My Dad has this parable he enjoys relaying about how his superiors are often flabbergasted at his knowledge and inner workings of mechanics, engineering, politics, world events, and a plethora of other topics. These pearls of wisdom come at the expense of the other person when they are unable to do a mathematical calculation or find the answer to a seemingly simple question, but they are pearls, nonetheless. His punchline is always the same: “If they don’t believe me, I tell them they can go Google it for themselves.” For my Dad, this is code for something resembling far less tact.
As an educator, I get asked plenty of questions. These usually revolve around mundane, protocol objectives, such as “When is this due?”, “Do we have to do this?”, “Is this for a grade?”, “Are you going to count off for spelling?”, and “Do we have to write in complete sentences?”. The sad state of things is that I usually posit more questions to my students than I get asked. Let me rephrase that: I posit more questions of substance to my students than I get asked in return.
The purpose of this “Discover Challenge” is to dissect and explore a time when we were asked a question where we had to weigh the options of how we would answer. As I sat down ready to whet my appetite surrounding tough discussions, I realized it’s been a long time since I’ve had one. Perhaps I’m in an echo chamber and everyone I converse with has similar beliefs. However, in my experience it’s not so much the echo chamber affecting the complexity of questions asked but that the art of asking a good question is disappearing, and with it, the ability to think critically and use empathy to formulate a response is slipping away.
The one question I’ve been stumped to find a reasonable and innovative solution to is “how do I make my English class more beneficial for my students?”. I believe I have found my answer. It wasn’t one I could Google though I did search for lesson ideas and discussion techniques. In an age where finding information, both factual and half-baked, is basically implanted into us at youth, we need to focus on how to ask questions that require empathy and conversation to answer and not the Internet to “just Google it”.