Course Journal 3- Question Brain-dead

How to Ask the Right Question: Hal Gregersen at TEDxYouth

“Question Braindead” ?


As Hal Gregerson states in his Tedx video – “If there is one gift I could give to any child in the world it is to question everything”, question everything, to see it as gift, how is that so? “Innovators that ask questions also went on to change the world”, so true but I never thought that asking questions would make such an impact, but it does. Hal also went on to say “If parents or teachers step back and they ask a different question like why is two plus two four, then they wait on average three seconds like I just did, children young and old give better responses or thoughtful responses”, timing is also the process of questioning in order to receive thought through answers “ The greatest gift we can give people around us is the space and time to ask and answer questions”. Hal also said “adults aren’t asking very good questions”, and also went on to say “Listen with your heart”.

Hal created a program, he spends 4 minutes paying attention to questioning- either writing down questions, asking questions or listening to them. He said ‘nothing is more dangerous than the right answer to the wrong question” this further explains its not about the answer. By guiding people to ask the right questions “They will have a tool asking the right question in a right situation”. To put it into perspective for education Hal said “an average classroom asks one question per month content related” goes on to describe students as “question brain-dead”.


Question asking overall is underestimated. I can’t remember the last time before the forum on questioning techniques, I paid attention to questions that I asked. I also never really thought too much about a questions that people ask me, unless the questions excited me or bothered me. I have had moments when I have asked a question and the conversation flows for hours, and then at times a question that might put a stop completely to the conversation, again never put thought into why the question probed the reaction. I recognize now that how the question is asked, and what the question is, is the root cause to a good question. When someone asks me good questions, I usually think that the person actually cares to hear me what I have to say, versus setting me up for a yes or no answer, which we all know the answer is either yes or no…how boring. However, there are certain circumstances short answer questions need to be asked. It is much more satisfying and heartfelt when someone asks a good question and it stimulates emotion.


In my last paragraph, I said “I recognize now that how the question is asked, and what the question is, is the root cause to a good question”. The “how” part of the question asking to me is; the tone the question is asked in, the environment, who to ask the question to, reason for asking the question, strategy behind the question and what are the outcomes expected out of the question. The “what” part of the question is the content of the question, it is a thought out question that is worded to stimulate the listener. A good question, is a question that intrigues the listener, it will also create emotions or start a thought that leads to flow of questions, discussions and maybe even critical thinking.

Decisional Questions:

“Think of education as a garden where questions grow.” Anna Devere Smith retrieved from Lesson Plans for Media Literacy, Center for Media Literacy.

By reflecting and interpreting the video about asking questions, I understand the importance of questioning. As an educator I would plan to ask essential questions, and strategize what the questions would be, also in coordination with content or strategizing for the course. In addition I would also ask more content related questions in the spur of the moment too. I would use critical thinking questions that start with a statement that creates emotion, or questions that start with how, why and what. I know how to pick up cues if i am asking the right questions, this is by noticing that if the learner is quiet, not responding in a discussion format or not asking questions in return, this then means that my questions are not the right questions. Overall, I plan to question by listening, paying attention to my learning and responding by actually caring for an answer that means something to me as an educator and to the learner so my learners are not “question brain-dead”.


How to Ask the Right Question: Hal Gregersen at TEDxYouth Retrieved from TedxYouth@ IFTA Retrieved from Centre for Media Literacy


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