Sense of Wonder

What is a Sense of Wonder?

“Spring was moving in the air above and in the earth below and around him, penetrating even his dark and lowly little house with its spirit of divine discontent and longing.

This passage, read by sixth-graders in Wind in the Willows, call to mind the meaning of a sense of wonder at Veritas. What Spring brings to Mole is uneasiness with the way things are and a desire to find something new and perhaps even closer to truth (in Latin veritas). This drives Mole on a quest of adventure, growth, and self-discovery. And this is what a cultivated sense of wonder can do for our students.

From the start, Veritas teachers write grade reports that look little like traditional “report cards.” There is quantitative data; there are scores listed. But the main feature of each student’s evaluation is a substantial written narrative that describes the student as a learner. Featured in this narrative is this quality we call a sense of wonder.

The sense of wonder is a drive, a passion for learning, a discomfort with ignorance, and a desire to get closer to the truth. While everyone is born with it, a sense of wonder shows in different ways with different students. In one student, it might look like a series of energetic remarks during discussion. Another student might be quiet for an extended time and then quietly, pensively, raise a question that makes the whole class reconsider their answers.

Ways to Show Wonder:  

Wonder comes naturally, but it helps to be aware of the habits that come with it: 

  • Be curious
  • Look for puzzles, mystery, and obscurities in the subject matter
  • Ask “Why”
  • Try to solve puzzles, clarify mysteries, and bring obscurities to light
  • Engage your imagination!

If a student has a hard time speaking up, or is not sure if a teacher can perceive their passion for a subject, talk with your teachers. They can help come up with strategies and provide encouragement and support.

At Veritas, teachers coach these habits of wonder, and model them in their own lives. They work each day to create the conditions for wonder, crafting discussion questions, making lesson plans, designing labs, and more. Everything is aimed to inspire a passion for learning that will, we hope, last through a lifetime.