Asking questions is one of the best things you can do in a social environment. Sure, you could stand around talking about the weather, but it’s so much better to ask each other meaningful questions. “What did you have for breakfast?” “What are you doing this weekend?” “Do any of you play a musical instrument?” “Do you play Pokémon Go?”
I love it when my students ask me questions, whether related or unrelated to what I’m trying to teach them. It shows me that they’re interested in learning, whether about a topic or about me as a person. I’ve combed through my memories of teaching at Phoenix, trying to find the best questions I have been asked, and there are a few that stand out as funny, insightful, or touching. Just for fun, I’ll share some of them with you.
“Miss Vanessa, do you know all the songs?”
“Who taught you to play guitar?”
“Have you ever heard of Star Trek?”
“What is your favourite thing?”
“Why are so few rock stars women?”
“What is your boyfriend like?”
“Do you live here?”
Have you ever played Twenty Questions? It’s a classic for a reason. Play it with your kids to get them asking questions. Think of an object or a person, possibly an object in the room where you’re playing, and the kid gets twenty chances to ask questions and determine what you’re thinking of. They can ask questions like “Is it a person or a thing?” “How big is it?” “Where is it?” More advanced players can restrict themselves to yes-or-no questions. “Is it alive?” “Is it bigger than a microwave?” “Is it in this room right now?”
I would be willing to bet that if you play Twenty Questions with your child today, they will ask to play a second round, and then a third. As children, their primary job is to learn and discover new things, and they discover something new with every question they ask.
RECOMMENDED: 101 Ways to Teach Your Children Social Skills by Lawrence E. Shapiro
Vanessa Farkas is a writer, musician, educator, and lifetime learner who worked at the Phoenix Education Foundation as a music teacher from 2010-2018 and has left to retrain and pursue a new career as a legal assistant. Her eight years at Phoenix have left her enriched with experiences and stories, and this series blends those stories and experiences with practical advice and perspectives on helping children develop social skills. Names have been changed.