Kenneth Wesson on Asking Children Questions

kenneth wessonMany of you reading this know that I’m a parent. Every school year I attempt to pry information out of my son about his experience in school. This usually goes about as well as a novice opening a clamshell for the first time. I usually start with something like, “Anything interesting happen in school today?” or “Tell me about what happened in Math class.” This type of questioning works occasionally, but as my son gets older (7th grade now), the usual response is something more like, “ It was just normal, Mom” or the dreaded, “I don’t know.” Uggg!

This year I am determined to heed the advice of Dr. Kenneth Wesson, noted neuroscientist. He suggests that rather than asking our children, “What did you learn today”, we ask, “How did you learn today?” In that way we signal their brains to recall the actions they took and the feelings, impressions and experiences they had. This process of recollection also helps the brain store that information for future application. This question usually yields many answers. How great is that!

Thinking about this further I’m certain that my own reflective practice could be enhanced by posing the same type of question. Rather than asking what I taught today, I could be asking how I taught. Interesting food for thought, don’t you think?

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