Do you have any questions?

Teachers don’t have to have all the answers.

They should, however, always have questions.

Not test questions, but thought questions.

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Questions to get students to think about something they’ve never thought about before.

Questions to make them think about something they’ve always thought but think about it from a new perspective.

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Questions to enable students to learn they don’t have all the answers yet.

Questions to open students to old problems that need new solutions.

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Questions to make students wonder if there isn’t a better way than the usual way.

Questions to make students ask their own questions and to, perhaps, change the world for the better by the answers they find.

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Do you have any questions?

How else could you use this?

I get many newsletters that give me useful information.

I don’t get many that really make me think.
Springwise.com offers its Innovation Bulletin free
One of the very few is the Innovation Bulletin from http://www.springwise.com. Springwise, an independent, London-based innovation publisher, scans the globe for the most promising innovation and new business ideas.

At Springwise we believe that the route to the finest innovation ideas and creativity on the planet is via entrepreneurs and the businesses they create. We discover and share those ideas with our readers and the people, businesses and institutions who want to be outstanding in their field.

The articles in my free weekly digest (there’s also a daily version) tell me about innovations around the world. It’s fascinating reading.

Springwise hooks hooked me

What has most intrigued me, however, is not the inspiring stories but the closing hooks on the stories. They move readers beyond “that’s cool” to think about how to adapt or build on the basic idea presented in the story to solve some different problem.

A story about 3-D printed car parts ends with this question:

What are some other consumer needs of future driverless passengers?

A story about Dutch supermarket staff keeping an eye out for signs of loneliness or neglect in >older customers as part of the Super Care initiative ends with this:

Are there other initiatives that could combine employment and public service in this way?

A story about a mobile app that offers curated museum guides for each visitor, based on their profile, interests and learning style ends with

Could other real-world experiences — such as entire cities or theme parks — be customized in this way?

Hooks for educational uses

The technique Springwise uses could be easily adapted to educational settings to stimulate creative thinking, innovation, and problem solving.

Instead of presenting examples of solutions to problem X in the field of horseradish, for example, present examples of solutions to problem Z in the field of sequoias.

In a composition classroom, students might read a short passage related to the course and be asked,

Are there topics in other subjects you’re studying that could be organized on the same pattern as this article?

In a faculty meeting, instructional staff might be given a short passage about hiring employees and asked,

Are their problems in our school that could benefit from the the feedback technique used here?

In a community meeting, people might be given an article to read (or a short video to watch) about a student group working on a community problem and asked,

Could any problems in our community be turned over to young people to solve?

If questions about how to adapt and re-purpose information and techniques are asked often enough, they could move students—and maybe some “it’s always been done this way” educators—to doing some original thinking.

Wouldn’t that be a good idea?