Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Open and closed questions

Today Rachel's been telling me about her science lesson when she learned about Open and Closed Questions.  She had lots of examples to show me and had really got the hang of it.

She had me asking some and was surprised that I knew how to do it.  I'm not sure why she was surprised, she normally assumes I know everything, but she was.  Luckily Mike came through and demonstrated a lack of knowledge which thrilled her.

Mike's lack of knowledge, yes he really didn't know, reminded me of my surprise on pastoral care courses I've been on.  There seem to be many adults who don't know the difference between and open question and a closed one.  I know in most of life it doesn't really matter, after all we don't necessarily need the names of things to use them; but being able to frame open questions in a caring capacity is important.  So here's a quick definition and a few examples.

Closed Questions
closed questions invite yes or no responses, no more and no less.  They tend to close down a conversation rather than encouraging the sharing of information.  For example; did you feel upset when your friend ignored you?

Open questions
Open questions require the responder to come back in any way they like; therefore encouraging a more open flow of conversation.  For example; how did you feel when your friend ignored you?

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