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What is a question? What are questions for? How can we use them to enrich learning?
A question is a request for information that causes the answerer to think. That’s pretty simple. But it gets more complicated (and more interesting) when we dig deeper and find that there are many different types of question each with specific uses and requiring different levels of thinking. Researchers at Newcastle University, England identified over 50 frameworks for thinking. It’s a small step to propose these as 50 frameworks for questionning. Here are just two:
Bloom’s Taxonomy presents 6 types of thinking hierarchically (e.g. synthesis above knowledge; evaluation over synthesis). Each type can be activated by specific questions (e.g. What? When? Who? activate Knowledge; What if? activates synthesis.
Jamie McKenzie lists 17 types of question in his Questionning Toolkit. He includes ‘essential questions’ that are central to life and living (e.g. How should I treat other people?); strategic questions (How can we best solve this problem?); unanswerable ones (How will I be remembered?) and provocatives (What’s the point of all this?).
So it’s a reasonable deduction to make that every type of thinking has a set of questions that cause it, and that every thinking framework has a framework of questions linked to it. Fortunately the Newcastle researchers rationalised their 50 thinking frameworks into a simple 4-part ‘meta-framework’: a coherent structure through which thinking frameworks could be analysed, compared and contrasted -
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