Keynote Speaker: Peter Felten, Elon University

Can We Teach Curiosity?

Curiosity might be bad for cats, but it is essential for human learning. As Eleanor Duckworth notes, “What you do about what you don’t know is, in the final analysis, what determines what you will know.” Scholars often describe curiosity as an internally motivated trait, but in this session we will explore what happens when we consider curiosity to be a set of practices that can be cultivated. How can our teaching help our students to become increasingly curious about our disciplines - and about their world? We will consider concrete strategies for cultivating student curiosity, and we will ask questions about how we can know whether we are actually helping students to cultivate their curiosity in ways that will enhance their learning and enrich their lives.


Photo of Peter Felten

Peter Felten is assistant provost for teaching and learning, executive director of the Center for Engaged Learning, and professor of history at Elon University (US). Professionally, he is curious about how people learn and how to cultivate change in individuals, institutions, and cultures. His publications include the co-authored books The Undergraduate Experience (2016) and Engaging Students as Partners in Learning and Teaching (2014), and the co-edited Intersectionality in Action (2016). He is president (2016-17) of the International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, and co-editor of the International Journal for Academic Development. Personally, he is curious about why he so consistently loses at board games and how it can be that chocolate always tastes good.

Back to main Conference page