8 ways to spark problem finders
FREE PDF: 8 Ways to Spark Problem Finders

 Questions should ignite learning. Curious kids never get bored. But why do young kids ask more than 100 questions a day and by middle school, they’ve stopped asking?

Recently when I talked with George Couros, author of the Innovator’s Mindset, he said,

“Do kids see problems and see themselves as solvers of those problems?”

Warren Berger, author of A More Beautiful Question came on my radar this past Monday, when Angela Maiers shared his book on #MatteringMonday.

As I looked at Warren’s blog, I found this conversation with Richard Saul Wurman, creator of the original TED talks:

“In school, we’re rewarded for having the answer, not for asking a good question,” Wurman pointed out. Which may explain why kids—who start off asking endless “why” and “what if” questions—gradually ask fewer and fewer of them as they progress through grade school. (emphasis mine)

In the Newsweek article, the Creativity Crisis, they grappled with why US creativity scores are declining and found,

Overwhelmed by curriculum standards, American teachers warn there’s no room in the day for a creativity class. Kids are fortunate if they get an art class once or twice a week. But to scientists, this is a non sequitur, borne out of what University of Georgia’s Mark Runco calls “art bias.” The age-old belief that the arts have a special claim to creativity is unfounded. When scholars gave creativity tasks to both engineering majors and music majors, their scores laid down on an identical spectrum, with the same high averages and standard deviations. Inside their brains, the same thing was happening—ideas were being generated and evaluated on the fly. (emphasis mine)

Quite simply, we have to help our students find questions. And asking questions belongs in EVERY SINGLE CLASS. Not just “art” class or “music” class but math and history and science and literature. ALL OF THEM.

We have to encourage students to ask novel, creative questions that they cannot answer on Google.

As Angela Maiers says, we also have to ask students questions that show that they matter.

The Questions We Must Ask

  • What if we as a human race and society are not defined by our answers but what kind of questions we ask?
  • What if the next time you show a video or have a reading assignment, you asked students to create one amazing question and turn it in?
  • What if curiosity, question asking, and question seeking became part of our daily classroom routine?
  • What would school look like then?

Feel Free to Take the 8 Ways to Spark Problem Finders and ask these questions.

I made this infographic accompanying George’s show mentioned in the opener, but I’ve started getting messages from principals and others who are printing it out and putting it in break rooms and even in bathroom stalls for teachers to see. I have been asked for the PDF as it is easier to print, and made it for you. I hope this will spark conversations not just on problem finders but also the questions we encourage students to ask.

We need to spark problem finders. We need to encourage students to ask questions.

Download the Problem Finders PDF

I Dare You to Share your Beautiful Questions, here, on Twitter and beyond. 


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