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MY Principle 1: We Start with Questions

(This is the third post in this series on Purpose and Principles.  You can find the first post here.)


When initially holding small-group discussions among our staff at MY English School, a couple of groups commented in their notes that they saw this as a principle applying to the classroom, not management.  Yes, Finding Out (the text we use for elementary school lessons) is based on what David Paul calls The Questioning Approach and we do start by eliciting questions from students, but starting with questions goes far beyond the classroom.


When something doesn’t go well at MY for some reason, for example, it’s natural to rush to judgment and search for whom to blame.  I fight this temptation as well when not watching myself.  The first thing we should do, however, is start by asking questions.  Are things really as they appear?  Are there some details or aspects that we are overlooking?  Context is important, and we can’t determine the context until we’ve asked the right questions.  There is a time to make judgments, but we must understand the context first.


When we are looking at a new opportunity, such as opening a new school, what questions should we ask before deciding whether or not to move forward?  Without the right questions, the process we take toward a decision will be flawed.


The questions we ask should be of good quality.  They should not be rhetorical or sarcastic: “What were you thinking?!”  They should be real questions to which we truly desire answers.


I am using this in my life outside of MY as well.  With my children.  In relationships with others in the community.  Starting with questions puts us in a better frame of mind and makes for better decisions.  It helps our students, it helps ourselves, and it helps those with whom we interact.  This is why we chose it as our first MY Principle.


Books/Articles I Am Reading:

Oathbringer (The Stormlight Archive, Book 3) by Brandon Sanderson –

(I usually roughly alternate between fiction and non-fiction, but I’ve gotten sucked in by this long and interesting series, so have fallen behind on my non-fiction reading.  I will return to non-fiction once I’ve completed book four of the series.)

Ryan Hagglund
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