“The important thing is not to stop questioning; curiosity has its own reason for existing.” Albert Einstein
The mind that’s preoccupied with questions and that asks questions is in constant search for answers. Answers are solutions to problems and with every solution, there is value added. We can ask questions on a particular issue till we exhaust questions and then we cease from exploring in that terrain because we have the answers at least for the time.
However, we may not lock the door permanently because disruption, the result of a craving for improvement powered by the strength of creativity for innovation, can happen anytime.
The curious mind is a compatible ally with questions and there are always questions on the inside craving answers. In this might, the search for meaning is locked and within same shall the value of meaning be unlocked.
The curious mind seeks; the curious mind is fastidious; the curious mind is restless seeking the “why” behind things; in search for better ways of doing the same things.
Imagination is at the core of the mode of operation of curiosity as imagination is like the shadow cast by curiosity or vice versa. Both are two sides of the same coin.
Questioning is compatible with some specifics:
Listening hard has to do with listening for the purpose of learning; not to respond. Thus, one is expected to have one’s mouth shut and deactivate every other sense to allow for information processing helping one understand what they’re hearing. It’s not the time to either write or speak though taking notes could help.
It’s however very important that if we ask questions we must exercise the discipline to close our mouths while response is being given. In a private conversation, listening can come with intermittent pauses with questions to help clarify learning simultaneously.
The Exercise of Patience
Patience is a key trait that must be exercised during the process of listening for response to your questions or to the questions of others. It is a discipline that must be observed otherwise learning would not take place. Its demand is known only to the very few who have discovered it.
Now, questioning is a great skill that needs honing because asking the right questions leads to opening tremendous doors of great resource and discoveries that could lead to innovation. It’s creativity.
The “How” of Questioning
Managing Arguments: The process of questioning may spiral into dirty arguments and such situations can be avoided by the effective handling of the process.
Prodding is the key to avoiding arguments. What’s prodding? Prodding is a variant of questioning which suggests that someone indirectly extracts answers from another. It’s most effective for a range of learners.
Prepare Questions Adequately: Results-oriented questions should not be a spur of the moment thing. They must have been prepared ahead of time; they must have been envisaged via introspection and musing. These meditative engagements help to achieve great impact where questioning for delivery is concerned.
Ask Questions to Achieve Specifics: While there may not be one specific answer to a question, especially that there are no wrong answers and questions may evoke different perspectives, it is essential that questions be tailored towards a specific goal or solution.
Ask Questions to Spark Creativity: Questions must lead to creative thinking so that learners are better engaged to develop their creative quotient which would lead to innovation and disruption for advancement. We may therefore avoid questions that may seek to make a mess of the thinking faculty. For instance what’s the difference between these two question models:
a. The tallest building in the world is in the U.A.E; isn’t it?
b. Of what benefit to the world or to the people of the U.A.E. is the Burj Khalifa?
You should avoid using rhetorical questions like [a] above; and limit same to debates because they don’t give room to thinking as their answers are obvious.
The [b] question however would lead to other questions: What’s the Burj Khalifa? Where is it situated? What’s so special about it? Why should the people of the world bother about it? Who are the people of the UAE? etcetera…
By the time these questions are answered, much learning would have taken place; the horizon of learners would have expanded and there may have been created a thirst for tourism.
Ask Questions that lead to other questions and would generate thought provoking discourse among learners. These are what impact based questions should seek to achieve in learners regardless of class or status. The idea is to achieve improvement and growth of the human essence at opportune and even inopportune periods.
Questions are tools to drive engagements and remove doubts from the minds of others; thus leaving people better than we met them.
Michael Marquardt said: “Questions wake people up. They prompt new ideas. They show people new places, new ways of doing things.”
If your questions won’t do some or all of these, do not ask them. If questions have the power to achieve these, then how and what should your questions be like? How should you prepare your questions before you ask them?
The Art of Questioning is a skill to access learning and attain enduring legacies. Hone it!