Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Did I ask a good question today?

As an educator, one needs to always be prepared with a good question. As a student, one needs to always be prepared with an it right, wrong or indifferent. (saying "I don't know" can be interpreted as a response, too) As a youngster in the classroom, the questions asked of me were usually literal in nature...simply answer yes or no, true or false, provide a date, name two individuals, identify the country, etc, etc.... Never did the teacher say "tell me about whether you believe our country is right or wrong about fighting in Vietnam," or "explain to me why 18-year-olds should be allowed to vote." That would have opened the door to controversy....and a lively discussion of feelings, attitudes, perceptions, and justifying of choices. You never want to let that genie out of the bottle! (...or do you?)
We've come a long ways in the past fifty years, and the process of good questioning does promote good literacy amongst people of all ages. Good questioning results in students learning how to think, relect and in turn, inquire further with more questions. And once the flood gates are opened up, look out below....
Perhaps some of the problems we're dealing with today are the direct result of when past generations asked questions with that narrow perspective which too often required the lowest level of basic skills in their response and autonomous learning. So tomorrow, and everyday hereafter, I'll begin every good conversation with a good question. One which will provoke thought and deepen my understanding for others.

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