About Question Week
March 14 is the birthdate of Albert Einstein—a lifelong champion of questioning.
In honor of Questionmeister Einstein, Warren Berger, author of the book A More Beautiful Question: The Power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough Ideas (Bloomsbury) and a great roster of other participating organizations are sponsoring Question Week, with the goal of increasing appreciation of the importance of questioning in education, business, and in our daily lives. (Curious about Einstein and questioning? Read http://amorebeautifulquestion.com/einstein-questioning/)
For the fourth consecutive year, in 2017 from Sunday, March 12 to Saturday, March 18, people across the Internet are encouraged to share their stories and thoughts about the role of curiosity and questioning in their lives, or to share their own meaningful “beautiful questions”—all designed to create a national conversation around questioning. (See our visual Wonder Wall from 2016.) We are also inviting teachers in schools to set aside time during Question Week to tell students about the importance of questioning and to conduct exercises and activities that encourage kids to ask beautiful questions of their own.
Why is questioning so important?
Questioning is a critical tool for learning. It helps us solve problems and adapt to change. And increasingly, we’re coming to understand that questioning is a starting point for innovation. In a world of dynamic change, one could say that questions are becoming more important than answers. Today, what we “know” may quickly become outdated or obsolete—and we must constantly question to get to new and better answers.
Questions also spark the imagination. And we’re now learning that questions can help us motivate ourselves much better than resolutions or statements—all the while engaging the interest and support of others. Learning how to act on our questions can lead us toward solutions and creative breakthroughs. Einstein understood this; so do the people running Google, Amazon, and lots of other innovative endeavors.
So then, why don’t we question more?
Even as the need for more and better questioning is on the rise, research shows that for most of us, questioning lessens as we grow older. We start off asking hundreds of questions a day as kids—then questioning “falls off a cliff” by high school. In most schools questioning skills are not taught. And in an education system geared toward memorized answers and “teaching to the test,” questioning often gets squeezed out of the classroom.
The problem continues as we enter the workplace—because many businesses do not appreciate how critically important questioning is to innovation and business growth. Too often in business, questioning is seen as a distraction or a sign of weakness.
How can we spread the word about the power of questioning?
That is the “mission question” behind Question Week. Questioning is a known positive force, but as author Warren Berger says, it is “under-valued, under-taught and under-utilized.” The annual Question Week is part of an effort to educate people on this important topic and to re-ignite the spark of inquiry we all have within us. Questioning is a key way to keep our kids engaged in school and our companies competitive in the global marketplace.
Question Week encourages everyone from school kids to CEOs to think about asking better questions themselves, and to also encourage others around them to question more mindfully. The message is: We all should be asking more “beautiful questions.”
Can we get better at questioning?
The answer is yes. Questioning is something anyone can do—however, the best questioners apply certain skills and methods that enable them to formulate better questions. And that can help them to solve problems, come up with better ideas, and achieve greater results. Berger’s book explains techniques and practices that lead to better question-asking—and during Question Week, some basic tips from the book will be shared free online.
It’s also critically important that our schools put more emphasis on teaching questioning in classrooms. The Right Question Institute has developed an acclaimed program that many teachers around the country are already using to help students get better at formulating great questions. Read the article “How Can We Teach Kids to Question?” and visit RQI’s website to learn a lot more.
Plan to join in Question Week 2017 on March 12 and share the news about #QuestionWeek via social media.
Warren Berger is the author of A More Beautiful Question: The Power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough Ideas, published by Bloomsbury, worldwide. Berger’s thoughts and ideas about questioning have been featured in The Atlantic, The Wall Street Journal, Fast Company, Harvard Business Review, Forbes, and other publications. (See In the News/Media.)
For more information or to arrange press interviews with Warren Berger of A More Beautiful Question, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.