December 2022 Edition
THE ART OF ENGAGEMENT
When talking to a child, why do we often ask questions that we already know the answer to?
“The objective of education is to increase possibilities for the child to invent and discover.” (Malaguzzi, The Hundred Languages of Children)
Using the appropriate questions/prompts is crucial to sustaining curiosity at a high level. In addition, we can all agree that curiosity leads to learning.
Here are a few examples on how we can tweak our questioning/prompting in order to change the conversation to a much deeper and engaging one:
When painting a picture…
Instead of “What color is that?” say, “Tell me about your picture.”.
When looking at a bug outside…
Instead of “What is the name of that insect?” ask, “Look! Where do you think that caterpillar is taking the leaf!”.
When building a tower…
Instead of “How many blocks are there?” say, “That tower is tall! I wonder how tall it can get before it falls.”.
When looking at a child’s error in addition…
Instead of “Is 5+6 really 12?” ask, “Can you explain your thinking here?”.
In order to maintain the sense of wonder that children innately have in discovering, listen to them, observe what they do, and nudge them forward with thoughts, and statements of observation. Enter the wonder yourself!