Teaching Kids the Art of Conversation – Questions

A big part of a child’s development is the ability to converse with others.  It has been found that asking questions can help a great deal.

In the past, test-centric education was about asking direct closed questions.    Questions that require a “right” answer.  Open ended questions are different.

Even in adults, open ended questions can stimulate creativity and a comprehension of ambiguity.

The article “Scientific Studies explain the best ways to talk to Children”,  a study is cited on asking questions, where over 70 kids aged between 5-8 were asked 3 sensible open questions (eg: “What do birds eat?”), 3 sensible close-ended questions (eg: “Is summer hotter than winter?”), 3 nonsensical open-ended questions (eg: “Where do circles live?”), 3 nonsensical close-ended questions (eg: “Is a box louder than a knee?”), and two “scrambled” questions (eg: “Than is louder thunder whisper a?”).

All the children were told that they could say they didn’t know the answer and, when asked three weeks later, nearly all of the children correctly identified the questions as making sense or being “silly.” Almost all of the children answered the sensible questions, both open and closed, correctly. And 90% of the children answered the open-ended nonsensical questions correctly, saying they didn’t know. However, 72% of children tried to answer the nonsensical close-ended questions, even though they later said that the questions were “silly.”

Now, as much fun as it is to ask children nonsense questions and watch their faces as they try to answer them, if the goal is have a conversation, stay away from close-ended questions.”



Posted in Parenting Tips.