Sunday, April 13, 2014

Quote-A-Day: Day 103

There are no stupid questions. Every inquiry is a lode waiting to be mined.

There are truly no stupid questions.

Any question asked, regardless of how abstract, or concrete, is a potential pathway to explore.  The more questions that get asked, the greater the potential everyone has to learn something.

And that is very important.

Whether as a leader or a learner, any question asked has a benefit.  Sometimes it is in the answer that is given.  At other points, it is in the question we ask (or pursue) in response.  The greatest gift a question gives is the potential to find out something new.

And yet, even when we say "There are no stupid questions" our actions betray our words.  We can get frustrated with learners who ask question after question, and we can appear flummoxed by the inquiry that doesn't make sense or the request to repeat what was just said.

What's interesting, though, is that these three examples actually show how powerful questions can be (rather than detracting from their intelligence).  For instance, the learner who keeps inquiring may simply be ready to explore a topic deeper; it falls on us to differentiate experiences well enough for all learners to feel intellectually satisfied.  The question that doesn't make sense provides us with data that the learner asking it may have missed an important point, or may be struggling with aspects of the "second curriculum," and contact with parents or a guardian may be warranted.  For the learner who requests repetition, it may be that our framing of the idea wasn't compatible with learning style, or the learner wants to hear the idea again to reflect on it from another perspective, or maybe the learner just wasn't paying attention.

Every question asked, whether "on topic" or not, provides data that is topical, and data that can't be ignored.  Rather than worrying about whether learners are asking the "right" questions, we should instead embrace all questioning, as it provides us with the truly right measure of where those we work with really are.

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