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Desert Highway
Thoughtful writing authored and shared by members of of the Thinking Collaborative community to support others on the journey.

Sustaining the Journey

Posing Questions That Mediate Thinking

Authored By:

Thinking Collaborative


March 31, 2014

When we pose questions, our intention is to broaden thinking and invite exploration. Good questions should be open-ended, that is, avoiding a yes or no answer. When we begin a question with a verb, such as “can,” “will,” “did,” it closes the question. A good coaching question usually begins with “what,” or “how.” It invites a thoughtful and extended response.

When our intention is to inquire, we want to use tentative language, such as “could,” “might,” “possible,” etc. Combining such language with plural forms causes a person to search for more than one answer. Compare your thinking when asked, “What strategy will you use?” to “What are some strategies you might use?”

Be deliberate this week in asking the kinds of questions that invite thinking. Experiment with plural forms and tentative language. Give careful attention to asking open-ended questions.

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