Why is it important to have a question?


One of my motivations for being involved in Honours education is purely selfish: it’s a place where I can “go off on a tangent” and experiment with methods of teaching I wouldn’t be permitted to use in the normal curriculum (yet!). This is exciting to me, as my mind is full of unanswered questions about how we should be helping our students to blossom not only as innovative professionals but as people. Teaching in Honours allows me the time to discuss these questions and tinker with didactical approaches, searching for those which result in demonstrable effect.

Recently I watched a commencement address by John Seely Brown, (former Chief Scientist of Xerox, now self-declared ‘Chief of Confusion‘), who believes that conversation is a catalyst for innovation. Could it be that one facet of Honours is allowing room for these conversations to take place?  And does the content conversation itself even matter? Seely-Brown thinks that understanding of the content that makes the conversation so integral, but learning how to frame and ask questions being the most important part of knowledge development. He goes on to speak of enter an age of change, blended epistemologies and cultivating imagination, remaining playful and a maintaining a sense of awe. See his talk for yourself here: http://youtu.be/S6Kft6uQB1I

So this block I will attempt to develop a presentation entirely based on questions; encouraging students understand that the power of knowledge may be in ASKING the questions, in cultivating their imaginations, and not necessarily in the search for answers. What do you think?

By Melissa Oudshoorn-Fuller

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