Youngsters want to study, Learn, and Execute
CONTENT BY MindShift Media
If you’re a parent, teacher, principal, or principal of a public school, reading between the lines of an article from the Wall Street Journal is a no-brainer: “More teens and preteens turning to Google for information on everything from algebra problems to day-to-day lifestyle questions.”
One reason for the high-traffic destination: among younger learners, Wikipedia is their reference source of choice, and when they visit it, it becomes a necessary tool for all of their online research. When students try to find information on a topic, Wikipedia is a place they already know how to use, no matter what question they’re asked.
But all that information, and more, is available on all social media websites. Thus, younger learners see themselves as pretty well connected to the world, and many wonder, how can they make sense of what’s on social media?
The answer lies in the value created by curiosity: through their ability to seek knowledge and be interested in finding out about what they observe.
According to a study sponsored by the Guilford Science & Technology Foundation, “[Curiosity] is perceived as having helped a student ask an important question or discover something new, and is the driving force behind the students’ motivation to pursue the activities they think are the best for them.”
Why Ask Questions?
It’s this desire to expand knowledge that students feel when they ask questions and solve problems — not just learning what a cell is. One study conducted at Princeton found that students willing to ask questions are more likely to know what they want to know, and thus be able to learn faster.
Because questions help students see things from a different angle, they are well-liked by teachers and fellow students. And since there’s always a problem in any given field, young learners can take on projects that others may not necessarily want to tackle. This makes them good problem solvers, and, ideally, it will help them to recognize ideas, values, and initiatives that are worthwhile in the eyes of others.
According to the Guilford study, “questioning encourages students to see and assess things in a different way. These changes in the student’s ideas and perspectives mean that these young learners can come to see themselves in a much more complicated way than their peers, thus strengthening their emotions and motivation for the activities they choose to pursue.
“This increase in motivation will help them acquire more knowledge and enhance their skills in language and communication.”
It’s that goal to improve language and communication skills, which sets the tone for great academic success.
A New-School Perspective
“At the high school level, focus on developing new skills in the areas of communication, reasoning, and critical thinking,” says Fran Pumallée, founder of Feedback Enterprises, a qualitative research and research consulting company that applies an educational mindset to find effective ways to use technology.
“This kind of improvement equips learners with the tools and skills to evaluate information in new ways and make educated decisions,” says Pumallée.
Imagine that. Students in high school have something in common with kids in middle school — they all want to excel in the skills needed to succeed. But what happens after they have passed those exams? They need to be able to do it on their own, without the assistance of technology, in a way that makes sense to themselves.