“Great questioners “keep looking” — at a situation or a problem, at the ways people around them behave, at their own behaviors” (Berger, p 87). After reading this in Berger’s book this week, I did some observation of the students and myself in my classroom. I saw a disturbing, yet predictable, pattern emerge. The person asking the questions in the classroom is almost always me. Student questions are missing. They may ask out of necessity, but they don’t ask out of curiosity.
These observations were on my mind as I looked back over the questions I wrote last week during my five minutes of question quickfire. The more I looked at the questions, the more patterns I saw so I spent some time moving them around on a whiteboard organizing them in different ways and recorded my thought process as I did it.
One problem I ran into while organizing my questions was that I didn’t have any why questions. Berger says that the creative process can be divided into Why, What If, and How stages. “If What If is about imagining and How is about doing, the initial Why stage has to do with seeing and understanding” (page 75). During my video, I identify the questions that I feel at the most important, but they aren’t “Why” questions. To remedy this problem, I thought for a while about what I was really trying to get at by asking the original questions, and then I came up with the following “Why” questions to replace them.
I’m looking forward to seeing where these questions lead in my classroom. It is becoming increasingly clear to me that encouraging the students to start asking their own questions is in everyone’s best interest.
Berger, Warren. (2014). A more beautiful question: the power of inquiry to spark breakthrough ideas. New York, NY: Bloomsbury Publishing Plc.