'What do you think about?'
I didn't have an answer, I stopped and looked at him. Not sure how to answer him. I said, 'I think about lots of things, I think about the past, present and future; I think about my family and my work, my students, the list is so long; I think all the time."
He looked at me, with wide wide eyes and said, "I knew you thought about us."
I smiled and said 'Yes, I think about all of you." He nodded and smiled. end of conversation.
The power of questions. That student doesn't know but his simple question has floated around in my head a lot since or conversation " What do you think about?'
We have those internal conversations ... the ones where we are trying to make sense of a situation, to reason pro's and con's; to justify decisions, or just to make choices. Conversations that no one else hears but that drive us to think constantly.
"What do you think about... really think about?'
I started to think more about the question, did I miss what he was really getting at? Maybe he was asking what my interests or passions were? Maybe what current affairs interest me? maybe it was simply a question that was looking for reassurance that students were part of my 'thinking'.
So what do we think about?
What do you think about?
By encouraging students to ask questions they provoke thinking and discussion, for themselves, each other and teachers. The more questions we ask the more opportunity we create to make connections, build links and foster a culture of wondering and inquiry.
The next level really is when our students are asking the questions, driving learning and taking opportunities to find out, develop understanding and share knowledge through conversation, debate and discussion. This is the point where students feel safe, empowered and are engaged as learners.
This is the point where teachers can engage with students, facilitating learning and provoking thought by asking questions, challenging ideas by sharing different perspectives and developing the understanding that learning is not 'done'.
Often the end point is another question.
" .... what do you think about?"