How to encourage young scientists — insights by Jane Goodall

  • Published on June 12, 2020

How to encourage young scientists —insights by Jane Goodall

In this post, I am sharing a video by Jane Goodall Sowing the Seeds of Hope.

In a previous post, I shared some insights by the ACT Scientist of the Year, climate scientist Dr Sophie Lewis. Since then, Dr Lewis has been appointed ACT Commissioner for Sustainability and the Environment. Some events that shaped Dr Lewis’s journey to becoming a scientist include:

  • Her parents took an active interest in the world and natural events, such as the passing of Halley’s Comet, and encouraged Sophie to do the same by including her in their adventures.
  • Her family spent time outdoors in the natural environment and encouraged Sophie to explore, investigate and take an interest in every aspect of the environment.
  • Sophie received gifts that encouraged and extended her ability to explore and investigate the environment; both up-close with a slide-making kit, and from a distance with a telescope.
  • In school, she extended her interest by studying science and maths.

You’ll find that the experiences of Jane Goodall reiterate the importance of parental encouragement in developing positive attitudes to science. In fact, Goodall attributes her success to her mother, who she describes as ‘extraordinary’. Goodall says that she was born with an innate love of animals and that her mother always supported and encouraged it.

One of the first books that Jane bought with her own money was Tarzan of the Apes and, at just ten years of age, she began dreaming of going to Africa to live with animals and write books about them. Although others scoffed, her mother continued to encourage her, telling her that if she really wanted something, she’d have to work hard, take advantage of all opportunities and never give up.

I’m sure, whether educating at school or at home, you will find the words of Jane Goodall as inspirational as I did.


According to Goodall, the ingredients for making a young scientist are

‘curiosity, asking questions, not getting the right answer, deciding to find out for yourself, making mistakes, not giving up and learning patience.’

I’m sure you will agree they are all traits to encourage.

Attitudes and actions to foster children's interest in science

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    This may be a repeat comment – thanks for sharing this amazing video by Jane, and great resources and thoughts here, Norah. I’m sharing with my daughter, who is a 6th grade science teacher.

    I am quite happy for you to repeat yourself, Pam. It is a statement worth repeating. 🙂

    Jane Goodall is an amazing, intelligent and spiritual human being. She has so much to teach us. Thanks for sharing the video. I’m sharing with my daughter, who teaches 6th grade science. xo

    What a powerful tool for learning – for learners of all ages. I’m pleased you enjoyed it, Pam.

    I have met Jane Goodall and heard her speak. She is a lovely person and very motivational. She signed my book, To Darlene, Follow your heart! I treasure that. This was a great video.

    She’s a very special lady, I think. One of a kind. And very wise. How wonderful to meet her and have a book signed by her.

    I love your post. Excellent Jane Goodall’s video! Have never seen this angle to her story. I loved how her mother handled her early curiousity and love of animals!

    Thank you, Patricia. I found Jane Goodall’s story inspirational, both from a teacher’s and a parent’s point of view. As you know, I am a great advocate for early education and believe strongly in the power of attitudes formed when young. To have those ideas supported in such a convincing and eloquent way was so affirming. There is no mistake in her message. I couldn’t help myself. I had to share.

    I agree, Robbie. I quite often suggest cooking as a great activitiy with children. They learn so much from cooking, not the least of which is independence.

    Loved this. So true, we are products of our environments. How we’re raised indicates a lot of the direction we take in life. 🙂

Please share your thoughts. I love it when you do.

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