Amanda Moreno interviewed me about Encouraging Kids to Pursue Engineering over on the Knovel Blog.
What can parents do to cultivate an interest in science in their kids early on?
John Hunter: Ask questions. Answer questions. Explain how things work. Explain why things are done the way they are. Kids want the attention of their parents, and when they are younger they are constantly trying to get it (dad look, mom look, watch me!). They have similar feelings when they are older, but are not as forthright about saying what they want. If you take a sincere interest in their questions, you’ll motivate them to continue pondering how the world works. Make it fun to learn. Kids have an intrinsic motivation to learn. Keeping their curiosity alive is the first step.
So, on the university level, professors generally aren’t student-centric enough. What other factors are discouraging students in the classroom?
JH: I have one belief that is close to heresy. I don’t see why publication has to be so important for professors (if what we are after is good teachers, not authors). …
Read the rest of the interview.