Children naturally ask ‘why does…?’, ‘how come…?’, ‘what’s the point of…?’, sometimes filling in the blanks in alarming ways. Getting answers to these questions is one of the best ways they learn. However, we want to teach our students that such answers are not the end of the story and that true learning will come only if they pursue their own enquiries further.
Students need to be able to ask specific questions in lessons, to clarify topics and improve their own understanding and so we teach practical questioning skills as part of our speaking curriculum. We can also help them to structure their thinking so that their questions yield the most useful answers.
But students also need to learn ‘questioning’ in a deeper and wider sense – learning to be continually curious as well as sceptical of existing knowledge. They need to be highly creative in order to do this, imagining problems they are unable to solve and asking themselves how they can start to find a solution. A powerful imagination is crucial to doing well in every discipline, even or especially the non-humanities.
The Six Attributes