Asking Questions Critical Skill

July 9, 2008
Asking Questions

Howard Gardner – Harvard Professor & Author

Howard Gardner Believes One Of His Best Skills Is Asking Questions

When I spoke to Howard Gardner (Hobbs Professor of Cognition and Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Best known for his theory of multiple intelligences, he has also written on topics such as creativity, leadership, professional responsibility, interdisciplinary study and the arts. Recent books include Making Good: How Young People Cope with Moral Dilemmas at Work and Five Minds for the Future, and he is the author of the seminal Multiple Intelligences) about my upcoming book Just Ask: Greatness Happens When You Ask he shared with me one of the greatest quality he believes he has as a teacher is the questions he asks his students. His disappointment is that he finds very few of them pick up on this modeling of behavior of asking quesitons. I asked if he does this as the Socratic method and he said no – he is not asking questions that he knows the answers to they are really true inquiry. I said I found they same response from the many leaders I interviewed for the book.

I don’t believe that simply modeling the behavior of asking questions is enough. I think that one needs to become explicit about the questioning approach and let those you lead whether in the class room or in the work place know why your asking so many questions.

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