Any Questions?

I have always believed that I am terrible at asking questions.  Yet I’ve had many people tell me that I’m great at it – that I ask interesting, thorough questions; even that it was the best interview they’ve ever had.

So where’s the disconnect?

I think – and I realized this in class today – that it’s all about my goal. When I’m working, I gather information with a very specific purpose in mind, whether I’m writing a speech or a profile or an essay. It’s a purpose outside myself and that somehow makes asking questions “okay” for me.

Outside a professional setting – when I’m meeting someone socially, for instance – I generally don’t have such a clear purpose, so I’ll come away from the meeting lacking key bits of information that seem obvious to others. “Where did she grow up?” I don’t know. “Where does he work?” Sorry, forgot to ask. Actually, I’ve gotten better at this over time but it’s still a very mechanical process for me – almost a checklist I go through in my mind.

I had assumed that my (self-perceived) question-asking deficit was going to be an issue for me as I learned to be a trainer.  I mean, sooner or later you have to stop lecturing and ask a question.  How would I know what to ask, and when?

So I approached the Constructivist theory of education with extreme caution: drawing the knowledge out of one’s students cannot be accomplished via a lecture, after all. Questioning – by all participants – is integral to the process.

And yet, when we did a brief teaching exercise in class today, I heard my voice advocating that my group teach in a Constructivist style. And as if that weren’t strange enough, I actually formulated some of the key questions we would ask. Wouldn’t ya know, it was fun.  Not only that, but the class seemed engaged (even in the very banal task we were assigned to teach).

That’s why I grabbed a Constructivist for my final presentation. No doubt in my mind that this is a theory I need to learn more about.  If I can find the joy in asking questions and watching my class create the answers…well, that will be positively Transformational for me.

What theories of education are you drawn to? And why?

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