Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Difficult Questions

Image by CarbonNYC
Growing up, I was always told that there was no such thing as a stupid question or, a slight variation of it, that the only stupid question is the one you don't ask. Adopting that belief, I began asking any question that came to mind. I value question-asking as part of the learning process because I feel that it was better to have all the facts than to sit mutely and be confused.

Then I began growing my PLN and found myself growing cautious of asking questions. My personal learning community consists of some smart, talented and creative people; some of the smartest people I know.  While that can be encouraging, it can also be a little intimidating. I started second guessing myself. Was this a silly question? Should I already know the answer to it?

What I forget is this: we are all learning. Some  have had more years and experiences to learn from so they have more to offer. Others are just starting out and building their momentum. Great teachers are always teaching. That includes students in a classroom or inquiring minds on a social network. Asking questions can be beneficial for the person you're asking because in helping you, they can be reminded of things they've forgotten or it allows them to share their specialty.  Leadership blogger Dan Rockwell maintains that "curiosity and questions enable leaders to bring out the best in others; to find solutions through others." 21st century learning is all about connected learning which means we're not learning alone. Information is meant to be shared, remixed and reflected on with others who see things through different lenses. Questions open up dialogue and establishes connections. Asking questions might not always come easy but it is necessary and definitely worth it to take learning to the next level.

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