Tracing Curiosity with a Value Perspective

  • Soern Finn Menning University of Agder


Several have challenged the idea that educating is a neutral endeavour. Following this line of thought, this article intends to examine a common concept often taken for granted: curiosity. The aim of the article is to show how curiosity is constructed as a value-loaded notion by tracing its understandings in an early-childhood-education-and-care (ECEC) context from a value perspective. Four official ECEC documents from different organisational levels will be analysed. Informed by qualitative content analysis with a concept-driven strategy, the document analysis seeks to establish connections between the notion of curiosity and prominent value fields in ECEC, such as competence, democracy and care. The analysis of the documents suggests that curiosity often has competence-related value and is frequently understood as a tool for gaining knowledge, especially in natural science and mathematics. Other value aspects, such as supporting democracy, are represented but seem to play a minor part. This suggests that the documents mainly reveal curiosity’s instrumental worth based on the various associated values. At the same time, they neither include possible ethical aspects such as connections to interpersonal caring, nor curiosity’s possible downsides, nor do they mention any existential or intrinsic value.

(Published, 21 September, 2017)

Citation: Soern F. Menning. “Tracing Curiosity with a Value Perspective.” Nordisk tidsskrift for pedagogikk og kritikk, Vol. 3, 2017, pp. 1–16.


Soern Finn Menning, University of Agder

Soern Finn Menning is currently a PhD research fellow at the Faculty of Humanities and Education,
Department of Religion, Philosophy and History, University of Agder, Norway. He is a former preschool teacher and also worked with competence development in the early childhood education sector. In addition he has a background in film working as a screenwriter for short and feature films.


Hvordan sitere
Menning, S. F. (2017). Tracing Curiosity with a Value Perspective. Nordisk Tidsskrift for Pedagogikk Og Kritikk, 3(1).