When a person imagines children and questions, they are likely picturing the oft-used ‘but why?” However one may feel about that repeated question, the simple truth is that asking questions is a healthy way for children to learn.
According to experts, a good question can help a child learn in more than one way. It can shift perspective, open their minds to new ideas, and force creative thinking – both for the person asking and the person answering the question.
As such, children need to have an open environment that encourages the asking of questions. Unfortunately, children do typically ask fewer questions as they grow older, so it is up to parents and teachers alike to continue to encourage these question asking behaviors.
Encourage Natural Curiosity
A classroom that encourages natural curiosity is more likely to be full of students who feel confident in asking questions. Teachers can help to build this environment through several different means.
Teachers should choose subjects that will inspire students and their curiosity. Additionally, they should always be willing to encourage students to ask questions through writing and other thought-provoking activities.
There are certain novels out there that just beg for questions to be asked. These books are perfect for assigning to students, as they will encourage them to ask even more questions in the classroom. They make for even better discussions among students, teachers, and parents.
One of the simplest ways to encourage children to ask questions is by rewarding them when they do so. So when a child asks a question, reward that behavior! Answer their question (if possible), but also encourage and celebrate the behavior behind the question itself.
Create Alternative Avenues
Sometimes children and students are simply too shy to ask the questions on their minds. One way to help circumvent this is by providing them with opportunities to ask their questions anonymously.
A teacher can easily leave a stack of sticky notes around, letting students write down and submit their questions without anybody being aware of what is happening. Later, the teacher can go through the questions and provide answers.
The Question Game
The Question Game is the perfect tool for parents and teachers alike. It turns questions into a game and becomes an easy way to encourage children. It’s simple: a child rolls a six-sided dice, which has the beginning of a question on it: How, if, why, etc.