The Curious Mind

The Curious Mind - How great learning starts with the student

Learning before birth

The learning process starts in the womb but it does not happen in solitude. The baby relies on the mother’s heartbeat, melody and rhythm of her voice to develop a thicker auditory cortex; the part of the brain which helps us hear.

Our ears develop by listening by paying attention to sounds around us. And what are sounds without its partner, rhythm? We become submerged in music from the moment our hearts start beating inside the womb.

The heart forms a rhythm which is not a solitary one. It beats in harmony with the heart of the mother for a while and once it is safe, it increases its pulse finding its own speed; preparing for a life outside.

This rhythm is accompanied by the sounds perceived by the foetus from the ‘outside world’. The foetus hears, feels, stops and listens. Then they try to imitate with emotion all that they heard. The reproduction may even be in a distorted form initially but with practice, the foetus will achieve replication. Eventually, lead to its own unique creation.

Practice as an instinct

Yes, I said it: practice! This word is often misinterpreted as a chore. Therefore a burdensome exercise which deprives the student learning in an enjoyable organic manner. The need for expression makes practice from learning enjoyable.

Instinctively, the foetus imitates repeated sounds and rhythms in order to communicate with the mother in the outside world, which in return makes practice enjoyable, generating positive results and fulfilment.

Learning through repetition:

Consistently, we see how children can seem to have an almost obsessive-compulsive behaviour when they play the same game or listen to the Frozen theme repeatedly, to the desperation of the adult.

We all learn to be better through repetition. We practice to walk, run, train for the Olympics of any industry. It is the purpose or, better yet, the lack of it which makes practice redundant in its positive quality.

Curiosity fading as we grow:

It is true that we may become less curious and less proactive in the learning process as we grow. We comply with the rules, interpretation, fear and knowledge of our teachers because ‘they say so'. Perhaps the curious minds of our students need better guidance and fewer barriers. So they can continue the road to comprehension through self-discovery and imitation. Just as they started in the womb. In order to find their own voice, their unique quality of existence and personal creation.

The technique of giving students the tools for self-discovery (questioning, or leaving clues) in their search for answers, has been a part of my own teaching. Ever since I realised that some teachers were either too selfish to share. Or too afraid to explore beyond their personal limitations. If we look at our own children there must be a moment when one of the parents was shouting at us for destroying a toy. In reality, it was only our curiosity of rebuilding by uncovering the mystery of creating that toy in the first place.

The role of a great teacher

Any wise parent, the first teacher, would encourage the process of reassembling the toy in order to embrace knowledge through the road of discovery. The appetite for knowledge needs nurturing from the teacher since any curious mind can become apathetic during the life of the student.

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