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Strategic Questioning - Fran Peavey - vivian Hutchinson

Strategic Questioning - Fran Peavey - vivian Hutchinson

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Published by vivianz
Strategic Questioning
with Fran Peavey, edited by vivian Hutchinson (revised 1997).
Strategic Questioning is the skill of asking the questions that will make a difference. It is a powerful tool for personal and social change. It is a tool for helping people discover their own strategies and ideas for change.
Strategic Questioning
with Fran Peavey, edited by vivian Hutchinson (revised 1997).
Strategic Questioning is the skill of asking the questions that will make a difference. It is a powerful tool for personal and social change. It is a tool for helping people discover their own strategies and ideas for change.

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Published by: vivianz on Nov 23, 2008
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11/11/2012

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STRATEGICQUESTIONING
An Approach to Creating Personal and Social Change
by Fran Peavey
edited by Vivian Hutchinson
S
TRATEGIC
 
QUESTIONING
is the skill of asking the questionsthat will make a difference. It is a powerful tool for  personal and social change. It is a tool for giving service toany issue ... as it helps people discover their own strategiesand ideas for change.
S
TRATEGIC
 
QUESTIONING
involves a special type of questionand a special type of listening. We can use strategicquestioning to help friends, co-workers, political allies andadversaries to create their own solutions to any problem.
S
TRATEGIC
 
QUESTIONING
is a process that usually changesthe listener as well as the person being questioned. Astrategic question opens both of us to another point of view. It invites our ideas to shift and take into account onew information and new possibilities. And it invokes thatspecial creativity that can forge fresh strategies for resolvingchallenges.
 
Strategic Questioning
2
the river of informationthe power of "I don't know ..." from passiveto active
A SPECIAL TYPEOF QUESTION
WHAT WE KNOW OF LIFE is only where we have decided to rest with ourquestioning. We can operate with what we know  and we can be sure of onething  somewhere someone is not resting at that state of knowing. They areresearching and questioning  working on a new discovery.We approach problems within a constantly changing body of informationabout the issues at stake. The amount of information that is known by humanbeings now doubles every five years! Very few people can keep up with theoverwhelming avalanche of data that is being generated in any field. Andchanges within any body of information are so substantial and complex, thateven computer databases are out of date almost as quickly as the local library.This rapid turn-over of knowledge in any field requires a new understand-ing of information, and the way that questions relate to problems. An out-modedview of information is that it is a static thing ... something that can be containedin an encyclopedia or a library. A better metaphor for today is that informationis like a river. In the river of information, ideas and relationships are constantlychanging. Dipping into the river one day brings up different perspectives thanthe next day, because the river has moved on with one more day of experienceand thinking.So it is with questioning. Asking the same question today elicits a differentanswer than yesterday. What we did not know yesterday, we may know today.Whether we have learned new information or have simply created a solutionfrom our own synthesis and analysis processes, both the question and answerhas changed.Is anything ever fully known? You find one piece of information and fromthat piece of information new questions arise... and you dip into the river again.So it goes on - discovery, new questions, new discovery, and new questions andon and on.There is power in approaching a problem with the feeling of I dontknow.... There is also power in allowing doubt into what you think you alreadyknow. It doesnt have to be a threat to ones status or professionalism. Such anattitude allows the questions to emerge, and new discoveries to begin. Such anattitude opens the door to new possibilities and may invite others with freshresources and perspectives to create new solutions with you. It opens the doorto the river of information that is around the issues at stake, and helps us moveinto a dynamic relationship with this river and with life.WHAT WOULD OUR WORLD be like if every time we were listening to a gripesession, someone would ask, I wonder what we can do to change that situa-tion? and then listened carefully for the answers to emerge and then helped thatgroup to begin to work for change? What would it be like for you to do that inyour work, family or social context ? Your attention and context might shift froma passive to an active one. You could become a creator, rather than a receiver, ofsolutions. This shift in perspective is one of the key things that people need in ourworld just now. And the skill of asking strategic questions is a powerfulcontribution to making such a shift.
 
Strategic Questioning
3
Were you ever taught how to ask questions? Have you ever been taughtabout asking questions that will really make a difference? Most of us who werebrought up in traditional families or in a traditional education system were not.We were certainly never encouraged to ask questions where the answers are notalready known.Traditional schooling was based on asking questions to which the answerswere already known: How many wives did Henry VIII have ? What colour is thatcar ? What is four times five ? We learned that questions have finite and correctanswers, and there is usually one answer for each question. The wrong answeris punished with a bad grade. The landscape of learning was divided into rightand wrong.This may be a convenient way of running schools and testing peoplescapacity for memory in examinations, but it has not been a very empoweringlearning process for students, or a good preparation for the questions that willbe coming up in life.In some families, children are taught that to ask a question where there is noknown answer and is to be avoided because it makes people uncomfortable.Adults or Parents who are supposed to be in charge of things seem to hate sayingI dont know. It may even be true that asking embarrassing questions, or inany way threatening the power of the adults is a punishable offence. The childlearns to stop questioning before the unknowns are revealed.All this is unfortunate to our times, because today  in our personal,professional and public lives  we are surrounded with questions that have noimmediately known answers. And if you havent been taught how to work withsuch situation and ask questions, then this can provoke fear and be intimidating.
KEY FEATURES
The key features of STRATEGIC QUESTIONING are :It creates knowledge by synthesising new information from thatwhich is already known.
It awakens the suppressed possibilities of change embedded ineach person, in each institution and in each society.
It is empowering - ownership of the new information stays withthe person answering the question.
It releases the blocks to change and new ideas.
It facilitates peoples own responses to change.
It generates energy to make changes happen.
It creates answers that may not be immediately known but mayemerge over time.
wrong answers !transforming fearful inquiry

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