Ten Thousand Questions A Day

The secret to learning is asking questions. Students should train themselves to ask ten thousand questions a day, I model this for them by answering all of their questions with questions. “What are we doing today, Mr. Newhart?”
“I don’t know. What are we doing today?” I reply.
“Should we read the next chapter or are we still talking about this one?”
“Should we read the next chapter?” I ask. “Or should we talk about this one?”
Pretty quickly the students realize that the best questions elicit more questions and that those who want easy answers are not learning or adventuring through a learning experience, but are merely shutting out possibility and short-circuiting the thinking process.
Recently I gave a test to see if my students had read Book One of Homer’s Odyssey and the students answered with challenging questions of their own.
“Who is Telemachus?” I asked on the test.
“Who IS Telemachus?” they wrote back. “Do we really know? And does Telemachus really know who he is?”
My students have begun to think. I am so proud!

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