In a recent address to Howard County Public School Principals, Dr Freeman Hrabowski, President of the University of Maryland at Baltimore County, spoke of the need to develop our student’s curiosity as one of our most important missions. This same sentiment has been expressed in works by some of the biggest thinkers out there (Tony Wagner in Creating Innovators, Amanda Ripley in The Smartest Kids in the World, Yong Zhao in Catching Up or Leading the Way, and one of the smartest people I know, Stephanie Harvey in Strategies that Work). Steph also says “Smart isn’t something you are. Smart is something you get.”
We need to ensure those kids who enter our school brimming with questions and curiosity, leave our school even more curious and asking even greater, or more beautiful questions. Unfortunately, too many schools today are not set up to foster this kind of inquiry. By the time kids leave school, we have retrained their naturally curious brains, requiring them to answer our questions much more frequently than they are encouraged to ask their own questions. The future will require so much more of our current students. Information is no longer king, as it can be accessed instantly as needed. Curiosity is, and will continue to be the new currency.
The motivation behind this post, besides the years of trying to change the system? Well oddly enough, it was an article I read in the Southwest Airlines Spirit Magazine on one of my recent trips to Charleston. The article entitled, Chasing Beautiful Questions was written by Warren Berger. Mr. Berger also published a book entitled, A More Beautiful Question: The Power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough Ideas. You can check out the Spirit article below. Be curious. Check it out. Ask some beautiful questions. Go ahead, you can do it.