Learning should go beyond teaching

Recently after I’d been talking to some folks about how to design a marketing program, someone asked me where I learned to do systems analysis work.

My answer shocked them.

I learned systems analysis while studying the Renaissance and Reformation for my Master of Arts in College Teaching in the humanities.

My courses were in literature, drama, history, and the arts, not in business and science where systems analysis is typically taught.

I had an amazing history teacher who not only presented information, but asked me questions about what the information meant, how it compared to what I learned in other classes,  how it fit with what else I knew from life as well as from books.

He made me learn to ask, “What is not here? Where are the gaps? What is the most reasonable explanation for the leap across that gap?”

Those questions—and the diverse jobs for which they prepared me—convinced me that the difference between good teaching and excellent teaching is the questions teachers ask.

Good questions not only reveal what students have learned, but also immerse students in pushing beyond what they’ve learned.

It’s not good teaching that creates lifelong learners; it’s good questioning.

Good questioning is part technique, part luck, and a whole lot of practice.

I might also add, it’s a whole lot of fun.