Asking questions to promote curiosity

This week we have another post from Jemma of Two Mums, Two Kids. Jemma is not only mummy to Squiblet, but also a teacher and in this post is talking about how asking questions can promote curiosity…


As a teacher, questioning is a really powerful tool that is actually really poorly used.  Teachers don’t usually wait long enough for responses and they used closed questions which limit the creativity of the students hey teach.  As parents, we aren’t concerned with a particular curriculum and don’t have 30 children to focus on so can use questioning in a much more exploratory way.

So when Squiblet asks me a question I usually throw it back at her:
“What do you think it is?” Not only is this fascinating as it gives you a real insight into the mind of a two year old, it’s also showing her that I value her ideas and opinions, and I don’t presume to know everything simply because I’m older than her.  Some really cool examples of this have been:
Squiblet: “what’s that?” pointing to the crust on her bread.
Me: “what do you think it is?”
Squiblet: “bread skin”
What a cool idea!

And I would tell her that that was a really cool idea because of x, y, z and then tell her what it was actually called.  But see how she’s using her brain and linking ideas rather than just becoming a vocabulary sponge.

Other cool questions to ask are “how do you think x is feeling?” when you are reading a story.  “Why do you think that is?” “Where do you think they are going?” There are all open questions to inspire imaginative, creative thinking rather than questions like “what colour is that?” which require a one word response and are purely testing knowledge.  This sort of questioning is great on bus journeys or train journeys as you can get really creative talking about the people and things you see.  You just have to try and do it quietly!  Although often when we do it, the passengers like to join in!

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