High 5 – 20 May 2016 by Mdm Foo Lee Lian
Habits of Mind – Questioning and Posing Questions
Why must we ask questions?
- Desire to push the boundary of knowledge and not just remember knowledge.
- Asking Question is essential to learning and spur change e.g. If Gautama Buddha did not ask the question on how to help others to avoid suffering, he wouldn’t have created the route to enlightenment.
- We need to be given the chance and be taught the skills to ask the right questions. Even if we ask a question that makes others laugh, we are only considered “a fool for five minutes, but we do not ask any question, we remain a fool forever.” Chinese proverb
Here in school we seek clarification, deepen understanding and engage in each other’s reasoning leading to greater collaboration and consolidation of discussion points. We learn to understand and appreciate diverse perspectives and use them to formulate own opinions and arguments. We also get feedback to review and improve. This process will continue as our life long education.
What if we don’t ask questions?
We will remain at the mercy of others. We will always at the receiving end waiting to be told what to do and how to do it. We are a follower/ a robot. We have no mind of our own and never go beyond what is given.
If we ask questions, we will know, understand and solve problems. We will go on to learn more things and skills. Our learning will never stop and our presence will be remembered like
Albert Einstein whom I quote “I have no special gift. I am only passionately curious.”
What did he do to continue & enjoy learning?
His answer: To raise new questions, new possibilities, to regard old problems from a new angle, requires creative imagination and marks real advances…..
When none asked why the apple fell from the tree, Einstein did and what see what happened?
- Most important of all is we are given the freedom to think as Innovative Thinkers who must ask good questions in order to progress. If we are to live elsewhere, we might not be able to think, allowed to think and ask questions. Let’s seize this golden opportunity to go beyond thinking and move another step to make inquiry by posing questions. If we don’t, others will, they give order and we follow.
In the animal kingdom, only we the human species has the power and ability to express our query verbally i.e. ask questions to improve and progress. Indira Gandhi considered the ability to ask good question, the basis of humanity.
What’s a Good question?
One that we care about and want to answer (curious about). It challenges us to explore, to venture out, to risk, to listen, to abandon our positions and then make positive changes to help others.
How to ask a good question is a skill we hope to develop as lifelong learners. We want to be aware of what we don’t know, and to look closely at the world to solve problems and find real answers.
1.Ask what we don’t know. Formulation of problems.
3.Find real answers through asking questions.
Asking the right question demonstrates the awareness of the problem which outlives all solutions. The answers are questions in disguise, every new answer gives rise to new questions.
“Asking a question is the simplest way of focusing thinking. Asking the right question may be the most important part of thinking.”
– Edward de Bono
4 Steps process to create good questions
1.Aware -Problematizing. – internalizes the issue and relates it to our life. We identify (raise) the issue, name it, frame it, and present it as a problem. This is called problematizing and the process calls into doubt a matter, previously taken for granted, as potentially problematic, which suggests the need for some form of action to deal with the matter. (Empathy leading to Definition as in Design Thinking Process)
2.Look for Evidence by considering and gathering information through different strategies such as observation, identification, research and description. (Inquiry)
E.g. • How do I know what’s true and false? • What evidence counts? • How sure can I be? • What makes it credible? • How do I know this? • Is this convincing evidence? • What more information do I need to understand this problem better or make this decision? • How can I prove my point? • Where is the proof?
3.Evaluation – Make sense out of the information by comparing your topic to other things that are similar, or contrast it with things that are different. If you change something…does something different happen?
As Innovative thinkers, we don’t just believe everything they hear. Before we decide how we feel about a situation, we make sure we hear, read and consider all different perspectives to avoid being biased. We imagine alternatives and their possible impact.
We ask questions like: • How else might this look like if we stepped into other shoes? • Can we look at it from a different direction? • Whose point of view is being left out? • How is our own experience limited here?
4.Application – See if you can apply our information in other situations. Can we make predictions? Or come up with a hypothesis? Can we imagine how something else works in the same way, or follows the same pattern?
Since Mother’s Day is just over and Father’s Day is coming in the 2nd Sunday of June, I would like to pose the following questions to all of you.
1.Why must we celebrate Mother’s/Father’s Day?
2.What do you think is the best Mother’s/Father’s day gift for your mum/dad?
3.When should you celebrate it? Must it be this Sunday( every second Sunday of May/June)?
4.Who started/ will benefit from this day of celebration?
5.Where can it be celebrated?
6.How should it be celebrated?
7.What do you think your mum/dad want?
Think, Ask, Answer and Ask again.
Wishing you a great weekend and a happy Vesak Day(Buddha) tomorrow. Why Vesak day?