Questioning is essential to learning, but we rarely teach how to do it well.
The problem today isn’t that we don’t have the answers, but we don’t have the questions.
— Marshall McLuhan
Warren Berger, author of A More Beautiful Question, says kids ask an average of 40,000 questions between the ages of 2 and 5. But somewhere along the way, especially when we start going to school, we stop publicly asking questions.
Questioning is critical to learning and solving problems. This makes it surprising that, for the most part, we still don’t actively encourage questioning or teach it to young people. Though much of a workday, school day or a day in the life is spent asking questions, unless you are preparing for a career in law, medicine or journalism, where questioning is your work, it’s rare that this skill is actually taught in classrooms.
In schools, you are judged by how well you answer questions, but in life, you’re judged by how good your questions are.
The Big Idea
- process the material more deeply,
- consider it in new contexts,
- generate additional memory traces that aid retention.
And people who ask questions, in particular,
- make a better first impression than those who don’t,
- help others feel heard and respected, and
- are seen as better communicators and connectors.
With this information, are we doing a good job of preparing students for a world where questioning is a survival skill? Questions bring us growth. More here.