how ’bout them questions?

We made a decision!  I’m headed back to work part-time at the alternative high school.  Best part?  After crunching the numbers and realizing we had no option, my husband looked at me and said, “I would have told you that you should go back anyway.”  Why?  (I know you were thinking that, too.)  “Because I feel like the Lord has called you to work with those kids.”  Well, okay then!

So teaching in the public school setting is back on my mind and my Pinterest boards.  And I keep hearing/reading/experiencing stories of kids, we’ll say ages 3-30, being less independent these days.  When you stir those things up along with a couple of jigsaw puzzles and a handful of “Huh, Mommy?” moments, you get a blog post on the importance of asking high-quality questions.

The child’s question:  Where does this piece go?

Good response:  Well, where does this tiger’s eye go?

Better response:  What do you see on the corner of that piece?


The child’s question: Can I go get dressed now?

Good response:  Did you put your cereal bowl in the sink?

Better response:  Have you done everything you need to do here?

The child’s question: Whuhhhhh?

Good response:  Did you hear me say it’s time to get ready to go?

Better response:  How long do you think it will take you to be ready to go?

Spoiler alert… made-up word ahead. The point is to be two steps ahead of your questionee.  Don’t ask a yes or no question if you want mental independence.  You’re wasting precious time.  Don’t even ask a question with an obvious answer, unless you’re working with a 2 year old.  Ask the question just beyond that, and your questionee will usually answer both for himself.  If they can’t, step back with them and work through the progression.  The older a child gets, the further away you can step with your questions.

Whatever you do, don’t lecture all the time.  BOOOOOOOO, lectures.  You know you hate being lectured.  And don’t ruin the beauty and usefulness of questions by using them as a lecture.  I absolutely detest hearing teachers practically yell questions at students that aren’t expected to be answered.  You know you’ve seen an adult back a child up against a wall and say, “How many times do I have to tell you….?!”  That kid has just learned that they’re not responsible for answering your questions.  They’re just responsible for standing with their eyes on the floor.  We won’t go into all the other problems with that scenario today.

Asking good questions is an important part of a relationship.  When you’ve been listening well, you can ask a deeper question.  When you ask a deeper question, you can often see the heart behind the response.

Who doesn’t want to teach hearts as much as they want to teach minds?


6 thoughts on “how ’bout them questions?

    • Exactly! And yet, I was really writing this one for myself because I needed a refresher. My piano students were coming to mind a lot while writing, too – but my brain wasn’t caffeinated enough to write examples for lay people.

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