Friday, February 12, 2016

A More Beautiful Question by Warren Berger

“A beautiful question is an ambitious yet actionable question that can begin to shift the way we perceive or think about something – and that might serve as a catalyst to bring about change”    Warren Berger

Warren Berger’s A More Beautiful Question provides an in-depth look at the importance of questioning as a skill and reveals how important it is to nurture the natural ability of children to question.

He holds up many incredibly creative and successful people as examples of folks who are experts in the art of questioning and how they have folded the importance of questioning into their lives and the culture of their institutions as a means for adaptation.

Berger also makes an interesting point about the importance of being a skilled questioner as the world is ever changing and one needs to be thoughtful and creative about all of the changes, and ready to adapt accordingly.

He notes a recent study that showed, “the average four-year old British girl asks her poor mum 390 questions a day” but later goes on to show the research showing that questioning in children drops off precipitously as they get older.  He also draws a correlation between this drop off and the significant lessening in engagement in school as they get further along in school.  He draws an interesting conclusion that as kids stop questioning, they simultaneously become less engaged in school.

Interestingly, he also cited research that showed that when teachers had the ability to be creative in lesson planning they ‘responded with interest and encouragement when students expressed their ideas’ and when they were forced to follow a stricter script they were much less likely to be creative and flexible.

Berger does point out, however, that questioning, and developing a beautiful question, is a skill to be learned and cultivated.  He says, “An interesting thing about beautiful questions is that you may not have to search very far for them.  They are often right in front of you – in your local community, your company, or maybe in the palm of your hand.  The trick is to be able to see them, which may require stepping back, shifting perspective, exercising your powers of vuja de.”