As a parent of 2 teenagers, through the years I have often found myself falling into the trap of asking the same predictable questions when they got home from school, usually starting with What did you learn today? So when I came across this blog Stop Asking Children These Seven Questions (and Ask These Instead), I couldn’t help but read it.
As we focus this month on the habit of being a learner and the disposition of curiosity, we need to think about the way that we question as well. How can we spark this habit and disposition in those we engage with? Ozan Varol, author of the blog linked above, shares this about the first question on his list of seven:
“What did you learn today?” vs. “What did you disagree with today?”
The cliche question “What did you learn in school today?” reinforces the traditional conception of education: Put your mouth on the spigot of knowledge. Drink deeply and regurgitate it on demand.
Here’s the thing: A willingness to question knowledge is far more important than the ability to receive and retain it. Important dates in the Civil War and the capitals of the fifty states will all be forgotten soon enough. Once ingrained, however, the ability to challenge the status quo and to question confident claims—whatever their source—will remain.
Love this approach to learning! Try it with your own kids, or better yet, set up your classrooms so this kind of engagement is possible and students are thriving!