Consider the questions that most adults ask children: What is your name? Which class are you studying in? What do you want to be when you grow up?
The answers are usually not important, because we ask these questions more to build a rapport with the child than to learn about her. What should one do if the answers are important? If our questions are stereotyped, can our answers be interesting? If children do not ask questions, can they find answers to the myriad things that demand answers?
As parents and teachers, we expect children to know the answers. Shouldn’t we then help them to ask the right questions?
“The skill of being able to ask the ‘right questions’ is far more important than giving the right answers,” says Kamala Mukunda, veteran teacher and author of the recently launched book What Did You Ask at School Today? The book was launched at Reliance Timeout by Dr Shekar Sheshadri, Professor, at the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Department, NIMHANS.
How the book was born
What Did You Ask at School Today? is a thought-provoking book on child learning published by Harper Collins Publishers India. After completing her Ph.D. in educational psychology from Syracuse University, Kamala Mukunda taught undergraduates for four years before returning to India. Ever since, she has been teaching at Centre For Learning, a non-formal school in the outskirts of Bangalore. As she pored over research papers on child psychology, and the psychology of learning, she started summarising each research document in short articles, sans the jargon. The book has its genesis in these well-written and well-received articles.