One of my aims as a teacher is to get my pupils to cultivate their curiosity. This stems from my belief that the reality we inhabit is full of wonder and beauty and that we, as a species, have spent millennia trying to make sense of it. Curiosity will continue to drive the expansion of human knowledge, but what motivates me more is the conviction that each individual pupil – every single one of them – can live a life of richer experiences if they are curious.
I do not think that many would have any deep disagreement with what I have just written. But the realisation of this aim – the cultivation of curiosity – can take us in starkly contrasting directions that make different assumptions about the nature of the human mind.
One approach would be to assume that curiosity exists as a generic characteristic of our personalities. We…
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