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How do questions promote advanced language thinking skills?

All parents, teachers, educators- generally the adults- are asking questions for a reason. But have you ever wondered: “I’ve been probing answers by asking questions after questions, by all sorts. But my child is just not getting to the level I am hoping for- the level where my child is being a flexible thinker who shares amazing ideas and showing impressive creativity. What went wrong?” If you have, you must be wondering, what are the right questions, and how should we ask the questions?

In our previous blog ‘Do asking my child questions gets my child talk more?’, we have shared about the right questions and how you should ask the questions. If you haven’t read it, I strongly recommend you to put it into your MUST-READ bucket list. In this article, we are going to explore the wonders of questions, and the levels in advanced thinking skills- the ultimate hierarchy of language processing.

This is Bloom’s Taxonomy. Let’s use it to understand the language processing and types of questions that we ask. The famous questions we often ask, e.g. ‘what is this’ ‘what is that’, are questions that promote development of REMEMBER stage: as all the child needs to do is identify, recall and name it. We often called them testing questions. Testing questions brings no harm to your child, but it brings no benefits at the same time. Our language would not grow exponentially if the only output expected is naming/ labeling. We need to do beyond naming.

Looking into an example might be helpful in picturing the situation- e.g.: playing with a baby doll.

Adult: What do we have here? (Remember)
Child: It’s a baby doll.
Adult: Whoah, a baby doll. I like to play with baby doll. What do you think we can play with baby doll? (Understand).
Child: The baby doll is sick. We need to bring to the doctor.
Adult: How do you think the doctor will help the baby doll? (Evaluate).
Child: The doctor will check the temperature, give injection and medicine too.
Adult: That is a detailed procedure. Why would the baby need injection? (Apply).
Child: Because the baby is having high fever, injection would help better.
Adult: I think the baby is not having a high fever. He only has a runny nose. How do you know he has high fever? (Analyze).
Child: We need a thermometer to check the temperature, and that is where the doctor knows about it.
Adult: Whoah, that sounds interesting. Tell me more about the doctor visit (Create). 

You see, asking questions that promotes thinking is actually helping the child to gain the foundation to be creative and flexible in using their language skills. We all started from identifying and naming, to describing and explaining, to relating and associating, to comparing and contrasting, to inferring and judging, and lastly to constructing and designing. The beauty of language processing! And asking the right questions promotes this beauty even more!

So, start from today, ask the RIGHT QUESTIONS!

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