How to stimulate curiosity about language?? Curiosity is the engine behind lifelong learning and discovery. If you are curious about something, you want to know everything about it and you start to investigate!
Can this power of curiosity also be used to motivate students for language and reading?
Yes, of course!
In this article, you will dive into the magical world of curiosity and discover how to stimulate curiosity in your language teaching.
Curiosity has two sides
When we talk about language and curiosity, let’s first examine what curiosity actually means. For this, we divide ‘curious’ into two parts.
Where news leaves nothing to the imagination, there is something special going on with stingy.
We know stingy as something negative, but fortunately means something completely different in this context. So anyone who is curious is ‘desire for the new’. This desire gives you the energy to explore and learn on your own!
But… curiosity is not always seen as a positive thing!
No doubt you have once called someone a curious geek (or someone you!). When we delve into history, we see that this concept can be linked to ‘being too curious’.
As funny as it may sound, it’s important to use this term with caution. After all, you don’t want to demotivate others to be curious, because it has many advantages.
Curiosity is indispensable
Curiosity is an indispensable quality for lifelong learning and development. Research shows that a high degree of curiosity positively influences math and language performance in young children.
In addition, being curious is also a lot of fun, because if you are curious, there is always something to discover!
‘Sincere interest in language is sometimes hard to find in children’
If you’re curious, ask questions. Looking at language education, students often come up with one specific question: ‘Why should we read?’.
Nowadays children read less and less and a genuine interest in language is sometimes hard to find. So that’s a big challenge!
Your students’ curiosity about language
Stimulating curiosity about language is a good starting point to find motivation but will have to be actively stimulated if we want to get children to read more.
As a teacher, you have an important role in this. Positive interaction, encouraging behavior, and own curiosity have a reinforcing effect on the curiosity of students. In addition, it is essential to connect with the perception of children.
Subjects of language education must be in line with the experience of the world
What the children read must therefore be relevant to what is meaningful to them at that moment.
What are they already interested in? What topics are currently in the classroom? This creates low-threshold involvement in your lesson.
Curiosity only starts when children can empathize with the subject. When they can’t think of questions or imagine something, it’s very complicated to be curious.
So make it accessible and ensure a soft landing on a new subject. A short story from a book is often a simple and surprising opener to a lesson.
For example, leave the end of the story open or leave out a bit to make children curious about what is missing.
With language research, you stimulate in a playful way
Language returns everywhere and serves as the key to the gateway to new areas of knowledge. How else can we learn from other cultures, areas, and our history?
Language connects and builds bridges. Language enlarges your world, but you only know that when you experience it.
So let children do language research on topics they are already interested in and would like to know more about.
How did certain sports get their name? What words can I learn from my favorite country?
Give students the space to discover the importance of language when they are busy with their research. Knowledge and vocabulary are increased during this exercise, which in turn benefits reading.
Creative with language
The fact that there is plenty to research about language is also apparent from the special fact that some words from another language simply cannot be translated.
So Curiosity, creativity, and language skills are thus stimulated in a playful way.
Stimulate curiosity in your language lessons
Stimulating curiosity doesn’t have to take a lot of time and effort. Below you will find a number of accessible tips and techniques that you can apply to use the power of curiosity in your language lessons:
- Dive into a circle and take an old book with you. Then see how many words do they recognize? Why would the language have changed?
- Choose a word of the week. Put it on the board and let students do their own research. What can you learn about it? You can also let them choose a word themselves and present to each other what they have learned about it.
- Show what you are curious about. What do you encounter in daily life around language? What questions do you have? There’s nothing more infectious than sharing your own curiosity!
- Use contradictions to amaze and amaze. Introduce students to Oxymorons: combinations of words that contradict each other in meaning such as old news or public secret. Here you will find some examples.
- Introduce mystery books to your classroom. Wrap the reading books with gift wrap and put some hints about the story on the front cover. Let your students choose their reading book based on that.
Hopefully, after reading this article, you have gained new inspiration to shape your language education in a different way. This way you and your students will never stop learning and you will always remain curious about new language discoveries!