Ramsey Musallam, chemistry teacher from San Francisco, California, talks about 3 rules to spark learning: (1) curiosity comes first, (2) embrace the mess, (3) practice reflection. Even though he is a chemistry teacher, these rules are clearly applicable to all subjects especially mathematics. Curiosity is the reason why mathematical conjectures are made and theorems are proved. The “mess” is what every problem solver go through, it is the hidden face of cut-and-dried theorems we found in books. Reflection is important to teachers and students. They can reflect on how students think and develop strategies on how to elicit responses, while students can reflect on their practices in solving problems.
Watch Ramsey Musallam in one of the most fascinating 6-minute lectures about curiosity and learning.
I would like to highlight the following quotes from the lecture above.
- Questions and curiosities are magnets that draw us towards our teachers and they transcend all technology or buzzwords in education. But if we place these technologies before student inquiry we can be robbing ourselves of our greatest tool as teachers: our students’ questions.
- But if instead we have the guts to confuse our students, perplex them, and evoke real questions, through those questions, we as teachers have information that we can use to tailor robust and informed methods of blended instruction. When I heard this part, I remembered A (now already a book).
- The student questions are the seed of real learning.
- Now Riley’s going to be a big girl in a couple weeks here. She’s going to be four years old, and anyone who knows a four-year-old knows that they love to ask, “Why?” … But the challenge is really for Riley’s future teachers. How will they grow this curiosity?
I particularly like the last one.