MYSTERY of Questions

Asking Questions as a tool


1. Open-ended questions that encourage personal response. The personal perspective of children is enacted in a social setting with a certain amount of risk-taking on the part of the respondent.

How do you create a supportive environment that allows for the risk taking inherent in self-expression?

What do YOU see in this picture?
(There is no "wrong" answer)

What do you see, that makes you say that?
(Additional details make sense)

Does any one else have an opinion?
(Interaction of ideas)

2. Connecting children to their own experience. These questions further learning by linking cognition with affect, drawing upon prior experience, verbal, kinesthetic, auditory and other sense memories.

Does this painting remind you of something you have experienced?

Looking at van Gogh's "Starry Night", I asked a 3 year old,
What does the wind sound like?

He, not only blew a loud howling sound, but leaned in to me, Real close, so I could feel the blow of his "wind" in my face.

Has anyone looked up at the stars at night? What did you See? Feel? Hear?

3. Develop a critical perspective that encourages children to voice their own comments while developing an appreciation for the perspectives of others.

How do you ask questions that encourage making sense of opposites?

How do you encourage children to observe similarities and differences?

Could anyone make a new "title" for this work that considers our ideas?

What do you learn from hearing and seeing many different viewpoints?

What are common details shared among comments?
(Shared elements)

4. Provide scaffolding for children's ability to make connections between concepts, and develop their capacity for abstract reasoning in the verbal and non-verbal modes. Consideration of these questions calls for imaginative leaps in thinking, and often involves locating commonality where non is apparent, and differences where only sameness is immediately visible.

How do you develop abstract reasoning?

How do you construct modal connections of questions between questions?

What is going on in this picture?

Describe who is "looking" in Chagall's "I and The Village"?

Describe the way in which know the "green man" sees the "animal"?

What does the dotted line suggest? Why two colors? Why red and white?

What does this say about the relationship of these two?

How do they relate to the village?

5. Help children develop language for articulating concepts through physicalizing their understanding of the work of art. Here, the connection is to develop activities that extend the learning by linking sensory experience to language.

How do you CREATE experience through questions? Questions that expand experience….

What do you learn about Andrew Wythe's, "Christina world" by getting into the pose of Christina ?

6. Ask children to draw upon their capacity to imagine the unknown. These questions encourage children to consider possibilities, and help them develop an appreciation of, and a tolerance for ambiguity. (An appreciation of the unknown … sensing new associations.)

What would you do if you could enter "Starry Night"?

Brainstorming ...

Using Questions as tools for learning

Moving beyond skills as an end, towards applying skills to a practice.

How do skills interact with tools and materials to reveal meaning.

Learning as a social enterprise.

Ways of communication.

Exploring the narrative aspects of a visual work of art.

Explore choices in techniques as options in meaning

Moving beyond craft, towards invention.

Practice method of..
Visual Literacy.

Describe... "WHAT" do you see?

Analyze... "HOW" does the artist present visual information?

Interpret... "WHY"?... What kind of meaning can you construct?

Work to Explore

van Gogh, Vincent (Dutch, 1853-1890),"The Starry Night"

Magritte, Rene (Belgian, 1898-1967), "Empire Of Light "

Boccioni, Umberto (Italian, 1882-1916), "The Cty Rises"

Reflect on the Big Picture:

What do multiple modes of learning offer to learning strategies?

What were the strategies and skills used?

How were these used to further communication?

How do you develop skill proficiency as an on going practice?

Why are the art forms (visual arts, music, theater or literary text) essential to skill development?

What role does "tool" use have on language development?

What does expression in multiple modes do language development?

Activities can develop connections in thinking by exploring and experimentation of materials.

What new questions does the activity provoke?

How do tools and materials influence the qualities of expression?

What does this workshop exploration say about the larger issue of learning and skill practice?

How do we move skills towards on going practice and invention?

How can we address learning strategies and skill development in education in such a way that connects them to an agenda of developing children’s ability to communicate and to understand others?