Would you rather have wings or fins?
Would the world be a better place if we all looked the same?
Do rules trap us or set us free?
Big Questions are the ones that don’t have an easy answer. Children ask SO many questions every day and most of them start off with that little word, ‘Why?’
Big questions are often open and difficult; they may even be unanswerable or there may be more than one answer. The aim is to encourage deep and long conversations, rather than finding easy answers.
These questions encourage children to offer theories, work collaboratively, use reason and think critically. A good Big Question will connect more than one subject area: “What is a spider?” for instance, does not touch as many different subjects as “I wonder would happen to Earth if all spiders disappeared…”
Big Questions should be ones which encourage research, debate and critical thinking. Big Questions aren’t just about getting the ‘right’ answers, but about learning the methods and skills needed to find the answers.
Why do we ask Big Questions?
- To encourage children to think beyond the obvious.
- To encourage children to think of as many possibilities as they can, before deciding upon the best or most appropriate answer.
- To increase their understanding of a topic
- To promote critical thinking
- To encourage children to articulate their thoughts
We love to ask Big Questions at Holmer.
Examples of the questions we might ask include:
Do we have to earn love?
What makes a house a home?
Would eternal life be a blessing or a curse?
Can any good come from a hurricane?
Should resurrection be an option for all humans?
Are you up for giving Big Questions a go? Try to take some time to discuss our examples with your child, sharing each other’s thoughts and ideas.
We find that the pupils really enjoy this chance to talk/share/think/argue/debate and use their reasoning skills. Above all, it helps them to learn to ‘think outside of the box’ and see ‘the bigger picture’.
If you’d like to know more, please follow these links:
– an introduction to the ‘Philosophy for Children’ initiative.
– ‘Sapere’ means ‘ to know’ – perhaps you knew that!
– Jason Buckley is considered as the ‘guru’ of P4C.
Next time you're collecting your child at the end of the day, why don't you take a peek at our our Big Questions board on the playground, where a new question is posed every week!