12 Oct My love for curiosity
Curiosity, to me, is also about independence. It’s about the thinker figuring things out by themselves. It’s about making a statement. It’s empowerment, it’s liberating.
In his TEDtalk, Abdullah Verachia talks about disruption and innovation as being so much more than designing an app and plugging it into a system. He talks about the need for the solutions we design, to be ‘contextually relevant’. It must be centered around the needs of the user.
In South Africa, we have major inequalities in the schooling system. We have major gaps as we try to strive towards equal education in our young democracy. The reality is though, that the remnants of the past stare us in the face daily. Spatial planning is one example and schools are another. It’s usually glaringly obvious who the learners are that emerge from a well-resourced school, compared to the learners who emerged from an under-resourced school. In an under resourced school, classrooms are packed and teachers barely make it through the basic curriculum. I watch as I see our Education Department grapple with high dropout rates and disengaged learners.
As someone who battled in school, I have a great sense of empathy with learners who disengage and ultimately drop out. I believe we have failed these learners. As someone who considers herself to be an architect of learning, I believe my role as the facilitator, is to think about how to design a meaningful learning experience that engages as many learners as possible. Literally, no one should be left behind.
Herein lies the answer. In South Africa, I believe we need to build schools and education systems that a) meet the learners where they are at and b) have the capacity and robustness to make EVERY child find their inner learner. We must make children excited to learn. As long as I am alive, I will believe in that vision as possible. It’s completely doable. Part of the answer is in the building and physical resources. The other, and possibly more interesting goal, is how we foster curiosity so that learners can drive their own learning. This is pertinent especially when we consider our learners who are at high risk of exiting the system pre-emptly, those who are in under-resourced schools etc.
The learners’ ability, skill and motivation to activate their innate curiosity might be the ticket that takes them onto the next stage of their personal development.