Ning Xin CHONG: The Power of Curiosity to Promote Well-being in Education | Doing Well #40

In this episode, host Lu Ngo is joined by Ning Xin CHONG, who is a registered psychologist with extensive experience working with children and adolescents with developmental delays and special educational needs

In this episode, the host, Lu Ngo, and guest Ning Xin CHONG explore the power of curiosity in education and how it benefits students’ well-being. They also discuss some of the challenges students face in the education system and the need for a holistic approach that considers their mental health and emotional well-being.

Meet Ning Xin CHONG

Ning Xin is a registered psychologist with the Singapore Register of Psychologists (SRP). She works with children and adolescents with developmental delays and special educational needs.  Her expertise includes working with individuals diagnosed with conditions such as Autism Spectrum Disorder, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Learning Disorders, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, and Selective Mutism.

She actively collaborates with parents, schools, and professionals from different disciplines, such as Speech Therapists, Occupational Therapists, and Educational Therapists. In addition to her role as a Senior Psychologist at The Therapy Room, Ning Xin serves as an associate lecturer at the Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS). 

About the episode

Throughout this episode, Ning Xin explains that curiosity involves embracing the unknown with a sense of adventure. It entails a hunger for knowledge, a love for exploration, and a genuine enjoyment of the learning journey.

Ning Xin argues that educators play a crucial role in fostering curiosity. They can exemplify curiosity by asking thought-provoking questions and being receptive to learning from students’ perspectives. Educators can also engage students in interactive discovery processes, such as discussions, projects, and student-led activities. They can also ignite excitement and engagement by connecting learning to students’ interests.

Several practices can be implemented to foster curiosity. First, it is important to follow your natural interests. Pay attention to the topics or activities that naturally pique your curiosity. By pursuing what genuinely interests you, you are more likely to stay engaged and motivated.

Asking questions is another key aspect of nurturing curiosity. Curiosity often begins with questioning. Be curious about the world and don’t hesitate to ask questions. Questions allows you to challenge assumptions, seek clarification, and explore different perspectives.

Engaging in hands-on activities and experiments is another effective way. By experimenting and exploring, you can actively discover new things. Whether it’s trying out a new hobby, conducting simple science experiments, or engaging in creative projects, experimentation can ignite curiosity and lead to new insights.

Active listening is a valuable skill that can cultivate curiosity. When interacting with others, practice active listening by being fully present and attentive. Engage in meaningful conversations, ask follow-up questions, and seek to understand different viewpoints. Active listening can open up new possibilities for learning and spark curiosity.

Ning Xin also shares more practical tips for fostering curiosity:

  • Step outside your comfort zone: Step out of familiar territory and challenge yourself to explore new areas. This can involve trying new activities, visiting new places, or engaging with people from different backgrounds. Stepping outside your comfort zone can expand your horizons and stimulate curiosity.
  • Practice mindfulness: Cultivate a sense of mindfulness and presence in your daily life. Pay attention to the present moment, observe your surroundings curiously, and openly engage in activities. Mindfulness enhances your ability to notice and appreciate the world around you.
  • Promote autonomy and choice: If you’re an educator, give individuals the freedom to choose topics or projects that align with their interests. When individuals have ownership over their learning, they are more likely to be curious and engaged.
  • Create a safe and supportive environment: Foster an environment where individuals feel safe to ask questions, share ideas, and take intellectual risks. Create a supportive space where mistakes are seen as opportunities for learning and experimentation, rather than sources of judgment.

In conclusion

Curiosity is a superpower that can transform education and enhance student well-being. By nurturing curiosity in students, educators can create an environment that fosters exploration, critical thinking, and a love for learning. It’s about asking questions, engaging in hands-on activities, and promoting a sense of wonder and adventure.

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