Children come into the world with no “prior knowledge” or experience. They are a blank slate; a tabula rasa. They need to explore the world around them in various ways to figure things out. If you give a 10 month old boy an object, he will pick it up, look at it, move it around in his chubby little hands, and then put it in his mouth. He is using all his senses to figure out what the object is and how it works. Then that child learns to talk. So now this boy is still curious about everything and his newly acquired language now helps him to figure out the world around him. If you've ever met a 4 year old, you know that they ask questions incessantly. By the time he is 6, the number of questions starts to dwindle. This is partly due to the fact that he has more knowledge about the world around him and has a better ability to make connections to objects, events and ideas. But it is also partly because his mother is tired of answering all the questions and he's been told to stop asking so many of them.
Then that boy is sent off to school where he can learn more and experience more. More often than not, the child finds out that, according to standardized tests, there is always a right answer. Typically, that answer is “C.” When they do ask questions in class that don't have to do with “C,” the teacher often tells them not be distracted and redirects them to the task at hand. It turns out that, in school, students learn material so they can then be tested rather than learning for the love of curiosity.
After a while, they learn to stop asking questions and just memorize the information long enough to pass the test. After 13 years of learning the “right” information in school, they lose the ability to think critically, problem solve, and ask questions. By the time that child reaches adulthood, very few questions are asked on any given day.
Unfortunately, the “real world” doesn't always operate on “right” information. There are situations that come up where the answer isn't just right or wrong; true or false; “C” or “A.” The world isn't just black and white. We live in a world of gray and we need to help students tap into their instinctive curiosity again. At C THE World Academy, we help them remember how to investigate the world around them to find answers. I'm not suggesting we give a 10th grade Chemistry student an object to hold, move around and then put into their mouth the way they did when they were 10 months old, but we can guide students to observe their surroundings, learn how to ask good questions and then lead them to how to discover the answer on their own.