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Igniting Curiosity: The Power of Provocation in Inquiry-Based Learning

  • 26 June 2024

At Oakridge International School, we believe that sparking curiosity is the cornerstone of effective learning. The concept of provocation in inquiry-based learning serves this purpose by igniting young minds and fostering a deep desire to explore and understand the world around them. Provocations are powerful tools that can transform a simple lesson into an engaging and thought-provoking experience for students. This article delves into the importance of provocation in inquiry-based learning and illustrates how it can be implemented to stimulate curiosity and promote lifelong learning.

Spring roll, cheese nachos, butter garlic chicken, yummy!

Delicious starters served at the beginning of a meal stimulate the appetite, get the digestive juices flowing, and allow us to relish the food.

Just as these starters activate our taste buds, making our mouths water and crave more food, provocations at the beginning of each unit ignite young minds and create curiosity to inquire. Provocations can be introduced in various ways, such as using artifacts, pictures, books, newspaper articles, different situations, what-if questions, narrating stories and incidents, and movies, depending on the topic.

An example of one such provocation is the movie “Avatar” (Part I and Part II) by James Cameron. Students, in groups, discussed and wrote about the movie’s plot and settings.

In the movie, the antagonists plan to cut down trees and destroy the habitat of Pandora. The villains demolish the land for money, seeking a precious stone found there. They do not realize that they are endangering various arboreal, aerial, and terrestrial animals. As a result of these colonization attempts, hundreds of animals are killed, and their biomes are destroyed. “Avatar” serves as a lesson to all human beings to protect and preserve nature.

This specific provocation led to rationalizing thoughts in the minds of learners, sparking intelligent discussions about themes such as the human impact on biomes, the destruction of flora and fauna, the difference between life on land and life underwater, the bond between humans and nature, the preservation of nature, preventing harm to animals, the destruction of habitats, and the crucial interdependence of nature and humans. All these intriguing topics ultimately led to the critical main topic, biodiversity, under the theme “Sharing the Planet,” without creating pressure or stifling creativity in thought processes. Instead, it promoted imagination and encouraged individuality while adhering to the originally intended imperative subject and making the new learning easy and interesting for the learners.

Hence, provocations stimulate curiosity for inquiry and lifelong learning.


Sreedevi Vyasam

Grade 5 Home room teacher