How should we foster question asking instead of answer getting?

What fosters any type of questioning?

What is the answer? Who actually knows the answer? What is the question? What’s for dinner? What's tomorrow's #AprilBlogaDay topic? What’s the silver bullet in education? Why do we have to learn this?

Curiosity is a response to an information gap: between what we know and what we want to know. - Ian Leslie in Curious

So much of a teacher’s time is spent trying to get students to care about the material. We do that by trying to make it relevant, interesting, entertaining, or important. Our enthusiasm doesn’t always work and it’s frustrating.

If I want my students to ask questions, I need to peak their curiosity about the material. Like a good movie trailer, it gives enough to get them interested but leaves key gaps.

One thing I can do more for my students is to get them to ask questions of themselves - from questions about their own learning and efforts to why a character in a novel would do such a thing.

The way to do that may not be by asking them questions. Instead, it may be by giving them more information - just enough to get them a little curious.


  1. I love this! One of the trends in education I am not a huge fan of is "I can" statements and other blatant explanations of what should be learned. I am instead a fan of discovery learning. How can students discover and be curious if we give them all of the answers ahead of time? With the answers, there is no need for questions. Student curiosity is key to both engagement and long term understandings. I love your analogy to a movie trailer.

    Thanks for sharing!

    1. Janelle,

      Thanks for your encouraging words. I totally agree that it's so important that students actively seek what they want to learn in order for them to actually learn. Way more productive (and interesting) for them in the long run.



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