The Importance of Asking Questions to Promote Higher-Order Competencies
Irving Sigel devoted his life to the importance of asking questions. He believed, correctly, that the brain responds to questions in ways that we now describe as social, emotional, and cognitive development. Questions create the challenges that make us learn. The essence of Irv's perspective is that the way we ask questions fosters students' alternative and more complex representations of stories, events, and circumstances, and their ability to process the world in a wider range of ways, to create varying degrees of distance between themselves and the basis events in front of them, is a distinct advantage to learning. However, Irv found that schools often do not ask the range of questions children need to grow to their potential. In this column and the next, using the story of Goldilocks and The Three Bears, we can learn from Irv about how to improve our question asking so that students learn more from text and from the world around them.
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