When you are curious…you engage. When students are curious…they engage.
On the educational professional development circuit one often hears talk of problem solving. How do kids solve problems? Give them problems to solve and help them develop different ways to tackle a problem. Sounds good…if all you want are worker monkeys who wait patiently to follow orders when a problem is given to them
The key to engaging kids in the classroom is helping them become problem finders.
It is in the discovery of a problem that the mind excites, comes alive, activates, engages. And it’s surprisingly easy to do once you get the hang of arranging your class around the idea. “Find the problem,” I tell them and they know it means “ask a question.” Ask as many questions as you can about what you read, watch, listen to, observe, then tear these questions apart and find the ones you can ask more questions about. The questions that spark the most questions are called Essential Questions and that is where we want to be.
The Essential Question turns student into explorer and we all know what the great explorer Captain Picard would say when he wanted to pursue a problem…engage.