Guideline Twelve | Question & Listen

12. Develop the art of questioning and listening to allow the young researcher to come up with their own theories and ideas.
"Rather than directly providing me with interesting ideas, he/she is able to ask the right questions to allow me to come up with my own theories and ideas."

"Elspeth makes you feel special.  She makes you feel valued and is genuinely interested in people’s welfare.  She doesn’t preach.  She questions and lets you speak.  She listens and provides an environment where you can put forward ideas and then she facilitates the evolution of your own answers."

"There is always another question to ask. The questions seem innocuous but nothing is as it seems to be; there are more insights to be gained by probing away. David also never imposes his will, but persistently keeps the questions flowing to help the answer come along."

Questioning is a skill that can be developed and listening is something we should force ourself to do more. We may know the answers but our job is to get the students to work it out for themselves. If you have not done this before, in your next discussion with some students, ask three more questions trying to get an answer from a student than you normally would. Also listen and paraphrase back to the student what you think you have heard her/him say. We learn about "active listening" when we attend parent effectiveness training but don't always practice it in our laboratories. We are all so busy that it is much easier to simply give them the answer and the solution we already know.

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