Asking Leads to Knowing, and Knowing Leads to Asking
“Models of teaching are really models of learning. As we help students acquire information, ideas, skills, values, ways of thinking and means of expressing themselves, we are also teaching them how to learn” (Joyce, Weil, & Calhoun, 2009, p. 6)
Is teaching how to question, a strategy for learning? Asking any question is indeed the motivation for learning the answer, so I would say yes, questioning is a teaching strategy, but how can it be done? A problem must present itself, or there will be no action needed, so that is where a teacher begins, with a focus which will compel and engage students in the formulation of discovery.
In my future work as an art instructor, asking questions and finding solutions is at the core of learning art. Art is a learning experience that can be discovered with very little motivation to do so. I believe the creative force is naturally within each person, just as Charlotte Mason, a lifelong educator who founded the British Parents’ National Education Union, who eloquently stated, “The mind of the child is made to search out connections in life and learning, to appropriate ideas and relate them in novel ways to new avenues of learning, and to gain insight in an environment of trust and mutual respect” (Macauley, 2004). When simply viewing an artwork I am instantly filled with questions: who made this, what is it made out of, why did they make it, why did they make it this way, and the list goes on. In the classroom students can explore in this way with some strategic focus on the part of the teacher, they will begin a natural progression of making connections to life, relating ideas to meaning and formulating more questions, learning to question and thus learning to learn.
An example might be viewing a collection of works that all have certain relationships. I would ask students what they see, how they see it, and to collect that data together as a basis for the next stage. Students will discover through inquiry and induction what the relationships are, and what the meaning for these relationships might be (i.e. topics, themes, colors, techniques, mediums, time periods, artists, audience, etc.). The students may then begin to search for the answers to their questions through exploration of the knowledge they seek (i.e. visual research, interviews, reading, etc.). Finally, art students can bring personal meaning into the process by making their own expression, through the production of real works. The question as a teaching strategy becomes a model for learning.