Our #PTCamp PLN came up with a one word challenge, a resolution for 2015. I choose WONDER. Why wonder? It’s a word that sparks imagination. It’s a word that can enhance creativity. It is a word that has us thinking.
I had the privilege to attend the 2014 NYSCATE conference in Rochester, NY in November, and they had the fabulous Jason Latimer as a keynote speaker. He had over 2,000 participants ‘wonder’ about wonder, imagination, creativity using magic and science, but also reminding us, how to spark wonder in our students by asking questions. Asking questions is a lot more significant than receiving answers, isn’t it?
We just came back from two week hiatus trip to Colombia and traveled the region of Antioquia, the coffee region where it is very mountainous and very rural. We ended at our gracious host, Ana’s house above the town of La Ceja. My husband and I always love to be in the communities, learning the way of life and I am fortunate to have experienced many trips like this where we stay with folks or with my family and experience the way of living in a different country.
We were working around the house of our host when neighbor children came by. They love Ana and they were curious with these visitors who speak English. They were typical boys, curious to what was happening. They were 4 boys, from 7, 8, 9 and 10 years old. They were wondering, what is my husband doing reinforcing the shed roof? What is growing in the makeshift seed starter kits? How can we play “helicopter” with the 1950 metal lawn chairs? This is wonder, creativity, imagination, something that is a natural curiosity in our kids, not just in the US, but worldwide.
Unfortunately, some kids in our world don’t have that opportunity of wonder. They are stuck in poverty, trying to survive, trying to help their families, and at worst, trying to stay alive, working in child sweatshops because their hands are small and can weave carpets (like in Egypt carpet sweatshop factories), or worse, in worn torn countries like Syria, Iraq or fighting Ebola in West Africa. Then, some kids, like my nephew, are privileged to have high school courses called “Wonder” where they are taught in the Socratic method of questioning and discussion where his assignment over the holidays was to come up with a wonder. (That was a lively discussion!)
So, in the US, how do we develop “wonder” in our kids? I challenge you to develop this in your students! Place it in your lesson plans and ask wonder questions. Spark wonder in your students and develop imagination and creativity. It is our duty as educators to instill this in our students!