Questioning is among the most important tools educators can use.
By Michael Salvatori, OCT
Photo: Matthew Plexman
"It's not that I am so smart. It's just that I stay with the questions much longer." — Albert Einstein
As I reflect on this observation, my thoughts turn to cultures of inquiry that teachers establish in classrooms, schools and professional learning communities. Reflecting on questions and pondering them at length is critical to the teaching and learning dynamic.
I believe questions and questioning techniques are among the most important tools that we have as educators. Early in my career, I learned about the Socratic method of asking and answering questions to initiate critical thinking, challenge assumptions and generate ideas.
While many aspects of my teaching methods have changed over the years, my reliance on well-articulated, thoughtful inquiry remains constant. What I have adapted to is the environment and the timing of the introduction of questions. In his book A More Beautiful Question: The Power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough Ideas, Warren Berger writes, "to question well ... it's necessary to stop doing and stop knowing in order to start asking."
Setting aside our biases and creating a space for inquiry and discovery is critical to our capacity to open ourselves to new possibilities, ways of thinking and being. The College has developed a number of resources to help create and maintain cultures of inquiry. I recommend the resource kit, Standards in Practice: Fostering Professional Inquiry, available at oct-oeeo.ca/inquiry.
Following Berger's advice, I am taking the 2020 calendar year to stop and create a space to reflect and engage in inquiry of my own. I am taking a sabbatical and looking forward to the opportunity to pose some questions and follow the path they illuminate. In the meantime, Council has appointed Joe Jamieson, OCT, as interim CEO and Registrar.
See you in 2021!