There’s a lot to be said about good, old-fashioned dictionaries. While access to online definitions,
etymologies, usages, etc. can be handy, the opportunity to browse and/or to find a new word, new being previously unfamiliar with, is not often there. At least not without a lot of scrolling back and forth or up and down. My screen is very compact.
So much can fly out as you flip through those thin pages. And some dictionaries offer thumbnail photos in the margins. I see an intriguing picture, I read the caption, and sometimes, after reading the brief dictionary blurb, I go on to learn more about the subject via the Internet and/or other resources.
CURIOSITY: a desire to know or to learn; inquisitive; from the Latin curiosus. Does public education encourage students to be inquisitive, to ask questions, to learn more? Teachers are required now to teach to standardized tests. If their students don’t perform well, the school district suffers financial consequences. The push toward this during recent decades, as mandated by legislation, has robbed teachers and students of the opportunity to be curious and to enjoy all the inherent results thereof.
How would children react to a teacher telling them to put away their books and giving them time to daydream or to do whatever they wanted, by themselves, without disturbing their peers?
Wouldn’t that be interesting to observe? I’m curious what children would do. Would they be suspicious? Would they test boundaries? Would the sneaky avid reader pull out his or her sci-fi or mystery or historical fiction book? Would the behind-the-book doodler pull out his or her notebook? Or would these activities no longer hold the same attraction absent the dare factor? How would a child with attention deficit disorder handle such freedom? Would teachers
even be allowed to grant such a time?
I imagine the first time a class experiences such a magical kind of recess from the minute-to-minute structure of a normal school day chaos would erupt. A blank slate. What to do with such
freedom? It just seems we really need to give time back to children. We need to let them daydream, wonder, imagine. We need to give their thinking space to roam. We need to give them time to digest what they’re learning. We need to help them see, help them learn how they can puzzle things out for themselves. Or how working together to solve a problem can engender a sense of teamwork and cooperation. We need to let them be curious and give them time to satiate that curiosity.
Elevate to the highest priority in this country a genuine respect for our youngest citizens and their education and all desired improvements will follow.