The Teacher Tip

Engagement and Inquiry

May 16, 2017

Adapted from The Curious Classroom: 10 Structures for Teaching with Student-Directed Inquiry by Harvey “Smokey” Daniels


Sometimes school is boring. This is not news to students, but the adults seem to have just gotten the message. Suddenly there is talk everywhere about student engagement. Bill Gates is even researching galvanic skin response bracelets (using essentially the same technology as mood rings) that could monitor kids’ “engagement” in class (Strauss 2012). On the more hopeful side, researchers are showing that “engaged” doesn’t necessarily mean happy. Students may tackle certain work out of mere compliance or under coercion, but this is not the same self-sustaining dynamic that curiosity offers. The questions now under debate: Are we setting too low a standard for kids’ frame of mind in school? Should we be talking not just about obedience, but about joy, passion, play, fun, flow, and awe (Seppala 2016)?


Inquiry makes school feel worthwhile

 To learn more about The Curious Classroom, and to download a sample chapter, click here.


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