I have always loved questions. At times, I remember people telling me to stop asking so many questions. Sometimes people seem to fear questions because they worry that they are being questioned. Instead, the process or desired product are the subject of my questions. As a mother, I have to admit that hearing "why" for the sixth time in a row from my two year old can have a grating effect. Yet, I do know that my daughter truly wonders. Shouldn't we encourage as much wonder as possible in our students?
These days it is so easy to access information. It is crucial, then, that we model to students and teach them how to develop questions. Information alone can have limited value. If, and when, students learn to develop questions, they learn to burrow down for deeper meaning, regardless of the topic. A recent article in the Harvard Education Review focused on the importance of Teaching Students how to ask their own questions. The article includes one method for teaching how to develop questions. We can model other methods, too.
Learning how to develop thoughtful questions can help with innovation and more creative problem-solving. Students should not be satisfied simply with answers but, with the creation of new approaches and new experiences. To create, we must wonder and ask "how", "why", "what if." As pointed out in Learning in a Digital Age, there is "a need to promote creative approaches to learning. How do we prepare students for work that hasn't been invented yet? .... Our global environmental, economic and social challenges require non-standardized skills such as creativity, problem-solving and collaboration. Accordingly, these are becoming indispensable skills for learners and workers who hope to stay at the innovative edge of today and tomorrow." Memorization or regurgitation of facts do not move us forward. Questions do. Questions drive possibilities. Don't they?