Osaka YMCA
International School

It’s The Question That Drives Us

will teaching
William Russell

William Russell

William Russell grew up with scientist parents who always encouraged him to be curious and ask questions. Now he can’t stop himself, which makes him super fun at parties.

At OYIS, we teachers (and students!) strive to develop ourselves using the Learner Profile, 10 attributes that promote an environment of learning.

It’s The Question That Drives Us

will russell
will russell

At OYIS, we teachers (and students!) strive to develop ourselves using the Learner Profile, 10 attributes that promote an environment of learning. If you don’t know much about the Learner Profile, you can read the basics in this IB leaflet.

Now, I don’t have a favourite Learner Profile attribute – I think they’re all important – but there’s one that’s been most associated with me by my friends and family throughout my life: Inquirer. Being a Risk-Taker makes you cool, and everyone appreciates someone who’s Caring, but being an Inquirer often gets on people’s nerves! People might wish you were quiet and asked fewer questions. They don’t want to talk about the things you find fascinating, or they want quick answers that don’t need much thought. But I was raised differently, and Inquirers are some of my favourite people.

There are certainly heroes and role models out there for Inquirers. It’s a hugely important part of the modern scientific method and there are many scientists who I’ve always admired. Brian Cox, Richard Feynman, Jane Goodall, Alice Roberts… past and present, Inquirers make the world more interesting.

Richard Feynman has a great quote:

I can appreciate the beauty of a flower. At the same time, I see much more about the flower than [an artist] sees. I could imagine the cells in there, the complicated actions inside, which also have a beauty… All kinds of interesting questions which the science knowledge only adds to the excitement, the mystery and the awe of a flower.

My childhood was filled with curiosity and inquiry. Both of my parents worked in science; my father was a biochemist and my mother a haematologist. My mother is also a Christian and always wants to know the reason and purpose for the things that happen in life. One of my favourite TV shows is QI (“Quite Interesting”), in which Stephen Fry and Sandi Toksvig try to herd a group of comedians through a quiz focusing on little random interesting bits of trivia.

I think we’re all born Inquirers. Babies throw their food on the floor, not because they’re trying to annoy you, but because they want to know what will happen. Schools can sometimes be a threat to Inquiry if students are expected to be quiet and just copy what the teacher writes. At OYIS, we strive to avoid that. I think that can be hard for new students (and parents) sometimes! Our lessons are often more about asking questions than memorising answers.

In the end, I think that the world needs more Inquirers. There are some big challenges ahead for the human race, and the answers haven’t been found yet. How can you help us get there?

will russell

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