Be Curious_

As everyone gets into the swing of ‘back to school’ we take a moment to wonder if we value curiosity as much as we should. Core to everything we do at Cypher is the concept of ‘unrelenting curiosity’ - we believe this is what powers the imaginative mind, ensures we engage and inspire our students and reminds us to always ask questions.

Over the Summer, our first full run of 9 weeks of camps, we have introduced our students to creativity and curiosity in all sorts of ways - all underpinned with a comprehensive computer science education. We used the open-ended creative themes of Big Blue Adventure, Future You and Commotioneering!™ to introduce exciting hands-on projects and coding concepts to eager minds. Think of the way kids play, explore, experiment on the beach, for instance - with no restrictions and open minds, and then compare that with the more structured, formal environment of most schools - are we missing a trick? New research suggests:

The more curious the child, the more likely
he or she may be to perform better in school
— Prach E. Shah, University of Michigan


An article in The Atlantic by Scott Barry Kaufman suggests that curiosity is drastically underappreciated in schools. In support of his argument as to the importance of curiosity, Kaufman quotes Orville Wright’s response to a suggestion that he and his brother had no special advantages, “to say we had no special advantages … the greatest thing in our favour was growing up in a family where there was always much encouragement to intellectual curiosity.”

At Cypher we value the full development of students - encouraging them to work with different senses, with different people, make mistakes, try things out and ensure the environment they are in is the most stimulating and enriching for them. We encourage teamwork, self-confidence and, of course, curiosity.

Kaufmann concludes the article by quoting Adele and Allen Gottfried of California State University, “giftedness is not a chance event … giftedness will blossom when children’s cognitive ability, motivation and enriched environments coexist and meld together to foster its growth.”


So says Tim Brown, Designer, CEO of IDEO in the accompanying video to the article. In the video ‘What can people do to get better at learning?’ a group of professors, engineers, and journalists talk about how to absorb information effectively and move towards creativity. Jo Boaler, Professor of Math Education, Stanford University, contributes, “It is the kids who believe in themselves who cope better - who when they make a mistake their brains actually spark and fire because they know making mistakes is good.”

Whether your kids are on- or offline, encourage a stimulating open-ended environment where your children, driven by curiosity, have the freedom to explore, to make mistakes, to re-assess, to apply creativity, to try again and to always learn.

©2018 Elizabeth Tweedale

Elizabeth Tweedale