While “curiosity may have killed the cat”, as the saying goes, it certainly livens up our learning. Ever thought of how anxiety blocks our desire to learn and curiosity heightens it?
Think of anxiety and curiosity as being at two ends of a continuum.
When anxiety levels are high, our receptiveness to learning new things is low. We resist because we are full of panic and doubt.
At the other end of the spectrum from anxiety is intense curiosity. When curiosity levels are high, we are incredibly receptive to learning new things because we are motivated by our own hunger to learn.
Here’s a diagram to show what I mean.
This works whether you’re dealing with learners or members of your own staff. A student who is curious learns more. A staff member who is highly anxious when it comes to technology is unlikely to embrace Web 2.0 or mobile technologies for teaching.
Keep providing strategies to decrease anxiety. At the same time, encourage their natural curiosity and you’ll keep people learning. It’s that simple.
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Sarah Elaine Eaton is a faculty member in the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary, Canada.