Archive for the ‘questions’ Category


The One Real Object Of Education Is To Have A Person In The Condition Of Continually Asking Questions.*

October 1, 2010

Asking a question is the simplest way of focusing thinking. . .Asking the right question may be the most important part of thinking. • Edward de Bono

It’s the end of the first week of the first quarter of a new academic year where I work, and although I don’t expect anyone is likely to take time to answer all these questions every week, I do hope that you’ll spend some time this weekend thinking about your responsibility for your success in school. (BTW, did you buy your books and read your syllabi and do your assignments for next week?)

The questions that follow are ones I used with reflective journals in a student success course and are meant to be asked weekly, regardless of whether you actually write about them:

• How was your attendance this week? (I am always surprised by students who miss the first week of classes and don’t contact me, showing up week two wanting to be caught up. I’m surprised by this no matter when it happens. Go to class!)

• Did you participate in class? (First impressions matter. If you sit in the back and don’t have any materials and aren’t taking any notes and look as though you’d rather be somewhere else, it will be difficult for me to overcome that first impression of your seriousness of purpose—or lack of it!)

• How much of the assigned reading and other work did you do? (There are often assignments early in the quarter, sometimes they’re even provided electronically before the course begins. At the very least, I suggest getting your textbooks before class and looking through them before the first class session.)

• What was your attitude toward attending class and doing assignments? (This might seem like a “duh” question, but I’ve talked to plenty of students who are choosing to be in school and expending lots of energy griping about that choice. I’m sometimes guilty of this too. It’s never easy to jump back into work after a break!)

• How do you feel about what you accomplished in school this week? (The guilt builds over the course of a term if you’re neglecting what you ought to be doing. It can become overwhelming, particularly when you get behind. It’s much less stressful to stay on track—or even get ahead whenever you can.)

• If each of the following weeks went like this one, how would your term go?

• What could/should you do differently next week?

• What could/should you keep the same?

• Although the primary responsibility for your continued success rests with you, what other people or resources might be helpful to you? (Do you need to visit a learning lab, get a tutor, talk to a professor, join a study group, make adjustments to your work schedule, have a family meeting, set up a schedule with your roommates, or. . . . .?)

• What, if anything, interfered with school this week? (And what are you going to do about it?)

• If you were giving yourself a grade for your effort in school this week, what would it be?

It’s not likely that you will always do your best at everything in your life. It’s impossible to keep up such a pace. You’ll get sick. Your other life responsibilities will temporarily take priority. The unexpected will happen. Count on it. And when it does, the question becomes how quickly you’ll deal with it and get back on track.

What questions should you be asking yourself about your first week in school–or any week in school?

You must constantly ask yourself these questions: Who am I around? What are they doing to me? What have they got me reading? What have they got me saying? Where do they have me going? What do they have me thinking? And most important, what do they have me becoming? Then ask yourself the big question: Is that okay? Your life does not get better by chance; it gets better by change. • Jim Rohn

* Credit for the title quotation goes to Bishop Mandell Creighton.