Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Asking Questions

"Asking questions is healthy. It enables us to clarify doubts and gain new information. Many people have similar questions, and asking our questions is generally appreciated by fellow students who were too shy to ask!

... holding questions [and] finding answers: Seeking one correct answer often comes from a wish to make life--which is basically fluid--into something certain and fixed. This often leads to rigidity, close-mindedness, and intolerance.

On the other hand, holding a question--exploring its many facets over time--puts us in touch with the mystery of life."

-from Buddhism for Beginners by Thubten Chodron

I was drawn to this quote because I like to ask questions. Quite often I'm more comfortable asking questions than offering an opinion.

This quote reminded me of the traditional classroom, where, unfortunately, students and teachers are not often encouraged to ask questions, but instead are told what they are going to learn (or teach) and how to learn (or teach) it.

It is the same idea of the teacher as a guide on the side (probing and asking questions) instead of the sage on the stage (giving answers).

In The School and Society John Dewey reminds us,

"True, reflective attention...always involves judging, reasoning, deliberation; it means that the child has a question of his own and is actively engaged in seeking and selecting relevant material with which to answer it."

In other words, none of us will learn anything unless we begin with a question.

1 comment:

  1. I remember always wanting to ask this question while I was in school, especially in Math class, "Why am I learning this?" "How am I going to use this and when am I going to use this?" When my son asks me this question all I can come up with for him is, "Math is good for your brain, it is liking working a puzzle." I am a nurse and I have used all my years of advance Math a very few times in my profession. I think I wasted many years and many tears on Math class.