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Encouraging Enquiry

Updated: 1 day ago

Why does the sun go on shining?

Do you remember asking your parents why the sun shone in the morning? Or why grandma’s part of the world was still night whilst you were in daylight?

These little (albeit rather annoying for our parents when we didn’t stop) questions, are the foundation to building inquiry and critical thinking.

As a parent and teacher, I have come to truly appreciate the importance of “Why?”. Think about those niggly questions: “Why am I not taller?”, “Why wasn’t he punished for being rude?” or “Why can’t I have more candy?”

Building Blocks to Deep Learning

Most of the time, we wouldn’t have consciously taught little Zoë or Zach to construct questions, but curiosity is a natural element of the brain’s development. The brain is thirsty to learn and make its own connections. These are little Zoë’s and Zach’s first foray into developing deeper thinking and finding causation. Building upon one’s knowledge is the first level of learning on Bloom’s Taxonomy. Once children have comprehended the answer, it doesn’t take them long to apply what they’ve learnt (and mostly to their advantage!) (Dr Benjamin Bloom, American psychologist, 1913-1999)

I hear you. So you’ve answered little Mary’s question but it’s followed by another “Why?” and another and another. Well, if it’s any comfort, the great scientists and philosophers of our time never stopped thinking of “Why?” and “How?”. One thing I’ve learnt with working with children – they look up to adults for all the answers but they’re also kind and understanding if we were to tell them that we don’t necessarily know everything.

Research-savvy Inquirer

In this fantastic age of technology, searching for facts online is a great tool to support inquisitive minds. The time spent together searching online shows your child how much you value discovery. Slip in a few sentences on how to do a search and/or about Internet safety, and you are nurturing a research-savvy inquirer.

Translating the 'why' into our lives

I find that “Why?” is central to my teaching and curriculum development process. It infiltrates every part of my lesson planning, material development, teaching methodology, class management and feedback, and finally my post-teaching reflection.

And in my journey as an educator, I would very much like to continue to not only improve on my pedagogy but also as an individual who listens, supports and facilitates learning.

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