What if we rewarded questions instead of answers?

While I have been interested in developing curiosity and creativity for a while, I have been very influenced lately by A More Beautiful Question by Warren Berger.

One of the things I have been pondering lately is that if the ability to question is an important skill for students to develop, how do we recognise those students leading the way? Schools regularly reward students who can provide great answers, how could we reward those who provide great questions?

Could this be how we unlock and develop the creativity and innovation in students? Provide something to strive towards.

I’m imagining school prizegivings where alongside the top sports people and top subject prize winners there are awards for the students who asked such amazing questions that it unlocked a whole new area of inquiry for them or fellow students.

School honour boards replaced (or to give people something to hold onto, perhaps alongside) by Question hall of fames. In fact these don’t have to be school-wide, you could implement this in your class straight away. It’s something I’m planning to do next term!

Or, go along the path that Meghan Cureton from Mount Vernon Presbyterian School in Atlanta has and create an honours programme for those questioners and innovators. Their Innovation Diploma is an incredibly inspiring programme that I am already bugging our Principal to consider how we could adapt this for our school (and we don’t even have final year students for 3 1/2 years yet!).

How else could we reward questions and questioners in our schools?

This post is Day 5 of my Questioning Quest.

My Questioning Quest

It’s time to set myself a challenge. I have been reading A More Beautiful Question by Warren Berger (which I highly recommend) and have been struck by the fact that to develop questioning in students we need to model how we use questioning.

I then read this great post by Bo Adams which asks some fantastic What If questions about school structures and systems. Inspired by this I started to think that I could emulate Philippa Nicoll Antipas100 Days of Learning by asking a question every day. Continue reading

Curiosity and Inspiration

Last night I bought, downloaded and read Can Computers Keep Secrets? How a Six-Year-Old’s Curiosity Could Change the World by Tom Barrett. Stemmed by all the questions his 6 year old son asks, Tom then delves into how we could maintain this natural curiosity that is with all youngsters but seems to disappear as we grow up.

I have long wondered at which point do we stop questioning the world like a 6 year old? When do we start to have more anxiety than curiosity?

Loc 176 of 489 on kindle Edition

These questions struck me as both an educator and a parent. Continue reading

Guide to Developing Good Questions

This question development guide was one first developed in a previous school which I have updated recently. The Word version of this is formatted nicely but this gives a good idea of how it works:

Brainstorm of your early ideas 

Questions/topics/areas/issues related to theme that you may be interested in developing further Continue reading

Passion, Persistance and Purpose

ICOT was easily the best conference that I have been part of. It provided a mass of ideas and thoughts in a good balance of keynote and breakout sessions. I met lots of great people that I had known only over twitter previously and also had great discussions with completely new people. Everyone of these discussions was a valuable addition to my week at the conference and many of these people have now become part of my wider personal learning network through twitter. There are a string of great comments and blogs coming out (see other blogs on these links by Karen, Matt  and Stephanie) but here is my final wrap up of the conference. Continue reading

Points to Ponder from ICOT Wednesday & Thursday

Some statements and questions to reflect on from the breakouts I attended at ICOT on Wednesday and Thursday

Rose Hipkins

Embodied thinking is intuitive, ‘rational’ decisions are usually after-the-fact justifications
How do you develop students’ intuitive thinking?
Thinking in the spaces between individuals or ideas is a more apt metaphor for the changes afforded by information technologies
We need to push past our urge to stick with people like us. Learn to love difference – then you will learn
Epistemic experiences are moments when we become conscious of something about our knowing

Martin Renton – In the Learning Pit

Moving from clarity to confusion is a positive step in the learning process
No such thing as a bad question. The important part is the reason for asking the question
Get comfortable with silence, it helps us process our thinking
How often do you question to confuse your students

Hana Olds

Active thinking is where creative, critical and caring thinking overlap
Do your inquiries allow for passion, persistence and purpose?
“I don’t want a project, I want something with a purpose”

Rich Allen

Don’t just think differently, act differently
Good teachers are always learning from their students
Lesson plans are hallucinations

Karen Melhuish Spencer

Social networks privilege the individual, online communities privilege the relationship
Do you use social networks to check or challenge your thinking?
What social network has the most effective impact on your teaching? How? Can you prove this?
As educators we are morally obliged to share our practice for the good of all students