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Asking Open Ended Questions

Published on November 27, 2018 under Winter

A question like ” what color is that block?” evokes a one word answer. But an open ended question ” tell me about the blocks you are using ” gives the child an opportunity to describe the blocks or explain what he is doing. There is no right or wrong answer here.

An answer to an open ended question allows you to hear what child is thinking and feeling. The responses are sometimes wonderfully creative.

In our program, we try to remember to ask open ended questions to our children. You want to say to a child, ” tell me about your picture. What is your plan? What could you use to make a tower stand up? I wonder… What would happen if? Tell me about your picture…”

Here’s a great example. I looked at this picture today and I simply said “I love your picture you created .” He quickly told me it wasn’t a picture . It is a map

The best way for me to acknowledge his work would have been to say ” tell me about your picture .”

When you just say that a picture is beautiful you are closing the opportunity to learn more about your child’s creative process

It is difficult to change to use open ended questions . But if we will ask open ended questions, children will reap great benefits. Let’s create thinkers not praise junkies. 😊


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