Asking the Right Questions

Are you someone who likes to ponder? Think about both sides of an issue? Wonder why something has occurred? Don’t we all?

Then why don’t we ask this of our students? Why do we tend toward direct instruction so much of the time? True, if learning content is our goal, direct instruction is faster, more efficient. But if we want to help students become thinkers, independent learners, and creative participants in society, then asking questions is a better model.

Ewan McIntosh shares his thoughts on a system, where “content isn’t king” but students are encouraged to “interact around content.”

To me, effective teaching and learning comes down to asking the right questions. I read a post on The Eloquent Woman this morning, which listed suggested questions for good panel members. These same questions are great places to start with students:

What if?

Why not?

How is this like?

How is this different?

What makes you wonder?

Learners must know how to think and reflect, and for teachers it starts with the right questions.

Judge a man by his questions rather than his answers.Voltaire

image credit: by Oberazzi

4 thoughts on “Asking the Right Questions

  1. Thanks for the mention. I also think questioning is important, in fact, the underpinning that enables a student-led curriculum to take place. In the (mega-large) post just before the one you cite I point to some interesting frameworks that have proven useful in elementary and high schools for helping teachers work out how to frame questions at each stage of that student-led journey:

  2. Ewan, your series of posts on this has been outstanding. Thanks for reminding me.

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