I’m not sure about you, but I always thought that children who are inquisitive are bright children: they question the world around them and how it works. Their questions are helping to shape their understanding, and asking questions shows a lot about a child. Children who ask questions are confident, they think critically, they reflect on what is happening, they are constantly learning, re-learning and putting the pieces of life’s jigsaw puzzle together.
But unfortunately, according to Makerere University (the examining body for our nursery teaching training college), children who are “inquisitive on every issue” are “undisciplined”. The photo above is an excerpt from the Mock Examinations marking guide from Makerere University. None of our students gave that option as an answer (thankfully) and hopefully they never will. When going through the examination answers with them I had to say something like: this is what the marking guide says but it’s not true (there were several times our tutors had to do that). Being inquisitive is not only a trait of bright young children, it should be a trait of all young children, it is an expectation of their age and should be encouraged. How can children be active learners when they are not encouraged to ask questions? What do classrooms look like when children are not encouraged to ask questions? (I can sadly show you quite a few of those…)
We are currently preparing a document for Makerere University where we have questioned many areas of their marking guides, as well as how our students’ papers were marked. Obviously this will be one of the areas we will raise. We are not ashamed to say that we are aiming to train teachers who are inquisitive, not undisciplined. Inquisitive practitioners who think critically and reflect about their teaching; even to question how they were marked on their exams!