Did you know?
Curiosity is considered to be an intellectual virtue and many argue it is key to wellbeing – our own and that of others. Think of someone like Marie Curie or Thomas Edison – everything they achieved started with a spark of curiosity. Scientists suggest that curiosity was very important in our evolutionary development as it helped is to explore new and advantageous lands. Dr Todd Kashdan developed the first scale to measure curiosity and found that curious people are less likely to put other people down and were less likely to be self-centred. These qualities improve relationships and subsequently wellbeing.
We can be curious about other people’s emotions as well as factual information about the world. Taking on characters in role play situations is a safe way to explore how it may feel to be someone else and to experience different life situations and events. For some young people, creating a full role play from scratch and performing it to a class can be a hugely daunting experience. Instead, activities such as hot-seating can work well or providing character profiles with key ideas as prompts. Or, acting out very clear scenarios like doing the shopping, walking the dog or getting a taxi can develop confidence. Additional dialogue can be encouraged later.
Encouraging young people to find out about places they have never been can really open the mind to what is beyond their everyday struggles and challenges. Fact files or projects about new places can be one way to do this and linking the places to current affairs can make it feel more meaningful. For instance, for a child who enjoys motor sports, could they find out about the country where an upcoming Grand Prix is taking place? Or for someone who is interested in a particular musician or band, could they find out about the countries where they are touring?
Seek out diversity
Sometimes we seek out people who share our interests so that we can do things together that we will enjoy. However, the phrase ‘opposites attract’ has a lot of value and is often something we learn as we get older. Teachers can encourage pupils to be comfortable with differences in a light-hearted way. Children can play a game in the classroom or hall where they move around the room finding people who firstly share things in common with them (e.g. the same month of birth or the the same letter in one of their names) and then secondly, have something different to them (e.g. were born in a different place, have a different pet, like a different kind of music).