Asking Good Questions – Why We Need This More than Ever
Today, just two days after the election of Donald Trump, I am visiting a school to do some professional development with their staff. While I juggle the pain and hurt from this election, I find laser-focus and determined passion today as I prepare to speak with this group of young teachers.
We selected the topic of how to ask good questions when working with young children. How to engage with children in a model of education that uses inquiry as the vehicle as opposed to content. I can’t think of a better topic for us to address as a group.
I’m not sure what kind of political representation we will have in the group, and it doesn’t matter. I’m not going to attack Trump, his supporters, or anything like that. What I am going to attack is the continued refusal of our country to embrace critical thinking and intellectualism. I’m going to do this by talking about how we can engage with young children in their systems of thinking and promote something they already have inside them: the capacity to be curious, wonder, and research.
So why do I feel that we need this more than ever?
Because we need a better way to talk, and to understand each other. And we don’t get there unless we are asking good questions. We don’t get there unless we explicitly teach the power of questions and thinking generatively to young children.
It’s also apparent that we need a better way to talk about transformation and change. We want change, and we are deeply divided on how that change should occur. So I am going to invite these teachers to think about Paulo Freire’s concept of Critical Consciousness. We are either complicit in the oppression of each other, or we are active agents in the change, healing, and transformation of oppression.
Some will fight hard to deny oppression’s existence. And to them I offer a radical kind of love. I offer them my compassion. I hope they return it.
I’m excited to address this. Find your power, go exercise it. Be critical. Be conscious.