Tag: Inquiry

The key to learning

He who is ashamed of asking is ashamed of learning.  – Danish Proverb

It was Rudyard Kipling who wrote the Poem that began as follows

I keep six honest serving-men
(They taught me all I knew);
Their names are What and Why and When
And How and Where and Who.

Almost all of us have extensively used these six honest serving men throughout our school life and possible till we graduated. However thereafter most of us felt a little ashamed of using the questioning technique and preferred to remain in ignorant bliss rather than admit we lacked the knowledge. It is also possible that we continued to believe in some possibly mistaken notions. The reality of life is that there is far too much knowledge for any individual to grasp and absorb and so the only way forward is to humbly seek out the facts when we lack the knowledge; yet we have our psychological block of admitting our ignorance.

The technique of questioning had 3 distinct advantages.

It keeps us grounded to the reality that we have a lot to learn.

When we are willing to question, we are acknowledging our own limitations and weakness and readily accept the wiser counsel of others. It opens our eyes to the fact that it is not our intelligence alone that helps us to grow in life but our ability to harness the knowledge that is around us provided we first accept our personal limitations.

It facilitates us learning.

Questioning also helps us to search for answers and makes us aware of the need to seek out more intelligent people, find out more authentic information and search for new avenues of updating ourselves. When we ask questions we also are looking for answers. We use the questioning technique very effectively when we are faced with a problem and require some answers to progress ahead.

It enables one to connect dots and be creative.

Questioning is the best method to solve problems. By constantly seeking to find answers we would stimulate out thinking, dream up apparently illogical possibilities and succeed in finding unique solutions to our problems. Riddles that we asked in school may now look ridiculous and childish but provided the vital stimulant required to develop the spirit of questioning and sharpening our creativity. Eg  Two mothers and two daughters went for a picnic but they were only 3 of them. How is this possible? Or Name 3 consecutive days that does not include Sunday, Wednesday and Saturday in it.

In fact the questioning technique was the bass of most human progress. One of the key players in the development and enrichment of human thinking and philosophy is the Greek Philosopher Socrates whose Socratic Method of inquiry revolved around asking questions. Notice that the educational system irrespective of the discipline of study uses the questioning technique to evaluate the knowledge and aptitude of the students. Similarly the journalistic profession extensively uses the questioning technique to get quote and sound bytes to feature as news.  Researchers and scientists too use this technique to come up with new inventions, discoveries and improvements. Finally it is important to note that the questioning technique is what makes the human race very distinct from the other living creatures. Our evolution and progress can be solely attributed to our ability to use the six honest serving men effectively.

Remember: “Being ignorant is not so much a shame, as being unwilling to learn.”  Benjamin Franklin

Try this:

  1. Play the game 20 questions in which the leader thinks of a well known personality and will respond only with a YES/ NO/ Pass (if they do not know the answer) to your questions. You have to ask questions and based on the response of the leader guess the personality in 20 questions.
  2. Ask yourself if you suffer from the following indicators of being question shy.
  • You are lost in a new city and struggling with the map but feel awkward to ask the local person to help out
  • You watch Formula racing and / Golf on TV but have yet to find out the rules of the games.
  • You recently shifted to a new home. You are finding it hard to make inquiries with the neighbors to know more about the locality and the important landmarks.
  • Your child’s progress report indicates that he/ she is lagging behind. Yet you do not make efforts to meet the teachers and learn more about the reason for the child’s poor performance.
  • You are invited by your host to a fancy restaurant serving French cuisine. The menu card lists all the dishes in French. You feel awkward to ask the steward to update you about the dishes.

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

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