Answers and questions

Questions are the raw stuff of education. It behooves us to understand them and how they work. The general assumption is that a question is subordinate to its answer. A question by nature seeks an answer, after all: that’s its point. But the relation is not so simple. The value of a question is not… Continue reading Answers and questions

Thinking Outside the Cell

Transmission electron microscope section of two mammalian mitochondria. Wikipedia Commons public domain.

One of the greatest difficulties I have as a teacher is getting a student to ask questions. In the modern classroom, asking questions means admitting ignorance, and somehow, despite the fact that the student is there to learn something he presumably doesn’t already know, not knowing has become a character or moral failing. Some students… Continue reading Thinking Outside the Cell

Lifelong Learning

St. Jerome in his study (Jan van Eyck, 1390-1441)

“Lifelong learning” has become something of a buzz-phrase lately, and I find myself a wary adherent. Certainly I am in favor of learning throughout life — my own, especially, since it’s the only one I have any control over. My unease with the phrase is partly born of the fact that it is so ill-defined… Continue reading Lifelong Learning