Anymore questions? Better ways to get your kids to open a dialogue

by | August 30, 2018

The younger years, from early toddler-hood through their first formative years of school, kids ask a lot. They ask on average a hundred questions a day. 

My children apparently are capable of blowing past that status quo and ask that many before breakfast is finished. Who makes the sky? What keeps the birds up there? Why is there a gate on the stairs? Why do I have to wear suncream? What are freckles? Exhaustion in our house usually hits around 7am, and the bedtime countdown begins.

But as they get older, the inquiries fade according to Michelle Woo of Lifehacker. For teachers, asking “Do you have any questions?” during a lesson becomes more of a formality than an earnest invitation into deeper exploration. The reason for this? Richard Saul Wurman, the original creator of the TED conference, narrows in on the educational system, saying, “In school, we’re rewarded for having the answer, not for asking a good question.”

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And that’s tragic. Asking questions is how we learn, how we evolve, how we end up creating things that hadn’t existed before. Thankfully, though, educators are making changes. In a tweet, a Louisiana math teacher named Andre Sasser shared that in her classrooms, she’s made a simple yet powerful tweak in her wording:

The usual, “Do you have any questions?” Sasser changed to “What ones do you have?” which saw an improvement, yet, then she upped the critical thinking and asked ‘Ask me two questions’, which changed the mindset. Now the children had to think of two, it was more focused, it wasn’t such a large daunting task.

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Doing this simple trick at home changes everyone’s perspective from having to come up with a magical number, to attaining that goal much easier. Two questions, we can all think of two simple questions on any subject at any given time, and so can your kids. Asking if they have ‘any questions’, leaves them having to review the entire conversation or lesson in its entirety at once. Having an environment that is welcoming to dialogue, setting the conversation on a rolling hill from the start.

Children are rewarded for sitting still and being quiet in their classrooms, and for good reason, they need to learn. It might also be the cause for why they stop asking questions so much, which I never want my children to give up that lust for life, or to think that not knowing the answer is a problem.

So when I get asked tomorrow morning on the way to school, why a road goes a certain way and what is the point of one-way roads for the 10th time this month. I’ll answer, and then tell her to think of one more question about roads that she doesn’t know.  

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Emma Williams

Associate Editor, USA | Contactable via emma@raisevegan.com

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Categories: Parenting, Toddlers
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