Questions open doors, answers close them

One of my favourite quotes/ sayings is: “Questions open doors, answers close them.” Unfortunately, I do not know where it comes from or – if a quote – who said it, but it surfaces again and again when I am thinking of Waldorf Education and my work as a teacher. An inquiring mind will learn more and more and find innumerable opportunities to investigate, to go deeper and to understand. Rudolf Seiner gave an indication to the teachers of the first Waldorf school which encompasses the above. He said: “Give the children in your care images and concepts of the world which can grow and expand with their own growing and expanding mind.” (free quote) For the teacher this means that what s/he brings to the children must speak to them in a meaningful way, show them what is around them, but also leave them with a feeling of wonder and enthusiasm and a wish to observe and look out for similar phenomena around them and further afield. Actively practising this in the classroom means that each teacher is sowing the seeds for a love of lifelong learning in the heads of children. It gives the children the foundation to build on, to always be eager to find new insights, to have an open and inquiring mind. For the teacher it creates also moments of wonder when a child verbalises a question which not only shows that the lesson content is resonating with the child, but also helps other children to understand parts of the lesson better. When questions are asked in a lesson, opportunities open up for discussion, for clarification, for developing concepts further and this is what brings a lesson to life and gives it depth and meaning. To be asked questions is for me one of the most valuable moments in my teaching because it shows me as teacher, that there is an open mind which longs to take in knowledge and strives for understanding.
Wishing you joy in listening to your children’s questions, I greet you.
Gabriele Feiter
Class 4 Teacher