In present times, we need people inhabiting innovative spirit, who can take on new challenges, develop a rich thinking process, and visualize distinct possibilities. We need those who are geared towards collaboration, team work, risk taking, and can find novel ways in order to proffer unique contributions. Hence, the question that all schools and parents need to ask themselves is: ‘Are our children prepared to meet these future challenges with creatively bent minds?’
The students of today may go on to work in various industries, and not everyone will become an entrepreneur. But someday all of them will face a common reality. Each one of them will have to think on their feet and be sharp like an entrepreneur to thrive and survive in a changing world. They might not be inventing a new enterprise but they will have to invent and reinvent their daily jobs so as to stay relevant. In simple words, students will need to be agile and adaptive in the coming times. And this has less to do with transferring the requisite skills and more with developing the adequate mindset.
Curiosity for Nurturing an Entrepreneurial Mindset
To psychologists, curiosity is a life force, integral to happiness, intellectual development and one’s well-being. It is closely connected to other important abilities such as resilience, self-awareness, sociability, resourcefulness, creativity and empathy. Proper nourishment of curiosity by teachers and parents can lead students on the path of success, career satisfaction, and an overall fulfilling life.
The greatest benefit that curiosity offers is motivation to learn and grasp new things in work and life which are meaningful to the learner. It guides students in the direction of knowledge, skills, deep relationships and enriching experiences that they need to live productive lives.
To fuel a child’s curiosity, teachers need to reinforce and reward it when they see it in action. Praise students by describing how their inquisitive questions, explorations and investigations are contributing significantly to their own as well as classroom’s learning. This way they know that they are being valued for their dedication and motivation, irrespective of the grade they score.
Students also need to be encouraged to become self-starters and self-managers. For this, teachers need to ask quality questions comprising “why”, “what if”, and “how” that can get students thinking. Also, teachers should tap into students’ interests and passions so that the subject becomes accessible enough for students to feel they can take charge. This way students pick an idea in class and pursue that further on their own outside of the classroom. This needs to be coupled with the opportunity to engage in project management. Students set a goal for themselves this way with a strong sense of what they are doing and where they are headed with it.
Also, tinkering helps in this regard as students will constructively play around with words, feelings, concepts, ideas, and materials that can stimulate curiosity and lead to new outcomes. Teachers need to create opportunities where more-curious and the less-curious students get to work together on certain projects. Working in groups makes curiosity contagious as it will then involve every student in solving a real-world common goal, germinating new ideas.
Children should also be encouraged to investigate their genetic or emotional connection with other cultures and be involved in meaningful dialogue about things that hold relevance. Also, help parents understand the importance of curiosity and suggest ways to foster it at home.
If we want our students to develop an entrepreneurial line of thinking, they need to make things. Worksheets and assignments cannot teach this kind of self-direction and self-management. Instead, they should be given real projects based on real-world issues to work on. Projects where they will ask the right questions, be in the driver’s seat and own the entire creative process.