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Global Education

Global Competency: Curiosity

In a world where borders are increasingly blurred and information transcends geographical boundaries in the blink of an eye, fostering global competency is critical to students’ future success. This goes beyond traditional academic subjects; it’s about instilling a set of skills and attitudes that empower students to navigate the complexities of our interconnected world with confidence and dexterity. As school leaders and educators, you are at the forefront of these efforts.

Participate Learning has identified ten global competencies that empower learners to pay attention to the world, feel connected, and take action to make it a better place. This is the seventh in a series of blog posts focusing on each global competency to provide a more detailed definition and practical resources to integrate into your teaching instruction and overall school culture. The seventh global competency we will look at is curiosity.

Why curiosity is important for learning and career readiness

In the learning process, curiosity acts as the engine that drives exploration and deepens understanding. When students are naturally curious, they are more likely to ask questions, seek additional information, and approach challenges with an open mind. This innate desire to explore not only enhances their academic experience, but also cultivates a mindset that is conducive to continuous learning, a vital skill in an ever-evolving world.

Beyond the classroom, curiosity is key for career readiness. In today’s dynamic job market, where industries undergo rapid transformations, individuals who embrace curiosity are better equipped to navigate change and thrive in diverse professional environments. Curious individuals tend to be more adaptable, resourceful, and innovative. They approach problems with a sense of wonder, actively seeking solutions and viewing setbacks as opportunities for growth. 

Industries increasingly value employees and seek out new hires who can think critically, solve complex problems, and embrace change. As such, fostering curiosity in students becomes not only a pedagogical goal, but a strategic investment in their future career success. In essence, curiosity is a skill that transcends academia, serving as a cornerstone for a lifetime of learning and professional accomplishment.

How to foster greater curiosity in your students

Fostering greater curiosity in students is a key aspect of nurturing a lifelong love for learning. One effective strategy is to integrate real-world applications into the curriculum, allowing students to see the relevance of their studies. 

For instance, in science classes, educators can design experiments that mimic real-world scenarios, challenging students to apply theoretical knowledge to solve practical problems. By linking classroom concepts to tangible, everyday situations that students might be familiar with, educators create an environment in which students are more likely to ask questions, explore, and engage with the material on a deeper level.

Another practical approach involves incorporating project-based learning (PBL) into the curriculum. Assigning students open-ended projects that require investigation and problem-solving not only encourages curiosity, but also promotes autonomy and critical thinking. 

Katie Gourlay, a third-grade teacher using the Global Leaders framework, did just that with a lesson incorporating both PBL and global learning. Beginning with third-grade math and literacy standards, Katie developed a project in which students investigated how to protect water sources in their community. This resulted in a complex, multifaceted research experience: one with many paths for inquiry and for which students could bring background knowledge and personal experiences to the learning in many different ways. See how she developed students’ global competencies and research skills in greater detail here.

This approach not only allows students to explore areas of personal interest, but also instills a sense of ownership in their learning journey, sparking curiosity as they seek to uncover new information and perspectives.

Teaching global competencies helps students become career-ready

A framework like Global Leaders allows students to apply their learning to real-world situations and design thoughtful solutions. Giving them agency in their learning inspires students to consider how they might use their future careers to make the world a better place. 

As you foster global competencies, like curiosity, in your students, you give them the tools they need for postsecondary success. Building your students’ innate curiosity sets them up for a lifelong love of learning in their personal and professional lives.

Stay tuned for upcoming blog posts that focus on applying other global competencies! With Global Leaders, students experience learning that goes beyond mastery of specific academic skills; they develop solutions and ideas to change the world. We would love to hear how you are helping your students understand global issues. Connect with our community on social media using #UnitingOurWorld.

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