Another dot in the blogosphere?

Dumb question

Posted on: January 31, 2018

One classroom management strategy that practically all teachers learn is to reassure students that “there are no dumb questions”. The rationale for this is that teachers want students to develop the confidence to ask questions in class.

However, the statement is superficial and patently untrue. There are dumb questions. Take the question in this tweet, for example.

The tweeter claims that the graphic presents a good question. It does not and the question is dumb. I do not mean this as an insult.

If you did not study any of the sciences, a quick look at the comments might reveal why the question is dumb. If you did not trawl the comments, then consider the logic of lighting a cigarette under water, or even it that was possible, how gills work.

There ARE dumb questions. I am not talking about honest, curiosity-driven, or thought experiment questions. I am talking about Googleable questions.

Googleable questions are not just about getting answers from Google searches. They include questions or statements that can be posed to YouTube, Wikipedia, assorted trusted forums, social media groups, etc.

The Googleable answers may not be valid or reliable, but therein lies the importance of developing this skill. Students must be taught to think of worthwhile and meaningful questions. When they receive responses, they need to work out which are valid and reliable.

Some people call this collection of skills modern information literacy or digital literacy. It would be a dumb move to not model and integrate this in every subject. Not doing so would result in questions as dumb (or dumber) than smoking fish.

Refuse to be confused.

1 Response to "Dumb question"

Lok Huang: Dumb question ashleytan.wordpress.com/2018/01/31/dum… via twitter.com

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