So I’m attending the VAEYC conference once again, and our keynote was about the power of questions. Dr. Lindsey Godwin from the Appreciative Inquiry Center, an internationally renowned speaker and author, shared her work and perspective on questions.
Did you ever notice that we, as adults, often get annoyed by kids asking us questions? We are busy, and it takes time and energy to stop and explain things, and quite honestly, why is it important to answer a “silly” question that isn’t important to us?
Well, it’s valuable to respond so to encourage more questions. Why on earth would we want to do that? To cultivate creative thinkers, problem solvers, innovators, and open minds! Dr. Godwin states, “As children, we get messages from adults that they want answers, not questions.” And she’s right, we are always asking kids to tell us things, when we should really invite them to find their own answers by asking more questions.
Dr. Godwin has two lessons for us to take back to our classrooms:
1. Inquiry is intervention. Inquiry leads to change. Our questions set the stage for what we find, they determine what we pay attention to, and ultimately the direction of what comes next, whether it is curriculum plans and activities, or your next fundraiser or parent meeting. Inquiry has the power to inform and shape opportunities for all of us.
2. What we ask about “grows”. If you ask a question based on a deficit, that will be the focus. Instead, shift focus from your biggest challenge to your most unique assets to “magnify and learn from moments of highest engagement and enthusiasm.”
This is how we accelerate the positive changes that we need to grow and learn, and ultimately how we grow the curious minds of the youngest members of our communities.