"The art and science of asking questions is the source of all knowledge." -Thomas Berger
Who, what, when, where, how, why? Do you remember those words in school that kept coming up over and over again in our books? The questions that some kids felt so pressured to answer, when in fact...finding the answer is sometimes less important than just thinking about the questions and possible outcomes?
I work at a preschool where we focus a lot on the children’s interests. Teachers work together to help children live their dreams through projects which are interest based. To do this, we ask a lot of questions to the children. Whether they have the answers or not, it doesn’t matter. It’s just planting the seeds of thought and provocation. For example, when a group of children are building a tower with blocks, we may ask: “Who lives in the tower?” “What other materials could you use to make the tower taller?” These same sort of questions can be used daily in our lives in order for us to reach our goals and be better at whatever we are doing.
Today, while I was flying back home from Texas to California on a Southwest flight, I grabbed the latest Southwest magazine and started reading an article about Van Phillips, an American inventor of prosthetics. The article conveyed the same message that we believe in at our school-the beauty of questions. Van Phillips was an amputee and though he was alright about losing his lower leg, he was not ok with the satisfaction of the prosthetic that was put into place. By asking questions and more questions, he was able to invent a prosthetic that would change the world!
So, why ask questions? For one, when we ask questions, we learn more about people and the world around us. What kind of questions should we be asking? By golly, ask open-ended questions! For example, we could ask someone:
- What else can we do with this ________________?
- What do you think would happen if______________?
- Is there another way to _____________?
- Why is this happening?
- Tell me about __________?
- Who could help us with this or who could this help/benefit?
Questions encourage teamwork and cooperation. Questions join forces and promote more curiosity and questions. By asking questions we learn about how our children feel and what they think.
What is your mission today? Ask 2 people 2 good questions. Try asking both children and adults questions and see what they say. Remember, some of the world's craziest and greatest inventions began with a beautiful question.
"Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers." -Voltaire