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Why Creating A Culture Of Inquiry Is So Important –

Why Creating A Culture Of Inquiry Is So Important –


Why Creating A Culture Of Inquiry Is So Important

by Drew Perkins, Director of TeachThought PD

Imagine yourself sitting across from a mortgage broker sometime in the early 2000’s. The economy is riding high and you’ve decided to stake out your portion of the American dream of home ownership but you’re a first-time home buyer.

Maybe you’re in your early 20’s and are finally enjoying the independence of adulthood. Or maybe you’re in your early 30’s, have worked yourself up to a middle-level management position with a decent income that’s allowing you to make some progress on those sizable student loans, but your growing family needs more space.

You’ve never been great with numbers and finances but you love the new house your realtor has assured you is in your price range. It seems like a lot of money but all the people on the other side of the table say you can easily afford it, in fact with no money down…just sign here. So sign you do, many times, many copies and documents, hastily explained at closing by the lender.

The keys are yours as is a mountain of debt and suddenly a few years later, the bottom drops out. The stock market crashes, you lose your job but not the monthly house payments. Then you lose your house, credit, and you’re in a downward spiral of hopelessness.

I often use this example in our Creating a Culture of Inquiry Workshops to help illustrate the importance of building inquiry skills in our learners. How might things have been different if these homebuyers knew what important questions they should be asking and seeking to answer?

A culture of inquiry grows problem solving learners with a deeper understanding of important knowledge.

Problem-Solving Starts With Asking The Right Questions

Life is full of challenges. Applying and selecting a college (or alternate path), getting (and staying) married, buying a car, becoming a successful entrepreneur, becoming a good parent…the examples are endless.

Imagine how much more successful people would be if they were in the habit of making a list of questions they need to ask and answer to do that ‘thing’ well. I focused on this as a teacher and do the same as a parent. When my youngest daughter said she wanted to start a slime shop we made a list of questions (see image in the gallery below) she needed to know and learn more about.

The future of work is certainly uncertain but I’m confident we’ll need great problem solvers. Great problem solvers find solutions by asking the right questions. Frustratingly much of our school experience is about answers and low-level questions, certainly not the type of Rich Inquiry we strive for in our workshops for teachers.





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