Let’s ask more stupid questions
On 28 September schools in the USA promote the wonderfully named “Ask a Stupid Question Day”. It was created by teachers who wanted to encourage children to ask more questions. They believe that encouraging more stupid questions is important, and David Haslam agrees...
September is a busy month for awareness.
Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, Urology Awareness Month, Blood Cancer Awareness Month, Vascular Disease Awareness Month, Gynaecological Cancer Awareness Month, Balance Awareness Month, Know Your Numbers Week (encouraging everyone to know their blood pressure reading), National Eczema Week.
I chair the charity Young Lives vs Cancer and there’s no doubt that activity and interest is boosted.
But it isn’t just disease related problems that seek your awareness. In the calendar for September you can also find World Funfair Month, National Coding Week, Kids Take Over the Kitchen Day, the Great British Beach Clean, International Talk Like a Pirate Day.
Today is no exception – on 28 September schools in the USA promote the wonderfully named Ask a Stupid Question Day.
Ask A Stupid Question Day was created by a group of teachers who wanted to encourage children to ask more questions in the classroom. They explained their motivation for creating the day was that so many people remember being a student and feeling nervous or shy about putting their hand in the air to ask something. So as teachers, encouraging more stupid questions is important and worthwhile. I couldn’t agree more.
anyone who preambles a contribution to a meeting or conference with the words, “I know this is a stupid question, but…” will inevitably be asking the most challenging question of the day
So-called stupid questions are indeed a vital aspect of learning and understanding. As we get older, it gets even more complex and important. I can pretty well guarantee that anyone who preambles a contribution to a meeting or conference with the words, “I know this is a stupid question, but…” will inevitably be asking the most challenging question of the day – one that everyone present will struggle to answer.
It’s just the same when people start a contribution by saying, “I’ll be brief”, and you know they will be anything but.
At Kaleidoscope we use ‘stupid questions’ all the time – positively celebrating their use in both internal and external meetings. Sometimes it helps to encourage people to use role play, encouraging them to think of the stupid questions that an ignorant participant might ask.
After all, which of us really likes to show up the fact that we have no idea what the acronym that everyone has been using all morning really means? Who doesn’t feel a little embarrassed displaying their ignorance?
Who isn’t massively relieved to discover that half the participants are equally clueless about the matter under discussion, but “didn’t like to say”? And who isn’t fascinated when the “expert” struggles to answer an apparently stupid question.
In short, there’s nothing stupid about stupid questions. My only complaint about Ask a Stupid Question Day is the idea that it can be restricted to a single day. Make it a lifetime commitment. You’ll never regret it.