Teachers can incorporate big questions into their teaching in order to stimulate curiosity. They can ask big questions themselves or encourage students to ask them. Big questions are questions of significance and meaning, and each subject has its own questions and issues that teachers can focus attention on. For example, in math they can ask whether we can measure everything, or whether there are some things that we can’t measure. Do we value such things more or less? Teachers can structure questions to direct learners to important issues such as interdependence in science. Questions can raise awareness and uncover things we take for granted, such as the idea that the world is “ours.” Teachers can pose questions about faith and values in subjects other than religion or Bible class to break down the divide between sacred and secular.
- Teachers can ask questions such as “Where does our creativity come from?” in music and “Can everything be reduced to our genetic make-up?” in science. Teachers can provide a series of questions for a discussion about justice, forgiveness, and peace in the Treaty of Paris in history.
- Teachers can stimulate students to ask questions by holding an open conversion with another staff member about reason and faith or by exposing assumptions about the nature of love in German class, using a German song and a series of questions.
These examples show that thinking about questions can make a difference to how we teach; it can focus out teaching on issues of importance.