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One of the best things about teaching is that children always challenge what we can do and how much we know as teachers. It’s their inherent curiosity and imagination that keeps them inquisitive about what we’re trying to help them learn.

Eric Schmidt, the CEO of Google, once said, “We run this company on questions, not answers.” Turns out, so much of great teaching is simply asking children questions so they respond and become in charge of their own learning. We never know what a child will conjure up and share unless we provide a question that allows for imagination, fosters reflection, pondering, and thinking aloud as an option rather than proposing a “correct” response.

 

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Just as we’re asking our children questions, we must also encourage them to ask us what’s on their mind. Asking questions improves critical thinking, enhances creativity and eliminates confusion. Asking questions about their assumptions and beliefs can help children understand who they are, how the world works and what their own unique contributions to others can be.

This process also helps build trust, and fosters parent-child, caregiver-child, and teacher-student relationships. Imagine a child who is able to engage with caring adults in a safe setting, exploring his curiosity, asking questions and pondering about life in general. And here are some tips on how to answer questions.

 

1. Acknowledge the speaker.
2. Listen fully before responding.
3. Don’t discount any question as silly.
4. Address all potential aspects of the question.
5. Request feedback and continue discussion.

 

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