Sunday, May 3, 2015

How we ask questions is important too (99)

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Asking the right questions is obviously important.

At the same time, though, how we ask those 'right' questions is also important...

For example, read the three questions below...

  • "Don't you think we should go ahead and make the change?"
  • "Do you think we should wait any longer than we already have?"
  • "Can anyone think of a good reason not to buy that book?"
In all three questions above we are making it known what we believe. In the first question, we clearly think we should go ahead and make the change. In the second question, we clearly think we shouldn't wait any longer. In the final and third question, we have already decided to buy the book.

We all do it. We ask leading questions. Or we ask limiting questions. Or we ask questions that assume a certain answer like in the three examples above.

What if instead we asked these three questions?

  • "What do you think we should do about the change we are discussing?"
  • "The team has already met twice to discuss this issue. What do you think we should do now?"
  • "What do you think is the best way to learn the information that's in the book?"
By slightly changing the way we ask our questions, we leave room and space for a variety of responses. It's this space that leads to truthful discussion and conversation without limitation.

Also, try and avoid 'either/or' questions...

When we ask 'either/or' questions we limit the response to either one answer or another, without any flexibility or deviation.

Instead, just state the problem. Then ask "What do you think?" Or "What would you do?" Or "How should we handle this?"

As educators, we ask lots of questions every single day. Let's be aware of how we are asking those questions and figure out ways to push our kids in their thinking. Let's focus on asking questions that allow our kids the flexibility and freedom to let their thinking take them wherever it may lead...

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