Miguel Panao | Professor and Author

Finding ways to improve scientific writing and academic productivity.

Don’t memorize when you can question

I remember one time I proposed several exercises for continuous evaluation and one of them was in the exam. Moreover, I solved all the proposed problems at the beginning of each theoretical class. The intention was to stimulate students to come to class and learn, but I was wrong.

Credit to Matt Palmer at Unsplash.com

Credit to Matt Palmer at Unsplash.com

At the exam, I realized I stimulated memorization instead of understanding.

The question people often ask is similar to students asking “what do I need to know to pass the exam?” This question shows how little importance they give to learning, but it’s not their fault. If we want to challenge others in their way of thinking to improve their learning and produce positive changes in their lives, we need to stimulate the art of questioning.

Like I read from Seth Godin ”if you can ask someone a question that causes them to think about something unexamined, that challenges them to explore new ways of seeing the world or making connections, you’ve actually caused a change to happen.”

Questioning toward understanding relies on the ability to make connections. If we wish to develop our learning minds, we can start by exploring the art of questioning.

Every art requires skills and creativity. Questioning is no different. The basic skills are listening and communicating. And you’re creating every time you connect dots of knowledge in intriguing and unexpected ways.

Whenever you read an article or a book, search for the dots connected. Ask yourself if you would connect them differently and try doing it. The more you try, the greater is the effect of questioning, which is to open your mind to new possibilities.

About Miguel Panao

I am a Professor at the University of Coimbra in Mechanical Engineering. I am also author of books in the fields of environmental ethics and Science and Religion. From the several research projects, this site is personal and dedicated to the search for the best approaches, tools, techniques to improve scientific productivity.

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