It is not the answer that enlightens, but the question.
As I travel across the United States and Canada, I’m often reminded of how fortunate I am as an educator to have the variety of learning experiences I get to enjoy. While I’m often in the position of facilitating the learning of others or giving a keynote address, I take every opportunity to learn from the educators I’m working with. And a lot of the learning happens in the questions posed – both to me and to their peers as the collaborative efforts continue. The quote from Romanian playwright Eugene Ionesco resonates for that reason.
Oftentimes the questions posed cause us to move out of our comfort zone and stretch our thinking. If that’s attached to presuming positive intention on the part of the questioner (they are asking out of a gap in their knowledge, not to embarrass someone), the exercise becomes even more powerful. Context is important in all of the work we do – and it can also be a curse if it serves as a limitation to one’s knowledge. I know what I know and it’s familiar ground. Having others enlighten me with what they know is always appreciated especially when it’s delivered with the intention to build bridges over the knowledge gaps we all possess.
Questions are powerful tools. They can ignite hope and lead to new insights. Questions are a great way to stimulate thinking. In our profession there are variables that sometimes seem so overwhelming that they limit our thinking and preclude achieving solutions. Reframing these situations as questions is an excellent way to instantly change the way we feel and to work towards achieving a solution. All because someone asked a question that got others thinking about the challenge in a different way.
Thanks for all of the questions. Keep them coming!