University of Cambridge > > Psychology & Education > Pre-schooler’s Verbal and Behavioural Responses as Indicators of Scientific Curiosity and Exploration Abilities

Pre-schooler’s Verbal and Behavioural Responses as Indicators of Scientific Curiosity and Exploration Abilities

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Enhancing children’s curiosity about the natural world, fostering exploration skills and scientific thinking are primary goals of science education. However, questions remain regarding the appropriate ways to identify, nurture, and study these emotional and cognitive states in young children. Curiosity is a desire to understand various phenomena and quest for knowledge. It plays a fundamental role in human cognitive, social, emotional, and physiological development, as well as in education and scientific discovery. Despite the importance of curiosity and its application to education, empirical studies regarding this issue are scarce. This might be due to the fact that curiosity is unobservable directly, is not a unitary construct, and is dynamically changing. I will present studies using specific protocols we developed to examine pre-schooler’s verbal (e.g. explanations, reasoning, self-generated figurative expressions) and behavioral (active engagement, sensorimotor interactions) responses while participating in a scientific activity, as indicators of scientific curiosity and exploration abilities.

Profile Ornit holds M.Sc. in Molecular Biology and Ph.D. in Science Education. Her main area of research is young children’s scientific exploration and reasoning, metacognition, self-regulation, and scientific curiosity. As part of her Ph.D. thesis, she developed the instructional programme “Learning Skills for Science” which was funded by the Nuffield Foundation. The Gatsby Science Enhancement Programme (SEP) adapted the LSS programme to be implemented in KS4 curriculum. Nowadays, she continues this area of research and develops instructional models to meet the needs of all students in the heterogeneous science classes and pedagogical strategies for IT integration specifically in 1to1 laptop science classes.

This talk is part of the Psychology & Education series.

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