The Teaching Life: Asking Questions

When I began to teach, I thought my role was to sift through all the “maze” of information and pull out the best “answers” I could find, and then pass them on to the students with as much passion, creativity, and substance that I could.

I have not completely abandoned that notion, especially in an age of information overload.  A teacher should be someone who can discern among good, better, and best.

But more than that, I have come to believe, my task is to both raise the significant questions and (similarly) encourage students to raise questions of their own.

I take my cue from Jesus’ threefold counsel—ask, seek, and knock.  The first word is “ask.”

Questions are the keys which open the doors.  Questions are the means by which we sharpen the critical skills of observation and discernment, which we must use regardless of the subject or the information.

In other words, I want students to leave whatever class they’ve taken from with good notes, but also with the ability to “think.”  I want them to have the ability to approach their subjects and situations “asking” as the starting point for seeking and knocking.

Students have the right to ask teachers for good answers, but more than that, they need to have teachers who will help them learn to ask good questions.

About jstevenharper

Retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 31 books.
This entry was posted in The Teaching Life. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to The Teaching Life: Asking Questions

  1. Ric Schopke says:

    Thanks for all your postings. I especially look forward to the ones on “The Teaching Life”.

Comments are closed.