannot be controlled. However, it can be triggered by the completion of planned activities, or the involvement of an instructor.

Learning in a classroom setting can be a stimulating intellectual activity. Engaging the intellect of students can elevate cognition from automatic thinking to higher-order thinking and even critical thinking. When reading new information, intellectual curiosity is the desire for understanding why. It can also lead to the desire to find an underlying principle or premise in the material, as well as the desire to challenge existing beliefs and views.

It is important for instructors to understand the reasons students are intellectually curious and engaged in class. It was much easier to observe students' engagement levels in class and to ask them questions that would help them to think about course topics. This strategy must be modified for online instructors. It's something I have learned to do over time. You need to think beyond asking questions. It is important to consider what questions should be asked and the tone that the message will convey. You might find new strategies and ideas for your teaching by what you read next.

Why Learning Activities Are Important

Asynchronous online classes are best for writing assignments and class discussions. These are two-fold reasons why they are so popular. These activities provide both individual and group engagement. Asynchronous discussions are designed to help students find specific information and respond to targeted prompts. It is assumed that students will reflect on the discussions and make further inquiries, which can lead to intellectual curiosity.

The same assumption applies to writing assignments. The assumption is that students will learn specific information and then reflect on it. This will stimulate their intellectual curiosity and allow them to engage with their cognition. This will lead to a well-researched and well-written paper.

The reality is that most students post a reactionary blog post about discussions without reading the materials. This means that more effort is required to get people interested in the material as well as an intellectual curiosity. Students who are not familiar with writing or want to be able to complete their assignments quickly should use minimal sources. To help students focus and direct their attention, an instructor is necessary.

Why Intellectual Curiosity Matters

First, consider casual reading. Although the purpose of casual reading may differ, it is not to acquire extensive knowledge or long-term memories. Formal learning, on the other hand, is aimed at a specific purpose and the intellect plays an important role in the acquisition long-term knowledge. After students have read the materials, cognition and mental processing are first engaged. Then they will search for supplementary readings.

Students who are mentally engaged will be more inclined to show higher-order thinking or critical thinking. They also have the ability to think logically and write well. They can process and interpret information and then synthesize it. Another condition is mental acuity. This refers to a sharply focused mind. Intellectual curiosity is also a factor in this condition. This type of curiosity has one goal: to learn.

How to Encourage Intellectual Development among Students

An instructor is the one who can have the greatest impact on a student's intellectual growth and interest in any class, online or otherwise. It happens because of my direct involvement in class, no matter how much time I spend. This is because I have learned to value every interaction I have with students, be it by showing appreciation or encouraging their intellectual growth. To put it another way, you don’t need to spend every day in class to be successful. You can still interact with students online while taking time off.

These strategies may be able to spark curiosity in your students.

#1. Use Your Expertise

Pre-built curriculum shouldn't be considered as a substitute for your own experience and knowledge. Your expertise is most valuable in course discussions and feedback. Your knowledge can be applied to all areas of the course. Your knowledge can make course topics more engaging and interesting, and increase student interest.

#2. Ask Common Questions

If used strategically, questions can be a powerful tool to stimulate further thought about course topics. When I participate in class discussions, I always end with a question to extend the conversation. This is the Socratic method of dialogue. However, due to the nature of online classes, I don't try to be as direct. It is important to take into account the tone of the post, and to be as inclusive as possible. As I might not be able to answer every student every week, I will ask a question that is open to all students.

#3. Get familiar with the Course Materials

One of the biggest mistakes I have seen in my work as a Faculty Development Specialist is faculty members who don't refer to course material during class discussions. While I don't advocate that you should include course material in every discussion response, it is helpful to highlight key points related to the main topic for the week. This is useful when students don't review the material or miss important points. Additionally, if I can make course materials interesting and engaging, students may find it easier to engage with them.

#4 Always Be Curious Yourself

Keep this in mind: Your example is your best guide. It is possible to influence students if you are interested in the subject matter and show enthusiasm for it. It is common to hear educators speak of being lifelong learners. This is because it is about maintaining curiosity and a desire for learning new things. It is also about asking questions whenever you hear or read something. It has been a while since I received my degrees. This means that I have to keep up-to-date with my chosen profession. I do this by constantly seeking out new knowledge.

#5. Use feedback as a prompt for engagement

You don't have to make it easy by providing feedback. All you need is a rubric and some rote comments. You can instead use this opportunity to ask questions, share insights, and continue to spark interest in your students. In my feedback, I will ask you questions that begin with "Have you considered?" You want to focus on the student who wrote the paper, tried to understand the assignment and then processed it according to the prompts. With your own prompts and a few questions, you can follow the student's thought process. Some students will respond to me directly while others will think through the topics and refer back to what I wrote.

Building a High-End Learning Environment

These strategies are designed to help you create a learning environment where students are interested in the course material, learn more about it, and are curious about what they are studying. As an adult learner, I know that students should be self-motivated, and already have reasons to pursue their degree. Online students, however, are not always traditional because they have to balance other responsibilities. They may also be trying to finish as much as possible as quickly as possible.

It will take an instructor's prompting to get students to be interested in the course and to make them want to spend more time. It's good to know that students become more interested in the subject matter and less concerned about time. As an instructor, this makes the course more fun and the discussions more meaningful. The spark of curiosity then leads to transformative learning experiences. There will always be students who are just trying to survive, but most students will respond positively to being taught by someone who is enthusiastic and eager to learn.


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