It is human nature to ask questions. We all do so, and this inclination usually starts during our childhood days, and continues until maturity and even up to the last moments of our lives.
Just imagine if we all live each day without asking questions. There will be chaos and misunderstandings and we would all be endlessly searching for answers to the things that we want to know.
It is not enough to simply ask questions for the sake of asking. Maybe when we were kids, we are spared of making sure that our questions are well-constructed. But as we mature, we need to understand its essence and impact in our daily communication with other people. So, we should know what a question is, and how to formulate questions.
Defining a Question
For us to fully grasp the concept of asking questions, let us use the perception of Socrates in regards to questions. Socrates is popular for introducing a Socratic means of questioning as a method of reasoning.
Socrates used the analogy of assisting in the midwifery work to the essence of asking questions. According to him, the task of helping out in delivering babies is the same as grasping new knowledge and insights. Socrates believed that genuine understanding is innate in a person and that each human being is able to understand a philosophical truth.
Every time we ask a question we are hungry for an answer and the question is the means to find out. Questioning is a means of entertaining thoughts and knowledge which can be the possible answers to what we are searching for.
We ask questions to gain factual information at a certain point, or to gather information needed in the many things we do such as designing a plan or concept or formulating an entirely new thought about something.
The correctness and appropriateness of the answers that we get depends on the strength and correctness of the question itself. An insufficient response is elicited from a weakly constructed question. Before you even scrutinize the answers that were given, evaluate first the character of the question. Formulating questions the proper way is what generates an adequate answer.
The first step in formulating questions is to assess the level of importance of the basic question words “who,” “where,” “when,” “what,” “how,” and “why.” The first four are classified as informational since these questions generally gather factual information or knowledge such as “What is the goal for this activity?” or “Who are responsible in spearheading the event?” The last two question words belong to the analytical category since these questions require a higher level of thinking and a deeper means of understanding a concept.
The next step is to know how to prioritize within each category. A good basis to easily apply this is through the concept of Bloom’s taxonomy where the level of questions is organized from the lower order to the higher order of questioning.
Focus on the very important elements which can be used as the keywords in your question. Then, explore the different connections, precedents, implications, and causations of the question.
In asking questions that require analytical approach, consider gathering a few factors instead of focusing on just one. Always ask “why” as a way to make the response more deductive and specific.
How to let Students Formulate Questions Creatively
School orientation is one of earliest times to hone a person’s ability to formulate and ask intelligent questions. Instructors may start by giving a topic or posing a problem. A problem is a good tool to use since it arouses our interest in seeking for answers and solutions.
Problem-solving is a basic aspect in our day-to-day living. Let the students identify a situational problem which would trigger them to make a question and analyze the situation. The issue must reflect on the students’ interests and concerns.
Allow them to research on the issue or the problem using the available resources such as magazines, reference books, and the internet. They have to have an understanding of the problem they will face. This also makes them formulate proper questions.
Encourage the students to formulate questions that require deeper thinking and analysis. After getting oriented with the problem at hand, the next thing is to let them create a hypothesis which becomes a tentative answer to the issue.