What Did You Ask At School Today?

Nobel laureate Richard Feynman once reflected that his Cheap Pandora Jewelry Canada mother never asked him “What did you learn at school today?” but always queried, “What did you ask at school today?” Feynman acknowledges that this helped him build a scientific temper that fetched him a Nobel Prize in Physics when he was still in forties.

Learning need not be assessed only by answering question; asking the right questions is a useful tool in assessing conceptual clarity.

How to use questioning as a tool with your child?

Here are some tips.

  • Select a new chapter in any subject: science, social sciences, English, languages. Now, ask your child to set questions for that chapter without looking at the questions given at the end of the chapter. Could he/she come up with interesting multiple choice questions? A few questions demanding short or long write-ups?
  • If it is English or languages or even social science, could your Pandora Charms Canada child ask a few interesting questions that demand slightly long answers but importantly, cannot be answered even if a he/she were allowed to refer to the book during the exam? In other words, can he/she create a set of good questions which demand a dose of thinking and reasoning?
  • The skills called for in the increasingly popular open-books examinations, are refreshingly different: ability to apply information to new situations, analyze elements and relationships and make connections, evaluate using material as evidence, etc. These are useful skills to have as your child moves towards higher education and career.
  • Can your child ask different types of questions on the same content? This could help hone his/her logical reasoning and also place questions asked in the examination in context. For instance, get him/her to ask:

Closed Questions: Used to test if information collected is sufficient. (Describe the circumstances in which Mahatma Gandhi left for South Africa).

Open Questions: Used to build confidence, for appreciating differing views, to induce creative thinking. Any answer could be taken as correct, at least partially (What could Gandhi have done to retain Subhash Bose in Indian National Congress?).

Funnel Questions: Start with general questions, and then home in on specific points. Good tool for practicing for Group Discussions, Interviews. (According to you, which were the top three prominent world political movements that drew inspiration from Gandhi?)

Leading Questions: Goad the student or respondent to the examiner’s way of thinking. A big assumption is involved. (How can we restore the relevance of Gandhi to the modern Indian society?)

Finally, there are Rhetorical Questions which cannot be meaningfully answered beyond a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’. Avoid them except in rare circumstances. Rhetorical questions are great for beginning a conversation, engaging a listener, etc. (Wasn’t Mahatma Gandhi an extraordinarily creative leader?)

In short, questions are a powerful tool to assess conceptual clarity and to make sure that there is no misunderstanding or inadequate understanding.

Get your child to practice the art of asking great questions and watch him/her not just crack all kinds of tests well, but grow up to be a person with lifelong passion for learning.

Posted in Parenting

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