Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Playing with questions

As the world rapidly changes, parents and educators are in a constant process of examining what skills children need for their future success.  It feels ever more important that we get it right.

Last spring, we gathered a group of scientists and college professors to pick their brains about this topic.  The skill that they felt was most important - and they were adamant about this - was the ability to ask good questions. Without a questioning mind, they asked, how can people bring passion, energy, or innovation to their work?

I just read two great articles - one about how to best educate preschoolers and the other about teaching kids how to ask questions and I think they both are spot on.

The first article is about Erika Christakis and her new book, The Importance of Being Little: What Preschoolers Really Need From Grownups.  Erika's main thesis is that play is how children learn and we desperately need to make it the centerpiece of their school and home lives.  I am so gratified that the education we  have here at Parker is steeped in rich, complex play experiences.

The second article talks about Warren Berger's book, A More Beautiful Question.  He suggests that questioning is a highly valued skill in today's innovation based work world, and is essential for an informed citizenry.  "We want children's questions to be large and expanded instead of being diminished and eventually going away," Berger says.

I was interviewed by two Parker middle school kids yesterday and we got talking about the importance of questions, play and hands-on learning.  They had terrific questions for me, and expressed how much they valued exploring through hands-on experiences as a way to learn, especially in science class.

So, check out these articles, play around with the ideas, and send me any questions you have.

No comments: