Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Learning to Question to Wonder to Learn (Book)

Why question? Why bother? Isn’t thinking enough? What’s the difference, anyway? Isn’t questioning and thinking part and parcel of the same whole? Pg. 1

The first paragraph of this book immediately starts modeling the practice of questioning. The book is full of easily understandable thought provoking quotes on thinking and questioning such as:
1-“At worst, thinking can resemble a cow chewing its cud.” Pg. 2
2-“Questioning is to thinking as yeast is to bread making. Unleavened bread is flat, hard and unyielding. Unleavened thinking is uninspired.” Pg. 7
3-“Questioning is central to learning, growing and acting. An unquestioning mind is condemned to ‘feeding’ on the ideas and solutions of others. An unquestioning mind may have little defense against the data smog (Shenk, 1997) so typical of life in this information age. An unquestioning mind is too much like a rudderless sloop swept along by storm swelled currents.” Pg.15

At least 10 different types of questions (Essential, Irreverent, Irrelevant, Inventive, Hypothetical, Probing, Divergent, Provocative, Unanswerable, Subsidiary ) are eloquently defined. The reader is provided concrete examples to help their understanding. Reading this book is like attending one of those “just in time” workshops that send you home with a toolbox of new techniques to try on your students first thing Monday morning. Don’t question yourself on this one, check it out! It would be a great professional book group study for any building!