Knowledge Grows When Questions Flow

“Knowledge is produced in response to questions. And new knowledge results from the asking of new questions.”

Postman, Neil, and Charles Weingartner. Teaching As a Subversive Activity. New York: Dell Pub. Co, 1969, pg. 24)

At times, learning gets stuck. Teachers seek to create a vibrant learning space for students but very little learning happens. We give assignments and students may complete them but it still seems like students experiences aren’t transformed. The faucet on the flow of knowledge backs up. Why? How do teachers open up the flow of knowledge with certainty? Knowledge grows when questions flow.

Postman and Weingartner suggest that knowledge comes into existence when questions arrive. Inversely, knowledge hardens and no longer flows when questions stop.

How can teachers open up the flow of knowledge after the spout stops? Postman and Weingartner imply that learning requires questions. Therefore, the instruction must include question generation. New questions lead to new learnings, so instruct learners on how to ask questions.

How can you practice this in your classroom?
  • Choose an inspirational a quote and ask students to write five questions for it (
  • At the end of a lesson ask students to write five questions the lesson answered.
  • Ask students scripted and unscripted questions throughout the lesson.
  • Teach students about levels of questions and thinking see: https://www.baylor.edu/atl/doc.php/290827.pdf.
  • Facilitate a classroom discussion and ask students to generate three questions from the discussion.

Each of these cultivations will require some practice. If you try one out please let us know you how it goes. When learning stalls facilitate question generation.

What strategy do you use to generate questions with your students?

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