Questioning for Mindset

Questioning is  a valuable skill teachers can develop with practice. This is not just asking any-old question, of course, but the ability to ask questions that promote students growth and learning. In an art setting, questioning is often applied to develop creative and critical thinking about the problem at hand.

Unlucky Ducky by Frank Ballato, III, art teacher
Unlucky Ducky by Frank Ballato, III, art teacher

No matter the setting, it is important to pay attention to the way we ask questions. There is an abundance of literature about asking “essential questions” and questions that are open-ended to promote higher order thinking. Equally important is considering how our questions can promote mindset (as per Carol Dweck), for better or worse.

A quick article from Makers Empire presents 10 questions that promote growth mindset. I especially love how these questions are presented to emphasize the “goodness” in a problem. While they could have easily presented questions alone like, “How can you use this mistake to improve your design?” the author makes a point of exaggerating the learning opportunity with each challenge with phrases like:

Something went wrong? Great!
Stuck? Awesome!
Not happy with your design? Fantastic!
Finding it tricky? Wonderful!
Don’t know what to do? Terrific!

This is exactly the attitude adjustment that is needed to promote the mindset we want in our kids. Check out the article, it’s a worthwhile read. For more of my own thoughts on mindset, check out: Stop Teaching Art and



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